Jimmy Haslip: Modern Improvisation For Bass (Instructional Book: Alfred Music) In his introduction to this excellent book, Jimmy reveals some of his deepest thoughts on improvisation: “In my opinion, it involves improving your musicianship and constantly raising your bar of musical knowledge,” he writes,”as well as finding a spiritual path that leads you to a connection between your passion and your heart.” With this approach, Haslip finds ways to connect with the reader both philosophically and technically, and offers a well thought out and inspirational resource for jazz bassists. What separates this book from others is Haslip’s keen ability to break down some of the most important concepts of improvisation, communicate them effectively, and demystify the process of improvising solos on bass.
What also makes the book stand out is the very helpful recording that accompanies it (made available via free download). Jimmy plays through the notated sequences, which build slowly on fundamentals like blues and rhythm changes, the II-V-I pattern, and walking bass lines. He then develops these concepts further, utilizing several Yellowjackets compositions like “Run For Your Life” and “Gabriela Rose” to show his concepts at work. Later chapters examine the use of various scales, altered harmonic variations and chordal arpeggios, among other topics. In 64 pages, Haslip is able to lay out a course of study of improvisation that, if used correctly, can offer a student a lifetime of self improvement in their soloing ability.
The book ends with “The Wheel Of Improvisation”, which Jimmy calls “a virtual toolbelt,” and includes a diagram that he explains is “a visual look at what I have in my head when playing music live and in the studio.” For any bassist who is serious about taking their solo chops to the next level, this book is well worth the money.