Andrew D. Gordon
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The Bluesier Side of Jazz by Andrew D. Gordon was inspired by the piano students he teaches at Shepherd University School of Music in Los Angeles and is dedicated to those students: Jungwon, Yumiko, Yoko, Eunice, Sooji, Hae Ji and Ok Kyu. As with many students that come from a classical background (including himself) it is a difficult transition to learn to play Blues & Jazz. When a musician improvises they usually play a variety of riffs or phrases that they have developed and learnt over a period of time and can access these phrases instantaneously whatever key they are playing in to create a seamless improvised solo from the phrases they have learnt. Andrew's idea for this book is to create phrases or riffs over two measures of various Blues progressions. He sub-divided each of the 12 Bar Blues progressions used in this book (the chord progression for Watermelon Man is a 16 measure progression) into six sections (two measures each) and within each of the six sections created four different phrases or riffs so that the student has a choice of four different phrases to play over every two measures. They can then create a solo based on which phrase they choose for each two measures. By breaking down these phrases to two measures each, he has found that the students have an easier time of learning to improvise than by trying to transcribe a whole solo from an audio recording or leaving them to their own devices in trying to play a solo based on the Blues scale or other related scales. Each of the ten examples are based on common Jazz/Blues chord progressions from Jazz songs such as Watermelon Man, Blue Monk, Tenor Madness, Route 66, Blue Trane, Bag's Groove, starting off with basic I-IV-V chords and increasing in complexity throughout the book. There are over 200 phrases/riffs to choose from that can be learned and applied to many types of jazz songs.