"Jim, can you tell me about your new series of Jazz books?"
With age, things become clearer. I have managed to learn to speak Jazz.
At a recording session, my good friend and mentor John LaPorta was asked, "What is different about your playing after seventy years in Jazz?" "I'm finally starting to play what I hear," was John's answer.
I decided it was time to put some of the Jazz bass language into a book. By the time I had settled on the title for the book and written the first twelve measures, I could feel that it was going to take more than a single book to illustrate what I was wanting to communicate. I also had decided I would not let my ideas of presentation be hindered by contemporary pedagogical practices. Simply, my goal was to write down the "cool" stuff I have played and loved all my life. I am a simple minded bass player. I find a sound I like and tend to stick with it. In this book series the format is the same for all books; Blues, Rhythm Changes, Standards, and transcriptions sprinkled in.
I have never written a bass book just for the purpose of sharing information. I try to design my books to be effective practice vehicles for the purpose of internalizing the musical content. With that goal in mind, exhaustive research (trial and error) was given to the audio tracks that accompany the books. The downloadable audio files are examples to emulate and at the same time they are solid play-along tracks to work with.
I really do consider the play-along tracks just as important as the notation in the books. I have a few students that learn to play the examples in the book by ear, listening to the audio examples. When I was a youngster we had very few books, and we learned everything by ear.
I learned to play Jazz by copying the great Jazz Bassists. My three main influences were Ray Brown, Ron Carter, and Paul Chambers so their musical fingerprints are all over these books.
The new books have quickly become quite popular, and students are singing their praise. I receive tons of emails with positive stories about students working with these tools.
It's been a couple of months since the sixth book was finished, and I feel some more coming on! Ha... I am now deep into Jazz Bass Transcriptions.