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Pentatonicism in Jazz: Creative Aspects and Practice Plastic Comb – May 2, 2006
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About the Author
Masaya Yamaguchi is not only a musician but also a conceptualist who established his own system to explore the imaginative formation of musical scales by The Complete Thesaurus of Musical Scales, which is a meta-contribution to music pedagogy of a high standard. Jazz Education Journal wrote, "Its worth mentioning that this book comprehensively covers all theoretical possibilities in constructing scales July-August 2002." The concept is revealed in many of his writings and compositions. Because of the reference value of his outstanding achievements, Marquis Whos Who has selected his biographical profile for inclusion in Whos Who in America, Whos Who in the World and Who's Who of Emerging Leaders.
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When re-examining transcripts of jazz greats, I can now identify and recognize their use of pentatonism in their solos.
The author modestly brags that in comparison to Slonimsky's listing of 40 or 46 pentatonic scales, he has come up with 66 scales. However, upon sitting down at the piano with the book, I found some of the scales musically unusable. Theory is one thing; happy ears another.
At times the author uses a hard-to-decipher notation scheme, and touts the use of "vectors," which seem to be the number of times a particular interval is used in a scale. This is kind of interesting intellectually, but in the heat of improvisation on a club stage, who wants to be trying to calculate vectors?
That being said, there is a nice summary of scales other than pentatonic towards the back of the book, along with chordal suggestions. This is actually helpful.
P.S. I found A&M's "Mel Lewis and Friends" CD mentioned in this book at Amazon.com. Michael Brecker's pentatonic improvisation on Charlie Parker's Moose the Mooche is amazing! You must listen to all the reference recordings of the jazz masters discussed in Chapter II (p.11) of this book.
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The same is true with music education.Read more