Newest Review: ... E Major for a start which is a grade 5 key (ABRSM). The timing and 'feel' is really difficult, throw in a few accidentals and different ... more
Member Name: paulhanton
Guest Spot for Alto Saxophone: Jazz Solos (Guest Spot)
Advantages: Great compositions.
Disadvantages: Bit hard.
Playalong for Alto Saxophone
The 'Playalong' series by Wise Music is similar to the 'Take the Lead' series by Faber music, only a little more 'professional in layout and design. For instance we get a full fingering chart on the first couple of pages.
The pieces in this book are for intermediate players according to musicroom.com (see their table below). They are usually pretty spot on, though for once I would say they have underrated the skills needed for playing these numbers.
1 Beginner (Complete beginner, no previous musical knowledge)
2 Easy (Simplified arrangements; Grade 1-3)
3 Intermediate (Slightly simplified arrangements; Grade 4-6)
4 Intermediate / Advanced (Accurate transcriptions of most rock/pop titles; Grade 6-8)
5 Advanced (Accurate transcriptions of more complex pieces; Grade 8+)
I have put the artists titles next to the songs as these are the versions that these artists played.
All Blues [Davis, Miles]
There is no way this is below a grade 6, and a good grade 6 at that.
E Major for a start which is a grade 5 key (ABRSM). The timing and 'feel' is really difficult, throw in a few accidentals and different solo options and this is quite hard.
All The Things You Are [Mulligan, Gerry]
F major, not a hard key. The Beats Per Minute (speed) of 180 makes this difficult to get right from the very start.
Where there are runs of quavers, Ill give an example, it can get beyond Grade 6. In bars 59-61 we have (all quavers) D sharp, E, F sharp, E, D sharp, E, G sharp, B natural, C Sharp, B, C Sharp, tied B, A, G Sharp, G Sharp, F sharp, B natural (crotchet).
This may not mean a lot to folks until they see it, but believe me, that aint easy to play. I am playing a grade 7 piece at a Christmas concert that is easier than that.
Corcovado (Quiet Night Of Quiet Stars) [Getz, Stan]
More difficulty, not in terms of key as such, but timing and small, quick runs.
In Walked Bud [Thelonious Monk]
178 BPM or medium fast swing bop, F Major. Takes some practice and again is a good Grade 6 piece but doable, not my favourite track I have to say.
In A Sentimental Mood [John Coltrane version]
This is the piece I am playing at Christmas so I know it is a grade 7 piece. And I am playing it in a different set of key signatures, G Sharp and E Flat Major. The piece in this book is B flat major and E flat minor which is Grade 7 (ABRSM Scales and Arpeggios for saxophone, Ian Denley).
The timing goes from Ballad, 70 Bpm, to the solo which is Double-time swung all semi quavers, ouch!!
Lullaby Of Birdland [Shearing, George]
This is more like it, great song and playable at Grade 5-6 (with practice). The phrasing is quite difficult but good to learn.
My Favourite Things [Coltrane, John]
Such a hard version again, but doable for a grade 6 piece I am assured by my teacher, I havn't got it yet.
Oleo [Rollins, Sonny]
Probably the easiest piece in the book. G Major, 100 BPM. Some very, very high notes (High E) which can make it tricky, but doable.
The Sidewinder [Morgan, Lee]
Not tried this yet so cannot comment.
The Way You Look Tonight [Mcgriff, Jimmy]
A very fast version of this song at 184 BPM in D Major. Actually not that hard to play, grade 5 or 6, nice to slow it down a little though.
As with similar books in this genre, the CD has backing tracks and full vesrions. Again, this is where the professionalism of this book shines through as the full versions are actually very good and I have been very happy to put them on iTunes as part of playlists. They do not sound like 'teaching' versions.
The idea behind this book is that it gets competent players to start improvising. It achieves this by leaving solo breaks in the middle of compositions which is good. But it is a hard book that is not for the feint hearted beginner.
I am going to give it 5 stars as it is a really, really good book, and it does not set itself at intermediate, that is the folly of Musicroom.com.
For £9.95 the compositions, the CDs and the sheet music, it really is good value for money.....do not buy if you are not at least Grade 6.
Summary: Jazz Solos.
More reviews in the field of Non-Fiction Book
- AS Level Maths OCR MEI Complete Revision & Practice - Richard Parsons
- AS Level Geography Edexcel Complete Revision & Practice - Richard Parsons
- A2-Level English Language AQA B Complete Revision & Practice - Richard Parsons
- A2 Level Geography AQA Complete Revision & Practice - Richard Parsons
- Life, Interrupted - James McConnel
- Michael Jackson - King of Pop: 1958 - 2009 - Emily Herbert
- Morrissey in His Own Words - John Robertson
- Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe - Terence Dickinson