Andrew Green Jazz Guitar Technique: Breaking the Skill Barrier
Jazz Guitar Structures: Boosting Your Solo Power Mel Bay Publications
Starting off with Jazz Guitar Technique is a great way for jazz players to learn the basics of improvisational guitar. Though several books claim they can help the struggling guitarist few if any have the incredible foundation structures found in this book.
The book begins easily enough with learning the notes of the neck to help students learn what they are playing before teaching easy exercises for picking and strengthening your picking hand. Once mastered, the book moves on to cross string studies that build from one to four strings easing in phrasing and patterns before launching into triads. Then onto chapters devoted to complex rhythms, advanced studies, phrasing, grabbing chords, etc.
What is great about this book is that even a novice player can learn to develop a great technique that will teach them the building blocks of being a well-versed player regardless of their chosen jazz style. Green's layout and easy to use runs makes this book an essential to all those who want to do improv and build a sturdy knowledge of how to slap in chops when jamming.
Jazz Guitar Structures on the other hand is a more complex book for players who have a good working knowledge of music theory and guitar technique. Green works on the structures of music and how it relates to jazz guitar. Here the player learns how to work over chord patterns familiar or not.
Since structure is the backbone for all musicians. Green works from set basic melodic structures and works to honing soloing through the abstract harmony structures and how it all comes together within the ideology of free styles. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. The player is taken through extremely complex ideas starting with basic minor 7 arpeggios and working to minor tetrachords (with altered dominant chords as well) through to non-functional tunes and then onto modal and free tunes. What is ideal about this book is how it can build your working knowledge of soloing, but also builds a visual and conceptual idea of what you are playing. Once this book is mastered, any player coming away from this book should have the essentials needed to provide solid free playing. This book also comes with a fine cd to hear some of the work shown in the book.
Both books are well written and contain an amazing supply of information. Students looking for tablature should pass. These books are all about skill, not repeating the work of legendary musicians. Without a doubt these are required reading for any student of jazz guitar.