#1
I have been interested in jazz for a while. I've started learning a lot of stuff, such as the various chord progressions and such. I've been mostly working with Mickey Baker's Jazz book, the first one, Chord Chemistry (Ted Greene) and The Jazz Theory Book (Mark Levine). I've been learning a lot from all of these, but I feel like there is a more efficient way to learn from these than jumping between them constantly. How should I best use these books to gain the most from them?
#2
You'd do best to start with jazz records. Take your chord knowledge and start woodshedding actual tunes. Transcribing, too.

For working with books, master each lesson before moving on, and be consistent with how often you work on them.
Last edited by cdgraves at May 23, 2017,
#3
Quote by sebasn10
I have been interested in jazz for a while. I've started learning a lot of stuff, such as the various chord progressions and such. I've been mostly working with Mickey Baker's Jazz book, the first one, Chord Chemistry (Ted Greene) and The Jazz Theory Book (Mark Levine). I've been learning a lot from all of these, but I feel like there is a more efficient way to learn from these than jumping between them constantly. How should I best use these books to gain the most from them?


ok..you have three very different books..from what I gather from your post your just starting to learn the basics of jazz..NOW-to really get this stuff it will require quite a bit of work..daily practice and dedication to overcome the difficult parts..If you do this the reward is priceless..

I suggest the Baker book...ok it is NOT exciting..but it is basic "boot camp" for learning basic jazz chords and solo lines..It has 52 lessons-as Baker suggests one a week..then start from the beginning again..so it is a 2 year study..and yes do all the lessons in ALL keys..and write out the ones you can in all keys..
at the end of this time .. you WILL be able to play almost any "standard" and feel confident. I did this..it helped immensely.

The Ted Greene book is basically a chord reference book. and would be good for intermediate to advanced players..he does give some very basic theory and some chord melody arrangements..but his explanations on the chords he uses may be difficult to understand unless you know theory fairly well.

The Levine book..as the title states it is music theory applied to jazz .. chord progressions and solos..alot of substitutions of chords and scales. I would tackle this one second after the Baker book.

and yes cdgraves post .. begin to listen to jazz..go back to fairly early stuff 1950s will in essence expose you to the kinds of chord progressions Baker gives you..when you hear tunes you like by a particular artist try and get the sheet music and practice the tune-play along with the recording..write it out in several other keys .. you will find many interesting things about the guitar doing this type of stuff--follow the artists you like at some point you will be able to identify the artist by their sound..and understand what they are doing - what chords scales arpeggios they use..yes this takes time to digest.

Many jazz students gather every book and vid they can get..the amount of information available today is to the point of overwhelming and in many cases it may seem contradictory..so I suggest resist the urge to collect a lot of books..until you really get the basics down and have been playing for a while..

one very important suggestion..find some musicians to play with that know jazz fairly well..your learning curve will increase immensely.

hope this helps
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at May 24, 2017,
#4
Quote by sebasn10
I have been interested in jazz for a while. I've started learning a lot of stuff, such as the various chord progressions and such. I've been mostly working with Mickey Baker's Jazz book, the first one, Chord Chemistry (Ted Greene) and The Jazz Theory Book (Mark Levine). I've been learning a lot from all of these, but I feel like there is a more efficient way to learn from these than jumping between them constantly. How should I best use these books to gain the most from them?
You seem to be missing one very important book: a book of TUNES. Any of the Real Books is recommended. (Apologies if you have one or two of these already.)

I agree with the others that you should be listening to recordings. Listening and trying to copy what you hear. I'd suggest forgetting about chords for a while and playing the melodies. Everything (including the chords, and definitely the improvisation) starts with the melody.
When playing along you don't have to get the notes totally accurate (that's for slowing down and transcribing), but copy the rhythms and the feel.
Then look at the chords and see how the melody fits - which chord tones, extensions or alterations are featured. Then study the voice-leading between the chords - especially how the 3rds and 7ths link up.

