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Little Leaps and Sounds: 12 Intermediate Jazz Studies

Dan Bilawsky By

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Little Leaps and Sounds: 12 Intermediate Jazz Studies
Adam Larson
61 Pages
Self Published
2021

When enterprising tenor saxophonist Adam Larson released Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes For Jazz Saxophone (Self-Published, 2018), there wasn't anything quite like it in the educational market. Using contrafacts to push technique in surprising yet targeted directions, the book provided a serious workout likely to make even the most seasoned saxophonists sweat just a little bit. The response to that finger-flexing, mind-bending collection of etudes was strong from the get-go, prompting Larson to continue along that path and create two additional volumes in what has since become a very successful series. In the intervening years he's grown into a one-man publishing house, delivering a handful of other books that focus on essential areas—rhythm changes, the blues, easy-to-digest jazz vocabulary, even the art of music business—but he never left that initial idea behind. Now, having found a way to expand on the concept and contract in terms of difficulty, Larson circles back around with Little Leaps and Sounds.

Aiming at an intermediate audience while still leaning toward some advanced ideas, Larson delivers this new set of etudes written over chord progressions endemic to favored jazz standards (i.e. "All the Things You Are," "Blue Bossa," "Giant Steps," "Night and Day," etc.). Working to address a broad range of concepts, he offers a world of opportunities for growth. Diatonic developments, pure chromaticism, modes of the melodic minor, ii-V-I changes, movement in fourths and so many other ideas are packaged in various styles—Latin, medium-swing, second line—with great intelligence and care. Each piece is accompanied by a detailed written analysis that gets inside the music and the mind of the composer. And a collection of play-a-long tracks, both with and without the soloist, allows students to step inside as they grow into each etude.

Chock-full of information and helpful tools, including some bonus materials that point toward Larson's other books, Little Leaps and Sounds hits a bulls-eye with its aim and intent. And with multiple editions (Concert, Bb, Eb, Guitar Tab, Bass Clef) covering the whole map, it's out there for anybody and everybody who needs it. Now we just need a Baby Leaps and Sounds to tie things up.

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