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Video Review: Jazz Phrasing Part 5: “Quoting” Bebop Heads and Standard Tunes (For All Instruments)

by Az Samad

I’m a fan of Steve Herberman’s instructional videos. The niche topics he covers are often a gateway into deeper explorations. In this 5th installment of his Jazz Phrasing video series, he explores the use of quotes for single note soloing over standard jazz repertoire. Just like Steve’s other videos, this one comes with a PDF with musical examples in both standard notation and tablature. It’s great to see the examples notated as Steve goes through a lot of ideas and concepts in this 45-minute video.

In the first half of the video, Steve goes through different examples of strong melodies to him including Hi Fly by Randy Weston,  Like Sonny – John Coltrane, Hot House – Tadd Dameron and Ceora – Lee Morgan. Steve also shares some anecdotal stories of Bill Evans and Sonny Rollins. So much of jazz is intertwined with the history of the musicians so it’s nice to hear Steve talk about the musicians and not just the material separately. This I feel makes this video stronger as Steve brings in his own experiences as well as his take of how famous musicians have used quoting in solos.

The examples that Steve plays on Out of Nowhere are very helpful to demonstrate how far quoting can be used. It’s also quite fun to hear Steve quote Star Trek, develop it and disguise the melody via melodic variation techniques. Personally, I really enjoyed hearing humor in music! Steve’s inclusion of a wide variety of melodies, including unexpected ones like the Star Trek quote (while explaining the theoretical concepts behind each idea), makes for an enjoyable experience for a student rather than watching a video or reading a book that explains jazz concepts in a ‘dry manner’.

After going through multiple examples exploring the concepts, Steve concludes the video with a quote-dense solo over Rhythm Changes. Beautifully composed, connected and played, this to me was a real highlight of the whole video. I’m definitely planning to dig into this part many times to get the most out of this!

See Steve Herberman’s class on Jazz Phrasing here.

Pros: Lot of great ideas, clear notated examples with tablature.
Cons: None
TLDR: If you’ve purchased the previous videos in this series, this one is definitely one worth getting. Steve’s passion and personality shines in the presentation and his love for the music makes it a great learning experience. If you haven’t gotten any of the other ones, this is a still a great standalone video that will introduce some cool ideas for using melodic quotes.

August 1, 2018

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