Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by Mvotre, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    sorry if it's been asked before, but I searched and foud nothing.

    So I decided to learn jazz. Googling some books, always got this book as a reference. Found a "not so legal" version, and looked at it.

    Seens really nice! Lots of examples, and nothing extra hard for me theory wise.

    So, my plan is to buy the real book (I prefer the printed versions, and the scanned version sucks - by the way, it's a expensive book) and study EVERYTHING from that. Play each and every example, and so on.

    It is a good way to at least start at jazz, or someone can recomend a better book? With the Levine's one, I believe it's just a matter of buying the book and playing it for years and years. In the same time, I would just mess with some standards from a Real Book. :hbang:

    thanks in advance!
     
  2. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I'm not a jazzer, so take this post with a grain of salt.

    I suggest Bert Ligon's Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony, William Russo's Composing For The Jazz Orchestra, Rayburn Wright's Inside The Score, and William Leavitt's Melodic Rhythms For Guitar. Piracy sucks and I'm a hypocrite:
    mod edit: we don't tolerate piracy on this site

    I find that a lot of "jazz theory" materials make things too difficult for what is happening in the music. Part of it is that, yes, it's difficult. Part of it is a lack of consensus on terminology and analysis, paired with the conscious rejection of traditional approaches to harmony. Part of it is that it's a performance practice thing and that many of the structures described in "jazz theory" are more immediately described through shortcuts that aid the performers (like labeling D7 G7 as II7 V7 instead of V7/V V7). Part of it is an exclusive attitude (which I think is justified) that begets reinventing the wheel (which I don't think is the best idea). There is also a strong divide between the academic/institutionalized and practical worlds in jazz, as well as between the traditional and avant-garde. It's very interesting to look at, and I think it is extremely beneficial for anyone trying to learn the style to be literate in the history of jazz, as well as the music part. I would remind you that rhythm in jazz is more important than harmony in jazz. Certainly, the harmony is important, but the thing that makes jazz unique is that it is influenced by African rhythmic and improvisational practice. Learning to play a twelve-bar blues with the right rhythm is going to do more for you than learning an altered scale (though both have their application).
     
  3. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    well, after giving a quick read, I can say this book is really nice, and I will struggle with it for a long time.

    The explanations are crystal clear, and for every little bit of theory there, you got LOTS of examples. And not some things made for the book, but parts of real music. So you can analyse, and then hear to the original record (it always shows the album it came from) to hear how it works in context. Amazing.

    Will try to get a hold on the books you mentioned, but I got material to keep me busy for a long time :shred:
     
  4. noUser01

    noUser01 Still can't play.

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    It's my bible for most of my theoretical study, jazz or metal oriented.

    That being said, it was translated from English, to German, and then back again, so the new prints are translated twice, not the original English version. Kind of stupid. He also occasionally leaves you without bits of information, where you have to make assumptions and ask more informed people. Is it hard to follow sometimes? Yes. Is it still incredible? Definitely. I personally believe it's essential. It shouldn't be the only theory book you have, but I will say it's the only theory text I've found that I've said "every musician needs this book".
     
  5. varjao

    varjao Active Member

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    This book is recommended for students of what kind of level? I'm not a beginner but I'm not advanced as well, I've been playing for a long time but regarding to studying theory I'm always starting and stopping, I need a book to go through until the end, a nice book, those that makes you hungry to go to the next chapter.

    Right now I'm revisiting modes and reading music scores.

    I'm not into jazz right now, I need to dig a lot into rock and blues before thinking about fusion/jazz but I think Jazz books tend to be more rich, rock books are all the same.

    My biggest difficult has always been have a good visualization of the triads/tetrads over chords and scales not going into a shape sequence up and down. I know guitar is tough and we kind of get stuck into shapes. A teacher told me once playing the guitar it's like playing 6 flutes at the same time (or seven :metal: )
     
  6. JoeyW

    JoeyW SS.org Regular

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    Its the best book man, I'd suggest pairing it with John Mehegan's Jazz Improvisation series if you want to take it a step further. The first instalment (Tonal and Rhythmic Principals) is awesome
     
  7. PunchLine

    PunchLine SS.org Regular

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    I'd recommend checking out the Jazz Guitar website Jazz Guitar Online: Free Jazz Guitar Lessons, Tabs, Chords & Charts

    Lots of great free lessons in a well-organized website. They have great paid lessons as well. Free ones are good way to start.

    After that you may want to check out Jody Fisher's Complete Jazz Guitar Method from Alfred. They have 3 volumes, the Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced or you can get the complete set.

    Definitely, definitely check out anything and evetything from Don Mock. He is one of the best teachers! Later on I'd recommend you check out Mick Goodrick, Joe Diorio, and Jim Kelly.
     

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