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Aebersold worth it?


Allister

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i've recently discovered the whole collection of Aebersold books in my university library, just wondering which of the books to work through and in what order. i had originally thought of starting from one and working my way through and trying to really internalize most of the information presented. but i thought it would be wise to ask the pro's before i start :)

 

overall just trying to improve my chops as i am working on Bach with my piano teacher at the moment to improve fingering in jazz.

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I'm not sure how good the Aebersold stuff is for pianists. When I played sax I used them a bit but for piano I like to just play with a metronome a whole lot better since I can lay down the chords with my left hand and you aren't locked into a 3 minute track or whatever and you can play what ever chord progressions you want.

 

Most of the Aebersold's aren't really instructive, they usually have a chart for the chord/scale b.s. and that's it. There are a handful of instructive ones, and that's what I would start with. Volume 1 is like an old D&D manual and gives you the Aebersold approach to improv, gives you licks to play with the play alongs, etc. The next one probably to get would be No. 21 Getting it Together, and then the ii-V-I play along which is No. 16 I think. He has a couple of more instructive play alongs like Major and Minor, Turnarounds and maybe some Dominant 7 stuff.

 

I remember using Getting it Together and the ii-V-I play alongs a whole lot not using the Aebersold licks but playing stuff from the Patterns for Jazz book and licks that I liked and transcribed off of records. The first tune play along to get would be Maiden Voyage, no. 51 I think. The songs and tempos are easy.

 

Now that I am playing piano I find it too much of a hassle to set everything up so I basically do the same sorts of exercises, licks etc. with just a metronome. The Aebersolds were really fun to play my sax to. It made exercises feel like play.

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If you're just starting to improvise, the order I was instructed to use was Nothin' But the Blues and ii-V-I first, then Maiden Voyage.

 

If you didn't have them in a library and were going to buy Aebersolds at $15-20 each just to use them as play-along tools, look at a Real Book and iRealB for iPad. It's $5 for the app and the extra rhythm sets are $5. The tunes are free and you'll have a library of 1500+ in no time.

 

Before iRealB, I bought all the Hal Leonard Real Book play along CDs when Aebersold had a 50% off sale. You can find them for under $20 each.

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I came up in the day when we had the Aebersold stuff on vinyl. You had to have a variable speed turntable because "in tune" was a relative phrase.

 

"Are they worth it?" Yes. Not only for the play-along aspect (as others have mentioned, iRealB for iPhone/iPad/Android works great too), but because Jamey had some swinging players on those recordings and it's great to hear their comping. Jamey is a sax player, but he's not bad at comping (piano) and he played on some of the recordings. Much better groove than anything Band-in-A-Box or iRealB can crank out.

 

Most of Jamey's stuff is on iTunes now, so if MP3 is your thing, go that route.

 

Definitely the ii-V-I series, and the Maiden Voyage album is also good. I think the "Standards" album was a double, and had many of the more popular Jazz Standards.

 

Any "how to play" series is only as good as the amount of effort you're willing to put into it. And the only way to learn how to improvise is to A) Listen to good players, B) Study your theory, and C) Practice your ass off. (see also "Woodshedding").

 

**EDIT: I should say that there is an alternative to A, B, and C above: A) Listen to good players, and B) Be supremely naturally talented, but you still have to C) Practice your ass off. ***

Muzikteechur is Lonnie, in Kittery, Maine.

 

HS music teacher: Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Chorus, Music Theory, AP Music Theory, History of Rock, Musical Theatre, Piano, Guitar, Drama.

 

 

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Jamey is a sax player, but he's not bad at comping (piano) and he played on some of the recordings.

 

He's actually a damn good comper. And the volumes they have of transcribed comping are INVALUABLE tools for learning how to comp.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

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I strongly recommend anybody work with the ones with Tyrone Wheeler on bass, hes the one bass player that lays it down with great harmonic clarity, in tune, and doesn't rush:

 

START WITH these two, they have the easy basic songs you need to know:

 

Volume 54 Maiden Voyage

Volume 70 Killer Joe

 

The Aebersold play-alongs are excellent for getting your time together. But as I said, to avoid the frustration of rushing and out of tune bass players, select the volumes with Tyrone Wheeler on bass.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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Jamey is a sax player, but he's not bad at comping (piano) and he played on some of the recordings.

 

He's actually a damn good comper. And the volumes they have of transcribed comping are INVALUABLE tools for learning how to comp.

 

Any idea which ones have transcribed comping?

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The aforementioned Maiden Voyage book has a companion volume on piano voicings:

http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JAJAZZ&Product_Code=MVP#.UUd8SVvSNF8

 

Just search the Aebersold site for the other volumes mentioned, click on them, and if they have a piano voicing/comping companion volume, it will be listed on the right.

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Volume 50, the Miles Davis play along, has Mark Levine on piano and there is a transcribed comping volume for it. It's very good:

 

Mark Levine's Comping on Vol 50

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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I came up in the day when we had the Aebersold stuff on vinyl. You had to have a variable speed turntable because "in tune" was a relative phrase.

 

"Are they worth it?" Yes. Not only for the play-along aspect (as others have mentioned, iRealB for iPhone/iPad/Android works great too), but because Jamey had some swinging players on those recordings and it's great to hear their comping. Jamey is a sax player, but he's not bad at comping (piano) and he played on some of the recordings. Much better groove than anything Band-in-A-Box or iRealB can crank out.

 

 

What he said.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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  • 1 month later...

Just got an email ad from Sheet Music Plus saying all playalongs (including Aebersold) are on sale. In addition, 3 of the Aebersold piano voicings books featuring Mark Levine are also on sale - the salsa, the Miles Davis, and the Freddie Hubbard:

 

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/search?q=mark+levine

 

I'm probably going to order the Freddie Hubbard playalong (it includes Red Clay) and the Freddie Hubbard piano voicings book.

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FYI I think they do Red Clay in the shitty key of C#m. Everyone plays it in Cm though. Double check of course before buying. And it'd still be great to have naturally, maybe even better since it's in an exotic key.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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FYI I think they do Red Clay in the shitty key of C#m. Everyone plays it in Cm though. Double check of course before buying. And it'd still be great to have naturally, maybe even better since it's in an exotic key.

 

I'd be fine with that, since it's either Mark Levine or Dan Haerle on piano.

 

Also, just realized the piano voicings book for Volume 60 is not sale for 20% off (Volume 60 itself is) but it's only $9.

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