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#2173469 - 10/28/13 10:57 PM David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series
R. James A. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 7
Loc: USA
Is anybody familiar with the three-volume series How to Play Bebop by David Baker? I realize the books aren't specific to piano, but the claim is that they are useful for all instruments. I was wondering if they would be useful for me in my jazz soloing. I have a little experience, know a few bebop scales, etc, but I'm really looking for an in-depth method of learning changes. If anybody can give feedback on the series I'd be happy to hear from you! (even if you're not a pianist smile


Edited by R. James A. (10/28/13 10:57 PM)

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#2173487 - 10/29/13 12:21 AM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
R. James, I have read your post, here:

subject: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series

Is anybody familiar with the three-volume series How to Play Bebop by David Baker? I realize the books aren't specific to piano, but the claim is that they are useful for all instruments. I was wondering if they would be useful for me in my jazz soloing. I have a little experience, know a few bebop scales, etc, but I'm really looking for an in-depth method of learning changes. If anybody can give feedback on the series I'd be happy to hear from you! (even if you're not a pianist smile

__________

I am not sure how to answer your question.

I am a beginner piano player of 2 years and I was
saxophone player of 4 years as a beginner.

All the books I have of Baker are somewhere in the house and the ones I have are for all instruments
and I thought his books were very good. They are all on soloing and jazz improv.

And I don't know if you know about the Aebersold books because they are for all instruments - several hundreds of books - all for all instruments and of course, for soloing but there are also some books for the specifics of piano soloing/jazz, too.

I have had a book since I was in my twenties - I am now almost a 100 - actually 64 - that I copied from a library when it was fashionable in the 1970s and it might still be available. It is for any instrument, very, very, good, very simply and nicely presented for jazz soloing/improv. It is called
Arnie Berle's Complete Handbook for Jazz Improvisation. It also says on the on the cover - A practical guide for the development of jazz technique for guitar, piano, saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, flute and all treble instruments. -- just so you know I just convert the stuff to bass clef -

And I must tell you, having played the bari saxaphone, a treble clef instrument - I loved its low notes of the sax and it never worries me if anything is in treble clef because even as a beginner I will convert anything about music for any instrument to the bass clef of the piano -

Also I have Mastering the Bass in 2 volumes by Bruce
Gertz - and you should know it is referring to the upright bass and electric bass. Great book on - I was going to list stuff but there are 200 pages in each book and dirt cheap at $30.00 for each book with 2 CDs for each book in Canada. So you should probably look at those books no matter what instrument you are interested like walking blues, reggae, grooves, Vamps, lot of stuff on Rhythm, Gooves, time. and I could certainly use everything in these books for playing the piano even though I am only a beginner.

I am currently working through the John Thompson books - I am in book 2 - to get a good grounding in how play the piano but I would like to sink my teeth and brain into some jazz and improv along my way to learning classical music. For me classical music comes first then Jazz, etc.

cheers, and enjoy the journey

3B28JZZ

The great thing about the piano is that you can play all the 88 keys anytime you want, but if you want to be a bad guy, you can hang out at the low end of the piano and it is all good!



Edited by Michael_99 (10/29/13 12:26 AM)

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#2173550 - 10/29/13 06:09 AM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 623
Loc: Leicester, UK
R. James A.,

All of the improv books out there - David Baker too - pretty much say the same thing. With different emphasis and different tone and style. And of course there is some stuff one says that the other one doesn't. You might find it helpful to go to a bookstore or music store that has a selection of this stuff. Look through what they have and see what's helpful. A lot of the question of which book comes down to personal learning style. Which is to say some books resonate more with some than with others.


Barry Harris is always a great source of information I've written some blog posts about him - they're all here:

http://www.polishookstudio.com/search/label/Barry%20Harris

Here 2 best sources of BH info I the web might be

http://jazzworkshops.com/articles/evolutionary-voicings-part-i
http://www.barryharris.com/cgi-bin/jt.cgi

... but as with books everyone has their favorite and the one that resonates for them ...meaning there's other stuff out there to be found

In terms of playing lines the traditional jazz way has been to transcribe solos you like and learn to play them, internalise them, etc. Of course it time consuming - and maybe you've already done it - but it's THE traditional way.

