Jody Espina interview- new Jazz education products

 Jody Espina is the man behind Jody Jazz saxophone mouthpieces. Recently Jody has started producing some very interesting Jazz educational multi-media products. The first was a two DVD set featuring George Garzone's Triadic Chromatic Approach, which I reviewed here. Next Jody put out two play-along CDs featuring George Garzone and Kenny Werner called Tradin' with the Greats. Each one of these volumes is a two CD set. The first CD has George or Kenny playing the melodies and then trading choruses (leaving open spots for you to play) and the second CD has no melodies or trading.

 A lot of my own practice time is spent playing Aebersolds, so I was excited to try out Jody's new play-alongs. I really enjoyed the Tradin' with the Greats CDs, they were much more interesting and inspiring than working with Aebersolds. One big difference is that the bass and drums are not hard panned right and left, which makes the recording sound much more natural to play with. The CDs come with PDFs of all of the tunes in concert, Bb, Eb and bass clef. The first thing you really notice about these play-alongs is the high quality of the recordings and the level of musicianship. You get the feeling that the band wasn't just in the studio on auto-pilot with the awareness that there would be high-school kids playing to the finished tracks. These actually sound like good albums. I let a few of my students borrow these volumes and they loved them.

  The newest product that Jody released is the second Garzone instructional DVD set called In the Funk Zone. This volume deals with pentatonic scales and the musicians on the DVD are George Garzone, Mike Stern, John Patitucci, Rollins Ross and Kenwood Dennard. Garzone's TCA DVD was aimed at the advanced player, but this new pentatonic CD is definitely appropriate for all levels. In the new DVD George demonstrates how to use different pentatonic scales over straight forward Funk grooves, always stressing good time. Then he demonstrates how to move outside by side-slipping, using altered pentatonics and other techniques. Below is one example from the ebook:
click above graphic for larger version
  There are quite a few books on using pentatonic scales for improvisation on the market. I'm kind of a theory nerd, but Bergonzi's Pentatonics book makes my eyes glaze over in about two minutes. Garzone's DVD is very accessabile and has some unique approaches to using pentatonics, plus it's a lot of fun to Funk out with such a great rhythm section.

  I highly recommend all of Jody's new educational materials. They are well-thought out, original, have excellent production values and are they are a blast. Jody has drastically dropped the prices of these new volumes, so they offer great value for the money as well. The In the Funk Zone double DVD set is only $34.95 and the Tradin' with the Greats double CD sets are just $19.95 each or $37.50 for both volumes.

I interviewed Jody about his new products when I was at NAMM in January. You can hear the utter bedlam of NAMM in the background.

Here is my interview with Jody Espina.

Jody Jazz website

1 comment:

Klemen Kotar said...

Thanks for this, I wouldn't have heard about the new Garzone stuff if it wasn't for your blog :)

Bought all of it right away as well, sounds great. I'll be using this for me and for the lectures I give as well.