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Melodic Structures Paperback – 1992

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Advance Music (1992)
  • ASIN: B000FSVJEI
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Bergonzi is a brilliantly systematic jazz educator. He is able to break down musical concepts into easily-digestible, simply formats that a musician can explore endlessly and adapt to his personal style.
In this first installment, Bergonzi gives a series of methods for constructing melodies based on groupings of 4-notes. The most basic material is at the beginning and the material gradually progresses into more "outside" areas and finally concludes with an overview of how you can endlessly apply the information. While the exercises are somewhat mechanical, this material truly can be used to construct beautiful, melodic lines over any chord progression.
My problem with this book (and with the other parts of the series that I own) is that it is simply full of useless paper. Most of the books are, in fact, filled simply with transposed chord progressions for different tunes. I actually condensed all of the information in this book onto one page. But unfortunately you cannot sell books with one page of information.
So, if you can get this book from the library or from a friend I highly recommend you do so. But if not, I do recommend getting the book as this is essential information for modern jazz musicians.
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I have purchased about 2 feet of jazz improv books over the past 7 years. For me around page 4 or 5 the author's ususally take a leap that looses me in the dust. I'm not completely stupid-have and engineering degree and an MBA. Jerry is a great musician but an even better educator. This first book in a series of (I think) 10 will get you going in a good direction. In the first chapter he shows you four 4 note patterns for major and 7th chords and another four 4 note patterns for minor chords. These patterns actually sound pretty good and although at this point you are playing mechanically it has a very pleasing sound.

You get two songs to work on (about 15-20 in book #1) and each song has a backing track at a slow and medium fast tempo. The cool thing is that the excercises on Lady Duck and How Low the Sun and all the other songs in the book are jazz standards. So while you practice you are also learning changes to songs that you know and love.

In the next few chapters he has you interchanging the patterns so that what you are playing is less mechanical sounding. Next he asks you to start changing rhythms but continuing to play around the patterns he has showed you.

This takes some work but he gives you a plan for progress and as you move through the book you will hear your self improving. For me this is the first time in a few years that I feel I have a chance to become a good improviser.

PS: this is the first product review that I have ever done in my life.
Cheers,
Bob
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I've been playing over 30 years and have looked over hundred and hundreds of method books. The way Mr. Bergonzi breaks things down into smaller fragments allows one to Immediately have more melodic control and exactness in one's phrases. It's like the difference between sliding around on an ice patch versus hitting dry road and having full traction. This is THE best method book I have ever read, and the only one that is truly making a positive difference. You will become way more creative by first subjecting your approach to this discipline.
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I have the whole series of Bergonzi's books and have found interesting things in each of them that I can work on in my practicing and playing. I especially recommend Volume 5 "Melodic Rhythms" if you're looking for just one of them to purchase, but they're all great. Fantastic playalong cd's as well
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improvising may seem elusive but the key to improvising is imitating from the master to really get the jazz but really getting your own voice is just a few books away. Get the Jerry Bergonzi series and with a bit of knowledge of keyboard harmony(Phil De Greg)you will become "you." His books are the best. With some quality time spend in practice your ears will become like Stevie Wonder, you will gain commmand of your instrument and begin you play what you really want to player. More of all the explain is just easy to understand.
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