Bulletproof Saxophone Playing

Doron Orenstein over at Best.Saxophone.Website.Ever. has put together a package of six different lessons with some of the top saxophone teachers in the country. What Doron did was to set up Skype lessons with these teachers and then record them, probably with something like Audio Hijack Pro. There are roughly six hours of lessons and two PDF supplements in which Doron has done an excellent job of summarizing the concepts and exercises from the lessons.

 The lessons focus mostly on saxophone specific issues like breathing, embouchure, throat position, tonguing, articulation, intonation, and technique. I haven't listened to all of the lessons, but those I did check out were very good. A couple of my students bought the package and they both had major breakthroughs, one in regards to pitch and the other had a major improvement in sound. Despite Doron's penchant for hyperbole there is a lot of really great information in these lessons. I can't remember seeing anything that focused as much on just the mechanics of playing the horn.

  I would have to say it's a great deal to get six hours of recorded lessons for less than the price of one with a live teacher. The cost of BPSP is $44.95 for all the audio and the PDF book, $34.95 for just the audio, and $14.95 for just the PDF book. Doron also offers a 100% money back, no questions asked guarantee. You really have nothing to lose except bad saxophone playing.

Bulletproof Saxophone Playing


Jazz bari sax transcriptions at jazzbarisax.com

At jazzbarisax.com you can download 45 free bari transcriptions by players like Mulligan, Adams, Smulyan, Cuber and Brignola. Makes me want to find myself another bari.

Jazz Bari sax transcriptions


George Garzone's Random Chromatic Approach

George Garzone
 Jody Jazz released a two DVD package on George Garzone's Triadic Chromatic Approach a while back, which I did an extensive review of on this blog. The DVDs covered two main concepts, the Triadic Chromatic Approach and the Random Chromatic Approach. The first, the TCA, is a way to created 12-tone lines on the fly. I wrote a few TCA etudes to illustrate this concept, see links below:
Etude 1
Etude 2
Etude 3

The other main concept is the the Random Chromatic Approach, something I did not write much about and I think it is worth considering. The RCA can be thought of as a Post-Bop chromatic approach (as opposed to a Bebop chromatic approach). The Bebop chromatic approach, or 'enclosure' as some educators like to call it, is a way to link ideas together, add interesting directional elements and to give more forward motion to a line. Below are a few examples of Bebop approaches from Steve Neff's Approach Note Velocity book:

Bebop lines just would not sound like Bebop without this essential element and every student of Bop would do well to spend plenty of time working this. First start out with the simplest approaches and work on approaching any given chord tone with every type of approach. One could even argue that armed with only a knowledge of chords and Bop approaches a player could create a compelling Bebop solo without ever learning chord/scales.

Garzone has an interesting take on the chromatic approach, and it is quite an easy, especially compared to the difficulty of his Triadic Chromatic Approach. Below are a few pages from Garzone's ebook that comes with the TCA DVD.

(click the above graphics for a larger version)
If you follow Garzone's guidelines you will end up with very modern sounding chromatic lines that have a lot of forward motion. These random chromatic lines serve to same purpose that traditional Bebop chromatic approaches: they give lines interesting direction, they link ideas together and they add forward motion to the line.

In the TCA DVD Garzone has several play-along tracks where he trades fours, giving the student a chance to respond to his phrases. A former student of mine in Japan transcribed George's fours from the DVD and it is quite interesting to see exactly how he constructs his chromatic lines. George doesn't strictly follows his own rules (also the case when it comes to his TCA), so do not be surprised if you do not see the concepts from the PDFs above strictly applied.

I highly recommend both of the Garzone/Jody Jazz DVDs to any student looking to add more modern concepts to their playing. Also worth noting is the fact that Jody has drastically cut the price of the TCA DVD since it was first released.


Freddy's Guide to Creative Improvisation

First off I want to apologize for slacking off on posting here. I was out with a cold for a while and then taxes have been looming. Most of all I've just been very lazy. I do have a lot of things in the pipeline, so please bear with me here while I struggle to get my ass in gear.

 There have been a ton on new multimedia Jazz educational products coming out lately. It seems that the Jazz world is really starting to take full advantage of the digital age, better late than never I guess. Some of these products are online video lessons, some are play-along CDs, and some are full interactive multimedia DVDs.

 One of my teachers when I was at Berklee who was a big influence on me was Fred Lipsius. I posted an interview with Lipsius a while back. I took several ensembles with Fred, so I didn't get a lot of material directly from him other than getting to listen to him play, which was inspiring in itself. I really got to understand his concepts through studying his books. In 1986 Warner Brother's published an incredible book that Lipsius wrote called The Complete Book on Creative Improvisation. That book was a goldmine of material for me and shaped the way I thought about Jazz improvisation to this date. It was was worthy of being called 'the Complete book' because is covered so much ground. It had a ton of great musical phrase and licks in every key and for chord type and then it went in to great depth on how to manipulate, develop, and apply these licks to all different types of musical situations. Lipsius really presented a high flexible and creative alternative to the typical rote memorization approach that is too common in Jazz education. The licks in the book were all super hip, but the important thing was to see how to take any existing musical idea and apply it in numerous ways over different harmonic situations.

