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Jazz Licks: Bass Clef Version Review

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Jazz Licks - Bass Clef Version Review

Jazz Licks: Bass Clef Version is 296 pages of improvisational gold for bassists.

A collaborative project led by Nikita Borisenko, the book contains more than 1,500 jazz licks for the more popular chord progressions (2-5-1 and 1-6-2-5) in the jazz repertoire. The licks are written in standard notation and are provided in all keys. The book can provide the aspiring improviser with weeks, if not years, of study.

Published in October 2014, the book features 17 songs so the reader can apply the melodic jazz licks to jazz standards, including such classics as “All The Things You Are,” “The Days Of Wine And Roses,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Stella By Starlight,” and “Take Five.”

Author’s intentions
The authors and contributors compiled a large collection of saxophone, brass, guitar and piano licks in treble clef. Rather than simply transpose the licks, the authors took great care in adapting the melodic ideas specifically to the range of the bass.

According to Borisenko, the book concept started more than 10 years ago when he was studying jazz guitar and improvisation at Moscow College Of Improvising Music. He was struggling with improvisation and was not having much success finding method books or learning from the one or two licks he’d find on any particular song.

“There were a few people who knew the secret but there were no easy way to transfer this knowledge from one individual to another,” said Borisenko. “(The process) implied a whole lot of work: Listening and transcribing miles of tape, running through a number of books to discover just a few worthwhile melodic ideas.”

After transcribing many recordings, he observed that music closely resembled physics and math. In his view, “beautiful music obeys certain principles which can be formulated and explained.”

Borisenko believed that scientific approach was missing from other jazz publications and set about to build a knowledge base of jazz licks over common chord progressions. Thousands of licks are now stored in the free online database at www.bopland.org.

Eventually, Borisenko decided to publish the online material into a more convenient and play-ready book.

Using Jazz Licks
“One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever heard about memorizing any material was to split the information into small chunks and chew them one by one,” said Borisenko. “My intention was to create a book which would implicitly incentivize a reader to build his own vocabulary based on those patterns he likes most.”

Derek Jones, bassist for Cirque du Soleil’s KA and adjunct faculty in the bass department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has started experimenting with the book on a handful of his college students. Starting with the first example in the key of C, Jones suggests playing through the 2-5-1 licks as written: seven lines of three measures (one per chord) per line. That starts the reader with seven jazz licks. Jones then recommends mixing up the chords from each of the seven different lines. For instance, play the Dm7 lick from the first line with the G7 lick from the third line and the Cmaj7 lick from the sixth line.

“Instead of seven licks, you now have 343. And that’s just in the key of C,” Jones added. “This is not a book to learn the songs. It’s a book to help you explore and improvise ideas.”

Jones recommend using the book to focus on improving left hand facility as well as practicing dynamics and articulation with the right hand.

The book is a really good starting point,” said Geoff Neuman, double bassist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and instructor of instrumental music of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. “It is up to the student to be creative in how to get the most out of it. Like most jazz educational books, it is up to the musician to create exercises beyond just reading through the book to get the most out of it.”

Neuman advocates approaching the book to with both right and left hand studies in mind. The student should vary fingering options with the left hand as well as experiment with rhythmic and dynamic variations with the right hand — in addition to bowing exercises for the double bassist.

Where to buy
Jazz Licks: Bass Clef Version is currently only available on Amazon.com as a paperback for $10.25.

Bass Books

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health

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The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health is now available!

A compilation of Volumes 1 & 2 of the acclaimed Bassist’s Guide with 20+ pages of new interviews, techniques, and conditions, The Complete Guide puts everything in one convenient place.

Available at Amazon.com and from our friends at Bassline Publishing

Follow Dr. Kertz’s Bass Player Health at Bass Musician Magazine

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Bass Books

Music Book: 365 Days of Practice

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Music Book: 365 Days of Practice
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365 Days of Practice…

365 Days of Practice is a unique guide on how to deepen your practice routine from one of the masters of contemporary jazz! This book is the result of a project by Rick Margitza in which he posted an idea online every day during the year 2020.