The Charlie Parker Omnibook is a great resource because it's got more or less 150 pages of Charlie Parker solos.. A John Coltrane Omnibook is soon to be released but it's not out yet.

Here are two books of Sonny Stitt transcriptions (both for free)

http://www.charlesmcneal.com/uploads/Keith_Stitt_Complete.pdf
http://www.charlesmcneal.com/uploads/Keith_Stitt_Complete2.pdf

So another way to go about is to look through all those transcriptions, find the lines you like, practice then, and use them.

Hope this helps ...

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#2173696 - 10/29/13 11:37 AM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
I worked through Volume 1 of the Baker series and I am just starting Volume 2, but it is just licks over common progressions, volume 1 was better. I spent about a year going through Volume 1 - one pattern a day through all the keys - I think Baker really covers the ground well, in depth.

There are a lot of great books out there, but nothing can take the place of a good teacher and now with Skype there are lots of options.

From my perspective the best books I have used are the Mark Levine Piano Book, Phil DeGregs Voicings book, the Dave Frank Joy of Improv books and the Charlie Parker Omni Book. For the omnibook I would also recommend Transcribe! from 7thheaven as it allows you to slow a solo down to a playable speed. Transcribe is also the best transcription software I have seen.

What I like about the Frank books are that each lesson covers a lick, a finger exercise, and two written out solos - one over a blues and one over a standard chord progression. I like to identify a lick or phrase that sounds good and play that through the keys and then insert it a couple of times on whatever standard I am working on.

Like Mark says above - there are a lot of books out on jazz and they cover the same ground you have to find what works for you. One last thing: remember to keep a balance between learning and just blowing. Best of luck.

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#2173778 - 10/29/13 02:36 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: RonL]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 714
I have those books based on Barry Harris themes. My main complaint is that it seems the laws of adding one chromatic note or two or none, depending on what note you start on, etc. was written by someone who probably didn't use this technique but developed it after much work at playing, jamming and transcribing. Improve moves at a very quick pace and you can't use the laws in real time (or at least I couldn't.) I understand that you should practice and then hopefully the language will come through when playing. Easier said than done.
_________________________
AG N2, CP4, GK MK & MP

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#2173821 - 10/29/13 03:57 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 623
Loc: Leicester, UK
36251,

I don't which books you're referring to for Barry Harris. The best introductions to his system aren't in books.

The bottom line of what he teaches comes from his experience as one of the major bebop pianists of the 1950's. His students include Joe Henderson, Roland Hanna, and others. Paul Chambers, when he was playing with Miles Davis, once said all the good players study with Barry Harris. And Barry Harris was one of Thelonious Monk's closest associates. They lived in a house together not far from NYC for a decade or so.

That said if you watch his videos on Youtube it's not easy to follow what he's saying. Whether or not he's explaining it clearly is for debate. No doubt about that. Because his teaching style is basically to sit at the piano, play it, and assume if you didn't pick it up at first you will later!

But for anyone who wants information from someone who was there on the scene when and as it happened then Barry Harris is prime source. And maybe right now the only prime source who's still here AND teaching. Someone mentioned recently in a different thread that David Hazeltine (great pianist in NYC) is one his students.

The thing is, the stuff BH teaches isn't a sequenced, gradual progression designed to take anyone from point A to point B. To the contrary, it's raw info and that can make it appear harder to digest than it is.

If anyone wants a simple intro to it, just send a PM. Am happy to help - of all the different ways to learn jazz that are out there, BH stuff is the only one that comes from someone who was there and on the scene w/everyone including Monk, Bird, Coltrane, etc.

That said if different approaches are easier to use and learn with - well, WHATEVER way we learn is the best way! BH or not!!.

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#2173902 - 10/29/13 05:52 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
BH did a nice job of explaining his method on the DVD - I like the Baker book because it covers every scale degree and beat - BH covered the material very quickly on the DVD and only covered downward scale motion - interestingly BH made a point that Baker didn't that really opened my eyes: the whole point of adding a chromatic note was so that the rhythm works out and chord tones land on strong beats - so the added note doesn't even have to be a chromatic - he demostrated by adding an octave or something.

