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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Book Reviews

The European Real Book

By Published: March 3, 2006
The first song under his name, "Revel Without A Pause," reveals another organizational weakness. The drummer is simply told to play an up-tempo 5/4 high hat swing throughout, which is pretty much all one hears on the streaming MP3 aside from a brief solo near the end. But it turns out the end of the book contains a "drum appendix" for a handful of songs with complex rhythms, including this one but this isn't noted on the lead sheet of the song and the index only cryptically mentions a "sample drum parts" section at the end of the listing.

These aren't major hitches and any reasonably intelligent person will eventually figure things out, but it's an unnecessary part of the learning curve. To its credit, most of the supplemental aspects of the are well presented, including an opening two-page spread covering music basics and nearly 80 chord variations.

Obviously The European Real Book isn't likely to be anyone's ideal first fakebook, but it may be the best second choice for many jazz players not seeking a specific collection such as Latin or Broadway tunes. A collection of modern U.S. compositions is still sorely lacking, but this fills much of that gap in terms of presenting current styles and thinking, while offering additional insight thanks to the musical accents of artists in a range of countries.

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