Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes for Jazz Saxophone

Dan Bilawsky By

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Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes For Jazz Saxophone
by Adam Larson
17 Pages
ISBN: #978-1724613059
Self Published

The educational market is saturated with printed materials that regurgitate the same concepts with slight-to-little-to-no variation, playing—or preying, perhaps—on 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 fronts—this is essentially for advanced players—and 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 peers—saxophonists 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 moves—gimmicky though they may seen—are 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?

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