Video Review: Playing Changes in One Octave By Randy Johnston

Review by Az Samad

Class: Playing Changes in One Octave

I personally get excited whenever there’s a new video from Randy Johnston. It’s mainly because I know how good the material usually is and the fact that I’ve learned new things in every video I’ve watched so far from Randy. This master class is equally amazing! It’s very deceptive how much knowledge can be delivered in 27 minutes. By all accounts Randy has made a brilliant video here.

The topic is improvising over changes within an octave. This seems easy enough and you might even ask, “Why do I need a video for this?” Well, it’s how Randy explains the principles behind the process that make this a wonderful video. He explains the origins of how he learned this approach when he was a student. He shares how this can help us get out from the typical “outlining changes with arpeggios” approach.

Randy’s demonstrations of the concept over a II-V-I in C Major and over Stella By Starlight are invaluable. There are 4 choruses of examples that show how Randy applies the concept in different registers. As I went through the video, I stopped it numerous times to try out the concept on tunes that I was familiar with, including Stella By Starlight as well. I was pleasantly surprised how much the lesson allowed me to create stronger melodies.

Personally, my favorite part of the whole video is the very fact that it delivers the ideas without any filler material. I was able to apply the concept and review sections quickly. Along with Randy’s Simplifying Jazz Guitar master class, I think these two videos will be ones that I will be revisiting often. Strongly recommended!

Pros: An amazing lesson with great explanation, lots of examples and clear benefits to help develop your single note improvisational skills.
Cons: None.
TLDR: For any improviser at any level, this is an essential master class to help you get out from running arpeggios and licks and begin improvising stronger lines.

Class: Playing Changes in One Octave

December 11, 2018

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