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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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September 23, 2010 | Pete Martin Jazz Chord Book

Upper west coast multi-instrumentalist and teacher Pete Martin has prepared a dynamic resource for any mandolinist wanting an in depth study of jazz chord voicings in his method book aptly titled, "Jazz Chording for Mandolin." Included are a full 202 pages loaded with not only the chord diagrams, but a historical evolution of their context in the last century, from the swing tunes of the 20's & 30's, Bebop developments of the 40's and 50's, and the modern "rootless" voicings crucial to playing jazz and pop from the late 50's and beyond.


You could cut to the chase and read the appendices at the end of the book for immediate voicings, scales, and theory basics, but the best way to embrace his material is to start from the beginning and work all the way through his real world examples of well known literature. His text is easy to understand and extremely practical.

A "historical" approach is an excellent way of understanding chord vocabulary. Jazzers didn't just jump into b9 chords or polytonality in the beginning of the 20th century. Not only does it help to see how they arrived at the modern voicings, it helps to play some of the oldest jazz tunes in their proper context, devoid of the contemporary alterations. Know where you've come from to know where you are going.

Also, breaking up the chords into 4- and 3-note categories is excellent for the 5- and 10-string musician, or anyone wanting to be able to utilize the entire fretboard for efficient chord movement. Of course, visualizing them in the context of an actual song is pure gold.

The material is not available in the traditional publishing channels, only online through his website, and through an "honors system" download. You load it on your computer, look it over, and pay the author if you like it and will use it. We pretty much guarantee you WILL use it. Just the chords themselves are worth the $10, and the history exponentially more. In the days of prolific e-reader opportunity, this format makes even more sense than when it was first published in 2008. We have it loaded on our iBook reader on an iPad; great to study on a plane or waiting in the doctor's office.

Put this in your e-library or print it out at Fed-ex Kinkos, and send the man your money!

Website: Petimar Press
Download: pdf_sm.gif Jazz Chording for Mandolin

When is a #9 NOT a #9?
Mobility--chord transit
The Seven Chord Naming Rules
I got rhythm. Who could ask for anything more?

Posted by Ted at September 23, 2010 9:51 AM

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