Jazz-Alphabet - Ro Gebhardt

Introduction into the secrets of jazz improvisation

With his book “Jazz Alphabet”, Ro Gebhardt, who has worked as a jazz musician and lecturer at many universities, has written a book about improvisation for all instruments. To do this, he analyzed the playing techniques of the great jazz instrumentalists and developed from this a method which is easy to apply. After an introductory section over four chapters in which the player is introduced to general music theory and harmony, the player begins with the basics of jazz and jazz improvisation in chapters five to eight: arpeggios, the Bebop major scale, the Bebop dominant scale with octave breaking, endless chains and free combinations. Lesson 7 deals with the II-V-I cadence and how you can design whole measure cadences within it or how the delayed cancelation works. Lesson 8 deals with the diatonic and chromatic approach in different variations (complex approximation, rhythmic variations and shifts).

From chapter 9, players will be introduced into the deeper secrets of jazz improvisation which is also used in styles such as jazz-rock, fusion, blues or hip hop. You will practice the individual techniques of jazz in detail, such as ornamentation, added tone chords, pure tones, the Bebop altered scale and the Bebop cliché cadences, which will be clarified using countless exercises, which are also recorded on the CD.

The chapter “Solo Transcription” ends this comprehensive jazz alphabet with four solo-analyzes of pioneering jazz musicians. The author has chosen, among others, the following pieces: In Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee“, the pioneering rhythmic displacement is used, in which the motif is moved back by two quavers each time. Wes Montgomery’s “D-Natural Blues“ is played by him in double time: while the band keeps their original tempo, you’re left with a lot of room for improvisation if the guitarist plays at double speed. George Benson takes Wes Montgomery’s playing one step further - the solo lines in the piece “Stella by Night“ are more perfect, more modern and more bluesy!

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