With the books you've got, I also agree to start with the Mickey Baker. It may be all you need. (along with the Real Books and listening, copying and transcribing, of course.)
I have the Levine book, and while I found it interesting I can't say it helped me at all in my playing. I already had a good grounding in playing melodies and improvising off chord tones, and it added nothing of any use to that basic principle. Its emphasis on chord-scale theory is not much good when playing old jazz standards, bebop, or any sequence with fast changing chords; it's more suited to modal jazz. (But even in modal jazz, I didn't find it very useful.)
The Ted Greene book (which I don't own but have seen excerpts of) is probably very useful in showing you all the possible voicings for various chords, but it would be better if you worked all that stuff out for yourself. Mapping the fretboard yourself (using the various kinds of 7th chord for jazz) is the way to really embed the knowledge. Reading books won't do it.

In short, stop thinking about the GUITAR so much and start thinking about the MUSIC. Naturally you have to master your instrument, but it's only a tool. Music is a language, and you need the vocabulary, the grammar and the accent. The vocabulary is melodic - that's the stuff you use when improvising. The grammar is the chords and chord sequences - the interaction of melody and chords. The accent is the rhythms, articulation, dynamics, phrasing etc; which you can ONLY get by listening to jazz. And copying what you hear.
You can actually do all that with very little knowledge of your fretboard. But of course the more you know, the more flexible your positional choices.
Last edited by jonriley64 at May 24, 2017,
#5
get your fake books and learn by ear

transcribe! is a great program for slowing stuff down
modes are a social construct
#6
Quote by jonriley64
In short, stop thinking about the GUITAR so much and start thinking about the MUSIC.  

Aye. Being a guitarist is one of the biggest obstacles you'll overcome in learning how to play jazz.
#7
Music is invisible(!) and beyond the abstractions of graphics and language.

Visual methods (scores, diagrams, patterns, shapes, etc.) and language methods (lessons, books, the content of named things - notes, scales, chords, etc.) are entirely the wrong phenomenological modes for grasping music.

Throw those books away and use your ears - listen, play, listen, play.

Music is not pictures or words, but it can be learned by listening and playing.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#8
Quote by PlusPaul
Music is invisible(!) and beyond the abstractions of graphics and language.

Visual methods (scores, diagrams, patterns, shapes, etc.) and language methods (lessons, books, the content of named things - notes, scales, chords, etc.) are entirely the wrong phenomenological modes for grasping music.

Throw those books away and use your ears - listen, play, listen, play.

Music is not pictures or words, but it can be learned by listening and playing.


You do give good advice to most..this is a miss..Hard to play a Ami7 chord if you have no idea what that is and how to "play" it..but after you see a grid of the chord and play it and hear it..(along with other chords of course) you can now understand how to play it in a certain context..yes listening and playing what you hear is an important part of the learning process in music..but so is expanding the way you learn..I have several books written by master players..and they expose me to sounds in a systematic way that I MIGHT find on my own but it would take a much longer time..and I can read and write music notation..and have been playing quite a while..and when I like a tune I can outline it fine..but if I want to dig deeper into the structure I will get the sheet music.

so for me its DONT throw the books away but use them to learn what chords sound & LOOK like and how to use them..and of course this goes with "Listen & Play"..but if you have no idea what Kenny Burrell is doing with those very cool sounding chords..it may take you many months to figure out how to get those sounds one at a time..and a lot longer to get them to work together..
play well

wolf
#9
wolflen 
 I know... and I don't really disagree. I guess it's just "wake-up call" hyperbole - there has developed a nearly universal misunderstanding that the path to grasping music is to approach it like an academic subject with the assurance that the right materials and enough study will present success. All of that is only a tiny part, itself not nearly enough to scratch the surface. As an art form, music is "meta"; it is not about what to learn, think, and understand... it is about learning to learn, thinking about thinking, and coming to understand how one comes to understand. In a world of "there's an app for that" mentality, there is great risk of never even gaining one's footing close to an interior grasp of music.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#10
The challenges you take on have to be doable. Having a vocabulary of 7th chords and the ability to read from the staff is probably the least you need to start getting into jazz (at least stuff more complex than Louis Armstrong).

The biggest thing is understanding the music as songs, not just charts and notes. You should know jazz songs the same way you know songs on the radio, which is by repeated listening to the point that you have an intuitive sense where you are in the form. Once you get that, the melodies and chord changes fall into a sensible structure and you can really start working by ear more effectively.