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The Over The Counter Gigger's Bible...
on October 6, 2000
Prior to the publication of this book, serious Jazz professionals and students had to hunt down copies of the elusive "REAL BOOK", that improvisor's bible found only UNDER the counter at CERTAIN music shops (which you'd ultimately get pointed out to through your local musician's grapevine. ) At times hard to read, prone to fall apart and vanish off the bandstand and not always 100% accurate, it was definitely the book you needed to make it through gigs if you weren't a walking encyclopaedia of tunes.
Finally, along has come this book. It's legal, the print is easier to read, the pages are easier to turn, and it has some cute pictures and even hipper tunes... but is it better ?
Yes and no. The one problem I have with it is that *for me* on the bandstand, simple is best. If someone calls a tune you've never heard before, you want to be able to turn to it, glance at the changes and hang with them. This book, in contrast, sometimes throws in extra bells and whistles delightful perhaps to a student and certain musicians, but a nuisance if you just want to see a skeleton of the basics so you can hang with the changes. My philosophy is : just give me the basic chords and melody... and its my job as an improvisor to throw in the rest. On the other hand, most fake books (arrangement wise) really leave you on your own.
The plus side of this book... it definitely has hipper changes and a hipper selection of tunes than the alternative (if that's what you're looking for and that's your taste), has introductions, endings, material more relevent for ensemble practise that you wouldn't find in the alternative and, for example if there's a particular vamp or line that defines the tune, the piano, bass and horn part might actually be written out even the drum part at times.
So is this book for you ? If you're looking for a fake book that's willing to "help you out" and you don't find that a distractor, definitely, yes ! If you're a student and don't know a lot of tunes, definitely, yes ! It has a great selection of tunes that will help you expand your song repoitoire, and also that's nice and cleanly written. A book such as this is a great investment... its not something you get and hide away under the bench... its something that you'll probably pack alongside your instrument everytime you go to a gig because people WILL be calling tunes from it.