Alfred Music Publications Don Mock’s Jazz Guitar Masterclass/ The Jazz Guitar Experience

Don Mock’s Masterclass has just been reprinted, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to reappraise what had always been one of the better ‘how to’ guides. As the title suggests, this is not a guide for the novice, rather a series of lessons and examples, with tabs and the back up of the now mandatory CD for those who know their way around their instrument and have a good grounding in music theory.

It is a well thought through volume that guides and informs the player, giving them the keys to unlock certain areas and encouraging them to develop as a creative musician. Working from octave shapes and arpeggios, it takes on the challenging ‘turnarounds’ – they are for me anyway! and gives an enlightening insight into gaining a better understanding of melody construction and the use of chromatic passing tones. Highly recommended.

The Jazz Guitar Experience is for those players who are looking to get a feel for jazz guitar artistry over the decades, from the 1920s to the 1980s. Each chapter gives a short history of the genre and its major exponents, before offering a number of melodies and exercises (with tab), as well as a series of chords relevant to the featured style. On occasions specific musical elements are introduced that are relevant to the style, such as the Post Bop quartal harmony and ornaments. Somewhat surprisingly, one whole chapter is given over to Django and Gypsy Jazz – you get the feeling that the author is a fan. Otherwise there is plenty to get your head into and keep your fingers busy, together with a suggested discography and a basic notation guide... and the obligatory CD.

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