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Book Reviews

Jazz Improvisation: Advice From the Masters

By Published: January 8, 2005
Jimi Durso and Karla Harby
Jazz Improvisation: Advice From the Masters
Outcat
ISBN: 0975963201
2004

Sixteen jazz masters are represented by mini-essays about improvisation in this extremely valuable booklet. Many of the pieces are simply strings of anecdotes reflecting upon education, concerts and recording sessions. Sometimes maxims or proverbs abound. This would have made a delightful "book" in a "gift" book format of 4 by 6 inches. Any seriously evolving jazz musician would find it worth its weight in gold. That metaphor is particularly apt since the cost for this slim booklet is $19.95. Part of me thinks it is simply an outrage of a price for a book of little nuggets of insight about improvisation. Another part of me absolutely loves the fact that the pearls of wisdom collected here you may find nowhere else in jazz literature. Speaking of metaphors, Kenny Werner describes how he allows musical ideas to wash over him like the sea. Dave Liebman compares the formal study of jazz to learning French in high school, improvising to going to France and speaking to the natives. Note that jazz women are represented brilliantly by thoughtful contributions by Joanne Brackeen, Judi Silvano, and Terri Lyn Carrington. Every one of the sixteen musicians here seem to have enough insights into improvisation that this could, and should, have been a three hundred page book. Meantime, ignore the price and believe that wisdom is hard to price.



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