Jazz Improvisation Workshop

(From Patterns For Improvisation From the Beginning)

Many factors contributed to the release of this new method by Hal Leonard Corporation. There has been a recent proliferation of excellent improvisation texts and methods (e.g. those by David Baker, Jerry Coker, Jamey Aebersold, Mike Steinel, Shelton Berg, and Hal Crook, to mention only a few.) Despite this abundance of good materials, I am still amazed at how many students (and band directors) are still reliant on the printed sample solos provided by the arrangers of the various publishing houses. I have witnessed this "sample solo phenomenon" even at the college level.

Obviously, nothing is quite as educational as listening to the master improvisers. However, a recent statistic pointed out that the retail jazz market is a mere 1.2% of the record buying public. This statistic included the sales of compact disks and cassettes. Therefore, it is a safe assumption that not every child interested in "jazz band" wakes up listening to Bird or Trane at home. Radio airplay is monopolized today by rock, country, and talk radio. Even the classical market is substantially larger than jazz.

YET, all ensembles under the jazz umbrella (stage bands, jazz ensembles, combos, salsa groups, fusion combos) are flourishing in today's curricula in the U.S. and Canada. High school and college festivals (both competitive and non-competitive) are boasting of record-breaking entries and few cancellations. Considering this apparent renaissance of jazz, playing a sample solo reduces the jazz ensemble to a miniature concert band with a hi-hat. Too often in today's jazz ensemble rehearsals, the importance of improvisation is understated if not wholly ignored. Ironically, improvisation is the cornerstone of the art form.

Consequently, as an antidote to the sample solo dilemma, this method is designed to address the task (and hopefully, joy) of improvising. This method starts at square one and speaks to the kid (and band director) with absolutely no prior jazz experience. The patterns are simple. The accompanying rhythm tracks are (in this volume) all even or "straight" eighth grooves. This allows the student to learn accessible jazz vocabulary without being preoccupied at the same time with the triplet eighth swing concept.

Our aim is rapid progress in many different musical disciplines: sight-reading, aural awareness of chord progressions, theory, intervallic relationships, chord/scale relationships, and form as well as improvisation. To this objective we wish you an enjoyable adventure and much success.

Frank Mantooth

The Mission

From the Beginning has five primary objectives:

  1. To eradicate any fears of improvisation
  2. To minimize tedious theoretical reading. The student will learn with the horn in his face (on the job training).
  3. To teach form, harmonic awareness, theory, chord/scale relationships, and simple usable jazz vocabulary.
  4. To instill a respect and appreciation for the art form and its practitioners.
  5. To have fun.

Copyright © 1996 by Hal Leonard Corporation. International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized copying, arranging, adapting, recording, or public performance is an infringement of copyright.

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