Matt Otto's Modern Jazz Vocabulary Vol.II

Saxophonist/educator Matt Otto has just released Vol. II of his Modern Jazz Vocabulary series. The first volume dealt with modes of the Harmonic Major Scale, which I personally got a lot of new great ideas from working out of. Vol. II consists entirely of ii- V7s. There are several pages of phrases in each and every key. There are are ton of other ii- V7 books out there and I can honestly say that Otto's new book blows them all away. What makes Otto's book better, you ask? The lines are actually hip, in stark contrast to the embarrassingly stale and corny patterns that take up a majority of space in most other ii-V7 books.

Otto uses many different modern harmonic and melodic devices in his book and the resulting lines are highly sophisticated and unique sounding. Matt's personal style is reflected clearly in this book, which is a good thing because Otto sounds somewhat like a cross between Warne Marsh, George Garzone and Stan Getz. His lines are highly melodic and lyrical while still sounding like cutting edge Post-Bop. I think if I only had one adjective to describe the lines in this book it would be snakey, and I like snakey lines a lot. Actually there are a number of straight-ahead Be-Boppy sounding lines in there as well and when you come across one it's kind of surprising after playing so much super hipness.

Pattern books are good for giving you new ideas to incorporate into your own playing. As long as you make an attempt to make the lines your own rather than learning them by rote I think they are a highly effective way to expand your vocabulary. Your source material matters however and if you start with lame patterns you'll end up with a lame vocabulary, even if you put your own slant on the lame patterns. What do they say about turd polishing again? Anyway, you'll find Matt Otto's Modern Jazz Vocabulary Vol. II on my music stand for a while.

Matt Otto's Modern Jazz Vocabulary Vol.II

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