I think Levine says in his piano book that it is jazz theory not jazz fact. Or something like that. And I forget who coined the famous in the practice room think but when playing feel - something like learn it then forget it.

By the way I have seen Dave Baker play - guy can play and he writes good tunes. He has been involved in jazz education since the 60's. And don't get me started on some of the bad jazz books I have bought over the years...

ps - I was the poster about David Hazeltine - he taught at a Jamey Abersol camp I went to and brought BH up during a piano master class. Great player man - just before the camp he had taken a fall and broke his left wrist so during the jams w Rotundi and Alexander (5 for all ) he played with one had and still sounded like a monster.

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#2173914 - 10/29/13 06:10 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 623
Loc: Leicester, UK
Ron! My apologies. Lost track of that that you were the DH poster! Of jazz educators, David Baker is one of the "I was there" guys. For sure.

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#2174133 - 10/30/13 02:33 AM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
I think the Baker system is too narrowly based. Masters don't really play "bebop scales", however they do often target chord tones. Masters are far more liberal in their improvising than "bebop scales" would indicate. Look at how often this masterful solo by Don Byas violates the bebop chord tone scale "rules". Byas lands on non-chord tones quite frequently and it sounds brilliant.

http://chnani.perso.neuf.fr/ejma/images/releves/donbyas.html

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#2174134 - 10/30/13 02:35 AM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
Read through the entire Charlie Parker Omni-book and see how often he plays a "bebop scale". Virtually never.

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#2174176 - 10/30/13 06:29 AM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: rintincop]
beeboss Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1190
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: rintincop
Look at how often this masterful solo by Don Byas violates the bebop chord tone scale "rules". Byas lands on non-chord tones quite frequently and it sounds brilliant.


Could it be that the old masters didn't learn jazz by reading books?
I had a book by Baker, but I didn't ever look at it. It helped me a lot.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/davebeeboss

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#2174250 - 10/30/13 10:14 AM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 623
Loc: Leicester, UK
There's always tension between the "old ways" and the "new ways." To that point James Moody wrote

I have all of Jerry Bergonzi’s books: Vol. 2, Pentatonics, Vol. 3, Jazz Line, and Vol. 4, Melodic Rhythms. All of these books are musically amazing. Now, Jerry has come up with another book, Vol.5, Thesaurus of Intervallic Melodies, which is truly astounding. My advice to any musician, regardless of his or her instrument, would be to get ALL of Jerry’s books. There is a wealth of information in each of these books. Musicians, do yourselves a favor. Get them!! I did! I’m truly happy, but I see that I have a lot of work to do. Thank you, Jerry, for all your musical lessons.”

Books or no books, it doesn't have to be all (one) or nothing at all (of the other).

About so-called be-bop scales ... there's literal use of those scales, meaning note-for-note use of the scale. And there's background "structural" use of the scale. The background structural thing is what Barry Harris is teaching - although that's not a term he uses. Using the be-bop scale as the basis for other stuff gives the BH method freedom to scale to whatever anyone wants to do with it. Including using it literally or building on it to get away from it.

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#2174336 - 10/30/13 01:16 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
Barry Harris is teaching old fashion George Shearing style block chords on the "bebop scale" ... "connect positions of major6 or minor 6 chords with intervening diminished chords". Same with Mark Levine.

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#2174351 - 10/30/13 01:48 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
yes - BH does teach the block chord thing but that is separate from the bebop scale thing in a way. The sharp 5 on the major scale is one of Bakers BeBop scales and it is due to the diminished scale relationship so it is all related. I think Levine does a great job going over it in his piano book and his drop 2 book.

Mark - your last post is so funny - I picked up the Bergonzi Pentatonics book years ago and tried to work through it but I hated it. Too many numbers and permutations. Like we have both said different strokes for different folks - I am going to dig that book out and take another look - I just remember it feeling really un musical.

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#2174364 - 10/30/13 02:23 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: RonL]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 714
Originally Posted By: RonL
yes - BH does teach the block chord thing but that is separate from the bebop scale thing in a way. The sharp 5 on the major scale is one of Bakers BeBop scales and it is due to the diminished scale relationship so it is all related. I think Levine does a great job going over it in his piano book and his drop 2 book.