 Lipsius' Complete Book on Creative Improvisation went out of print shortly after it was first published and after loaning my copy out I was never able to get my hands on another one, though I saw a few on Amazon for upwards of $100. I was quite excited to hear that Fred had released it again himself, this time is in full multimedia format. There are hundreds of videos online on 3 DVDs that feature Lipsius playing individual musical ideas, talking about what he was thinking about when he came up with them and how to apply each one. You can also now buy a hard copy of Lipsius' book for $19.95.

Below are a few pages from the book to give you some idea of the kind of material it offers. One of the most interesting things about the book in my opinion is how much Lipsius focuses on motivic development, a topic that is usually under emphasised. You can click on any of the pages below to get a larger version.

Fred also deals a lot with how to apply the same musical idea to many different harmonic situations. Here are a few pages dealing with Blues scale applications:

Here is a chapter dealing with Tri-tone subs:

Here is the official press release for Freddy's Guide to Creative Improvisation :

Music Students and Professional Musicians Get More Creative And Learn How To Be A Great Improviser With Online Video Training for the PC, Mac, and iPad at Freddy’s Guide To Creative Improvisation: www.FreddysGuide.com

Freddy’s Guide To Creative Improvisation features Berklee College of Music professor Fred Lipsius who is a two-time Grammy Award-winning musician and original band member of Blood, Sweat & Tears with 9 Gold Records. The training is available now at FreddysGuide.com for the introductory price of $49 (price will change to $99 on Jan. 22nd) and provides one whole year of 24/7 access to over 300 video clips of Fred Lipsius teaching from his book on Creative Improvisation.

 For music students and professional musicians eager to become great improvisers, online training has finally arrived via Broadband Internet for the PC, Mac, and iPad.  Educational multimedia publisher, ETERNAL WAYS, has partnered with Berklee College of Music professor, Fred Lipsius, to help musicians on any instrument unlock their creative potential for improvisation: online music instruction with hundreds of licks, scales, techniques, exercises, and solos to teach anyone how to be a great improviser. Playable 24/7, this online portal at http://www.FreddysGuide.com allows students and professionals to learn what they want, when they want, and at their own pace for a full 365 days. All that is required is Internet access and a basic knowledge of chords and scales.

“Our goal was to create a low-cost, simple and friendly online learning experience that allows any musician, from any place in the world, to access Fred’s interactive video instruction for an entire year. Becoming a great improviser takes a lot of time and practice which is why the training is available for 365 days. It is like having your own private instructor on-demand.” says John Pritchard, Founder and Creative Director of ETERNAL WAYS. “In addition to being one of the world’s greatest improvisers, Fred is an outstanding instructor who has been teaching at Berklee for over 25 years. His book on Creative Improvisation is second to none.”

Here is what legendary musician, Randy Brecker, has to say about Fred’s book: “This is one of, if not, the most comprehensive book on improvisation that I have yet encountered. The student (or professional) is led systematically into getting beyond the rote learning of patterns and cliches, into understanding the spontaneity and creativity that is true jazz improvisation.” Randy has played trumpet with The Brecker Brothers, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steely Dan, Charles Mingus, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa and many more.

Eddie Gomez, bassist for Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, and Herbie Hancock says, “Fred Lipsius has written a clear and comprehensive study on the art of improvisation.”

Paul Shaffer, Musical Director of the Late Show with David Letterman, calls Freddy’s Guide to Creative Improvisation “An eminently usable reference from a brilliant cat!”

Adam Holzman, keyboardist for Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Grover Washington and Faculty member of the New School
for Jazz and Contemporary Music, NYC says, “Freddy's Guide To Creative Improvisation is an original and exciting method for teaching what is almost unteachable: the art of improvisation. A well thought-out and balanced approach.”

The online training is designed for all instruments and works on any computer with a broadband connection. It plays especially well on the iPad and the video looks and sounds great, even on the iPhone.

Price: $99/yr
Special discounts are available for music teachers/instructors/schools with 10 or more students.

The 188 page book is included as an eBook (PDF format for high resolution screen magnification and printing) and is also available separately in print for $29.99. A 3 Disc DVD Series of the training features licks, techniques, and solos for $99. 

If you are a musician who wants to learn from a pro, Freddy's Guide To Creative Improvisation contains everything you need to know about improvisation! Freddy unveils the mystery of creative improvisation to help you become the great improviser you can be.

To learn more and sign up to get your own password, go to www.FreddysGuide.com