Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes For Jazz Saxophone
by Adam Larson
The educational market is saturated with printed materials that regurgitate the same concepts with slight-to-little-to-no variation, playingor preying, perhapson everything from foundational needs to grasps at virtuosity. Truly novel concepts are, sadly, few and far between, but sometimes a book comes along that finds new angles and conceptual footholds. Enter Adam Larson
's Leaps & Sounds
. Larson, a fast-rising saxophone star and a serious go-getter in a number facets of the jazz world, put together a series of contrafact etudes that deal in large intervallic leaps. To go a few steps beyond that, he also places known progressions in atypical keys, includes curveball enharmonic spellings, and even works in chord substitutions to keep these familiar frameworks interesting. Put all of that together and you have some serious
musical meat to chew on.
The material in this book provides challenges on all frontsthis is essentially for advanced playersand Larson is clear about that in his presentation. Whether using the bones of "Take The 'A' Train" to largely focus on what a single octave offers, rocketing all over the horn atop the harmony of "Cherokee," striding up and down in triplets over a pavement made of "On Green Dolphin Street," or taking a waltz-time "All The Things You Are" variant to task, he offers material that flexes muscles both mental and finger-found. And embouchure and air support, of course, are also put to the test throughout.
Larson, ever the savvy self-promoter, has done a fine job unveiling his book. He offers challenges and promotions through social media, inviting players to post videos of themselves playing an etude, and some of his pro peerssaxophonists Roxy Coss
and Alex LoRe
, trumpeter John Raymond
, trombonist Jimmy O'Connell
have taken to the same outlets to show themselves giving the music a spin. These marketing movesgimmicky though they may seenare actually in support of something real. Working through even a single one of these pieces will give players plenty to deal with and build from. Larson clearly hit on something that fills a need, and he's not done yet. Did I mention that volume two is on the way in January of 2019?