The exercises cover a broad spectrum of musical ideas that range from basic bebop language to its transformation into contemporary jazz. See sample pages below.

The lines are often totally unique and will enlarge your melodic pallette considerably!

Includes an extensive introductory chapter outlining Rick’s practice method, learned from Gary Campbell, who was also Michael Brecker’s teacher.

The book also includes access to audio files for each example that Rick created and plays along with. Very helpful for ingraining the sounds of these exercises in your musical memory!

365 Days of Practice can be used by musicians of all levels, on any instrument. 171 pages. Spiral-bound. Don’t miss it!

“Rick Margitza’s 365 Days of Practice is a masterpiece! It lays out the fundamentals in such a clear fashion and adds a little spice to it as well. If you are looking for concepts and music to practice to expand your horizons as well as your vocabulary, this book will be your friend for life. Thank You, Rick!”— Jerry Bergonzi

“His new book: 365 Days of Practice by the great saxophonist Rick Margitza, explains in depth his methodology for expanding one’s Jazz Vocabulary. There are not only 365 audio play-along examples, but also the clearest, most concise and to the point explanation of this daily method of practice, and it’s genesis, that I’ve yet seen. So please avail yourself this unique learning opportunity, and check out this book!”— Randy Brecker

“Rick Margitza is a wonderful saxophonist with a unique sound and approach. He has laid out a year’s worth of daily practice exercises that pinpoint various areas of focus in the art of compositional improvising. This is a fascinating book. I look forward to absorbing the contents!”— Bob Mintzer

365 Days of Practice is available at Amazon.com

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Bass Books

Bass Book: Walking Bass Line Construction – F Blues

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Bass Book: Walking Bass Line Construction - F Blues
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Walking Bass Line Construction – F Blues by Bob Sinicrope

The most helpful beginner’s guide to walking bass lines ever published! A ‘must’ for teachers and students!

Each exercise introduces one new advancement to help you learn how to create your own bass lines. The book progresses step-by-step from simply playing roots, all the way up to complete blues choruses in the style of 18 bass legends – from ‘Pops’ Foster to Ron Carter!

Choose from four different, professionally recorded backing tracks: 1 — piano, drums; 2 — guitar, drums; 3 — B3, drums; 4 — drums only

Exercises include concepts of approach notes, enclosures, passing tones, and forward motion.

Access to detailed explanations of each concept, plus how to practice, playing with spirit, how to deepen your groove and much more!

TAB included for beginning electric bassists. Range limited to high C (1st 5 frets for electric players).

“An amazing book for anyone learning to walk jazz bass lines. A very simple but unique approach!”— Victor Wooten

”Teaches what the bassist needs to do to be musically successful. It is quite thorough and will teach the user to be an excellent bassist/musician/listener.”— Rufus Reid

”Bob Sinicrope presented this unique and effective teaching approach to creating walking bass lines many times at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Workshop. The ideas presented herein will help bassists create their own functional bass lines. I highly recommend this book.”— Lynn Seaton

Walking Bass Line Construction – F Blues is available at Amazon.com

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Bass Books

20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar

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20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar
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20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar by Alvaro M. Gómez A…

If you like salsa and also play the electric bass guitar, then 20 Salsa Basslines is for you. Whether you have no experience in the genre or are a dedicated salsa bassist, there’s a lot to discover here. The content printed in this book will show you in detail what the bassists who contributed to immortalizing the pieces chosen to make up this music material decided at the moment of capturing their performance in the recording studio. Total attention and meticulousness have been put into the creation of these transcriptions, written down with both bassists with formal musical training (standard notation) and bassists who play strictly or mostly by ear (tablature) in mind. Certainly, in general terms the only things that an expert bassist needs to play these pieces while reading a piece of sheet music are the harmonic guide (chords) and the obbligato parts. But the intention here has been to write down with the highest possible accuracy what was left for posterity in the recordings, which, among other things, is a good way to know the style of the scrutinized bassist in-depth and eventually find playing options that may not have been thought of.

