Music Books! : Book and Media Reviews
I have been doing a lot of reading lately and you have see that most of my previous reviews have been ” reading” books or bass instruction books. Now I get to have some fun and explore some Music Books!
First, let me share some cool stuff from Alfred Music Publishing Co. “Pink Floyd” and “Rush” Ultimate Bass Play-along books and CD’s. The first book has 9 tracks and the second has six. Of course they’re some of their greatest hits but I will make you look them up if you want details! The music is written in standard notation and Tab.
Now, we all have seen play-along CD’s but these have a new, very cool, feature called TNT (Tone ‘N’ Tempo Changer). When you put this CD in your computer (windows or Mac) it has a Player that will slow down (or speed up) the tempo without changing the pitch! If you want to change the pitch to a different Key, you can and the whole song will be in that key! You can even mute out the bass entirely if you want to! This is a sweet feature without having to have a Player that can do this for you.
Next lets talk about three prime examples of the “Authentic” Bass Tab Editions.
The Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (21 songs)
Rush: Deluxe Bass Tab Collection-1975-2007 (22 songs)
The Best of Jack Bruce (13 songs)
OK, so these don’t have the CD, but they are loaded with lots of your favorite tunes from these Rock icons! The format is written out in both standard notation and Tab and is easy to read! If you really want the tune downloading from your favorite source should do the trick!
Next on our agenda we have “What Duck Done…That’s Soul folks!” by Tim Tindall from Bass is Bodacious (publisher of Bass studies).
This puppy has thirty-three R&B classics as played by Donald “Duck” Dunn himself! If you are a fan of Booker T & the M.G.’s you will dig this book with two CD’s. The tunes are written out in both standard notation and Tab. This is great if you are working on getting that soulful sound and feel that was Ducks trademark. (Always makes me want to re-watch the Blues brothers) This one is a lot of fun and you will end up knowing everything there is about the Duck… read the appendix!
Now we must explore some serious bass books. I have “Secret Chambers, a comparative Analysis of Paul Chambers’ Bebop Style” and “12 keys to Success”. Both are by Jim Stinnett.
Lets address the first of these. Paul Chambers has been called “The Bird of Bass” and I will ashamedly admit that I didn’t know the full extent of his work. (Better stated, I didn’t realize that I had heard him on so much of the jazz I have listened to.) A quick online review of his impressive bio and listening to samples of his musicianship quickly convinced me that he was a force to be recognized!
Now, Jim has masterfully and thoroughly transcribed 76 solos for us lucky readers. Not only do we have the transcription, but also an insightful dissection of what made Paul the amazing upright player that he was. If you are serious about Bebop and Jazz, this book is for you!
The “12 keys of Success” was written” for the bassist who wants to master the instrument. This book contains seventy-eight etudes designed to develop solid technical efficiency. The accompanying CD features Jim’s very dedicated students. There is some serious work here, but if you are serious about our chosen instrument, I don’t think you will find any practice reference more complete!
Another available book featuring Todd Johnson (and once again Jim Stinnett) worth checking out is “Fishin’ For Grips“. This text centers on melodic harmonization for bass guitar. Todd’s organization for jazz harmony and it’s applications to the bass are first-rate, and provide a unique approach to any player looking to step into this harmonic approach to playing. It’s comprehensive, it’s laid out in a practical and easy-to-understand method, and the accompanying DVD is pure icing on the cake. It’s written for a six-string, or a five-string with a high “C string” for the voicing’s, but I see no problem transferring this information to a four-string. This is an excellent reference guide for those looking to investigate this approach to playing.
Last but not least, lets look at “Walking Bassics, The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing” by Ed Fuqua. This book and CD give s the beginning bass player a foundation to create solid walking lines. There are two main sections, one with the principles of walking bass line construction and the other with the transcriptions that are on the CD. This book is simple yet very thorough. Definitely, a good choice if you are trying to grow your walking bass skills.
But wait…. There is a late entry! One more? Of course! Enter “The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass” by Jon Burr. Here we have Jon’s very insightful approach to breaking down the structure of harmony and rhythm. This book gives us a solid how to create bass lines, melodies or patterns in any style although the main focus is Jazz.
Let me quote fellow Staff Writer Jason Heath here: ” The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass is an outstanding rethinking of how expert Jazz bassists actually conceptualize and navigate chord changes. Written from the perspective of a seasoned jazz veteran but set forth in a straightforward and engaging fashion, this book is an excellent addition to the library of any jazz bass student or teacher”. Thanks, Jason, I couldn’t have stated that any better!
Well, there is something here for everyone! Pick up a book (or a few) and enjoy the lifelong joy of learning. I know I will!
Happy Second Anniversary Bass Musician Magazine!