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All Blues for Jazz Guitar

Comping Styles, Chords & Grooves
Level: , 92 pages
RefNr: MB96842BCD
Order From:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Written by: Jim Ferguson

Format: Method Medium: Book/CD
Series: Publisher: Mel Bay
Genre: * | Jazz - Blues | * | Blues - Jazz | * | Blues - Rhythm | * | Rhythm - Blues | * | Blues - Progressions |

Destined to become a classic, this book is the natural result of not only years of playing jazz guitar but also of the author's long associations with many innovative jazz guitarists. This comprehensive guide is one of the first jazz methods to focus entirely on the blues idiom and its contribution to jazz improvisation. It is designed to help you play authoritatively in a broad spectrum of jazz guitar settings from big band to small combos to a solo context. This book is divided into 4 sections which addresses 12-bar blues progressions, 3-note Freddie Green-type chords, shuffles, swing riff comping, chord scales, linear bebop comping, modal concepts, triads over bass notes and a wealth of chord voicings and inversions. Includes over 110 music examples, 45 complete 12-bar choruses, and a CD with 30 tracks. It also offers a helpful glossary of jazz terminology. Written in standard notation and tablature.

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Book of the Month 2003-02

Guitar Book of the Month February 2003 - Jim Ferguson: All Blues for Jazz Guitar

If you are like me: Someone who has been playing blues guitar for some time, but would like to jazz up the blues from time to time, then Jim Ferguson: All Blues for Jazz Guitar is the book for you. But I have to admit that I use it more as "All Jazz for Blues Guitarists", than the actual title.

The book I have picked for this month, has the subtitle "Comping styles, chords & groves". You can hear all the examples on the CD that comes with the book.

Jim Ferguson is a very well respected writer. He is a former editor of Guitar Player Magazine, a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.

In the introduction we are presented with several variations of the 12-bar blues form. Then comes a section with straight four to the beat rhythm.

The first examples are based on three note chords in the style of Freddie Green in rather simple harmonic structures with only one chord in each bar. Even if you are only a little bit above beginners level, you should be able to hang on in the beginning. But you will not be a beginner anymore if you master everything that is covered in the book.

The keys chosen may be a bit unfamiliar if you come from a blues (or folk or rock) background. Bb is not the favorite key for guitarists. But as the chords are played in closed positions, it is no problem playing in this key.

From the simple beginning, the material is growing in complexity. More chords are added. The chords by themselves are not difficult. In the first 9 examples, you will play the same basic three note shapes. But when you change chord for each beat, they become harder to play.

Jim Ferguson not only presents various chord structures. He explains the ideas behind the structures. And on the way you learn about voice leading etc. You will also learn some new chords in a demystifying way.

The next section is Chord Riffs. We get more sophisticated rhythmic concepts, as well as larger and more complex chords. You will mainly play four note chords on the top strings, with a few double-stops in between. The section is called Swing to Bop, but it actually takes you a bit beyond be-bop.

In the final section, you will combine a walking bass line and chords. For someone like me, who mainly play fingerstyle and do not have a jazz background, this is more familiar territory.

In this book, Jim Ferguson never breaks out of the 12-bar framework. If you are familiar with this basic structure, you will at least to some extent feel at home in the music presented. But within this framework, the music harmonically develops far beyond the playing of the typical blues player. It is this development based on a familiar structure that makes the book work so well for players like me. On the way Jim Ferguson discuss the playing of various jazz guitarist. As I do not have a jazz background, I will not comment on this, other than saying that we learn a bit about these players' approach to blues along the way.

I said that you do not have to be too much above a beginners level to catch on with the beginning of this book. But you will have a very steep learning curve if you as a beginner try to embark on this material with the ambition of learning it all. I find that this book combined with Dave Rubin's 12-Bar Blues, featured at Book of the Month July 2002, makes a very good pair if you want to explore the 12-bare blues.

Jim Ferguson has also published two other books that seems to complement the one featured this month: All Blues Scale for Jazz Guitar and All Blues Soloing for Jazz Guitar. But as I do not have these two books, and do not really know them, I can only say that based on what I have seen from Jim Ferguson, and the material covered in these books, they should make a good triology if you want to play blues with a jazzy flavour.

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