If the seasoned bassist may find this book useful to enrich his/her arsenal, the material contained here will undoubtedly constitute one of the main bases for building vocabulary and style as a salsa bassist for anyone who’s just starting to approach this genre, either out of pleasure or curiosity.

20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar is available at Amazon.com

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Bass Books

Bass Gym – 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments

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Bass Gym - 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments

Bass Gym – 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments…

We all know that the bass guitar is primarily a melodic and rhythmic instrument. We can
play fat huge bass notes on it with any finger technique, slapping, picking or tapping. In
most cases, however, we will play single notes that build on each other to form a bass line.
The guitarist or keyboardist is in charge of playing the chords, right? So there’s no point in
playing chords on the bass, because we’ll just be wasting our time.

Wrong! Playing chords gives us a tremendous amount of insight. We learn to hear and also ‘see’ chords. In many cases we will have to adjust our fingering and voicing (the way the chords can be interpreted).

On the bass, we very often play double stops (two notes at once) and power chords (either as a double stops with a root and a fifth or as a triple stops with a root, a fifth and an octave). These are the simplest chords that we can incorporate into our bass lines right away.
For example, Lemmy Kilmister was a master at playing power chords! And the likes of Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten and Justin Chancellor of Tool have many grooves or riffs built around playing double or triple stops.

Purely from the point of view of music theory, a chord is a chord if it consists of at least three notes – a root, a fifth and a third. It is a constellation of the simplest major and minor chords. If we proceed further in the chord hierarchy, all chords with a number seven in their name consist of four notes (the three notes mentioned above plus a major or minor seventh), ninth chords of five notes (we add the so-called ninth note, which is a second played an octave higher), eleventh chords of six notes, and finally thirteenth chords of seven notes. So suddenly you realise that you are actually using all the notes of a scale that consists of exactly seven notes (not including the octave).

Yes, the composition of chords and their whole system is closely related to intervals and scales. It is such a great building block for any playful musician.

So, let’s summarize why it’s good to master playing chords on the bass:

1) Understanding the connection between intervals, scales, and chords
2) Improving the visualization of the fingerboard
3) Expanding the register with new techniques for playing
4) Challenging left hand finger coordination
5) Understanding chord formation and note hierarchy aka voicing
6) Insight into the mindset of guitarists or pianists
7) Understanding the harmonic aspects and structure of a given piece of music

As in all the books in the Bass Gym 101 series, we have a total of 101 exercises
targeting all important aspects of the topic. In our case, chord playing and harmonic
accompaniments. Each exercise is briefly described in the title and consists of a notation and tablature that shows you where and how best to play the exercise.

I recommend being particularly consistent in the way you play the exercises. Begin with small sections – one bar at a time, slowing down and looping. Gradually add more bars and also increase the tempo.

I was especially careful to write each exercise in a practical, musical way. These are not just boring etudes or purely mechanical practice. You can take the exercises and use them straightway in a song or jam session with a drummer or other musician. Or use them in your own original composition. There are no limits to your imagination and creativity.

The main focus is on musicality, challenging progressions, fingerings and combinations which will enhace your playing skills while keeping it real and practical. Often exercises are written as passages in songs – a verse, a bridge or a chorus.

I hope this musical approach will motivate you even more to incorporate chordal playing into your bass lines. Personally, I always immediately think of a new song when playing chords and often end up playing it with the band. You never know, maybe chord playing will inspire you enough to become a songwriter and bring not just grooves or bass lines to the table, but also complete songs and arrangements.

Exercise methodology:

1-10 – practicing double stops
11-20 – practicing double stops and open strings
21-29 – tenth chords
30-39 – chords with three notes – triple stops
40-49 – grooves with double stops and chords
50-60 – seventh chords
61-65 – ninth chords
66-70 – sus4 chords
71-75 – chords using all four strings
76-80 – flamenco style chords
81-90 – voice leading
91-101 – etudes and grooves in different musical styles

Bass Gym – 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments is available online at Amazon.com

All exercises are available as mp3 downloads at basslinepublishing.com/free-stuff

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