Mark - your last post is so funny - I picked up the Bergonzi Pentatonics book years ago and tried to work through it but I hated it. Too many numbers and permutations. Like we have both said different strokes for different folks - I am going to dig that book out and take another look - I just remember it feeling really un musical.
I learned somewhere that the raised 5th is the major bebop scale. (the raised 7th is the dominant bebop scale.)
_________________________
AG N2, CP4, GK MK & MP

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#2174371 - 10/30/13 02:43 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 623
Loc: Leicester, UK
Ron, To be honest, That book isn't for me either. But Moody liked it!

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#2174396 - 10/30/13 03:20 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: Mark Polishook]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1727
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: Mark Polishook


I have all of Jerry Bergonzi’s books: Vol. 2, Pentatonics, Vol. 3, Jazz Line, and Vol. 4, Melodic Rhythms. All of these books are musically amazing. Now, Jerry has come up with another book, Vol.5, Thesaurus of Intervallic Melodies, which is truly astounding. My advice to any musician, regardless of his or her instrument, would be to get ALL of Jerry’s books. There is a wealth of information in each of these books. Musicians, do yourselves a favor. Get them!! I did! I’m truly happy, but I see that I have a lot of work to do. Thank you, Jerry, for all your musical lessons.”


I've used the Bergonzi books in the past a bit. Specifically Volumes 5 & selected sections of vol. 6 (developing a jazz language).

In Vol. 5 Gonz has some ear and eye opening shapes to his lines. He has a process on how he's composed those lines in vol. 5 . I've read through it several times. Maybe it's me just being dense, but darned if I can figure out his process. Basically I try to incorporate those lines into changes...some pretty advanced and far out stuff. I remember it taking me 90 minutes just to transpose one of those far out lines to all 12 keys. Haven't looked at his stuff in some time though.

I've found a wealth of info in many of the Walt Weiskopf books. The augmented scale one, Intervalic Improvisation-where he uses triad pairs to form lines...similiar to Bergonzi. And my favorite...Around the horn..where he touches on 21 different modes. The cool thing are the etudes he writes on each example where you can take specific lines that catch your eyes/ears and transpose them to all 12 keys. That's how I use all these books anyway.

Agree, books aren't the "end all"....far, far from it. You have to play to develop, with other people specifically. And the higher level they are at, the better.

Where the *books* /teacher can help is giving you new ideas in the jazz language. The end result of any written study in jazz I feel, is take the examples/concepts and develop your own thing--whether they be lines, voicings, phrasing, time feel or accompaniment..

I've found I've made the most progress when playing on a regular to semi-regular basis along with the practicing. They both go hand in hand.


Edited by Dave Ferris (10/30/13 03:50 PM)
Edit Reason: added thoughts
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#2174515 - 10/30/13 07:55 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1727
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
An edit to my last post--That Bergonzi book that uses "triad pairs" is actually Vol. 7, "Hexatonics". I've found it very good and probably more useful to me then any of the other volumes. Recommended.
_________________________
http://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP5, CP4, Nord Piano 2
RCF TT08A & TT22A speakers


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#2183456 - 11/16/13 03:58 PM Re: David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" series [Re: R. James A.]
Steve Nixon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/10
Posts: 216
Loc: Chicago
Hey Dave,
The other Bergonzi book that I liked was his Melodic Patterns book. Have you seen that book?

I found it an interesting approach to improvisation based off melodic cells. Granted Coltrane did a lot of stuff in his original Giant Steps solo but I found a # of the shapes he was using to be conceptually similar to some of the things in Melodic Patterns.

In response to the O.P…..

I thought the David Baker books were useful in certain ways too. I think the best way to approach that series is to use it as supplementary material to your own personal transcribing. Make a discovery in the book and then sit down and do some transcribing of bebop.

That's what I did a lot in college.

At this point I don't buy books anymore. I'm not against them by any means. I just have found that all the answers for me are in the recordings or videos. Granted I have to put in the time to find them. That's always the fun and challenging part smile

So, if you have developed your ears maybe that's the best way to go for you?
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