Best jazz theory books?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by canteenboy, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    What are some of the most trusted? I'm looking to purchase one.
  2. scarekrow


    Jan 27, 2007
    I'm interested too.
  3. mytmous


    Mar 10, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  4. I'm liking Ed Friedland's Bass Improvisation. Concise, and a nice well recorded CD to help with the reading. Pan the bass off and you still get the piano and drums. Lots of jazz progressions.

    Tons of theory to work through.

    Gets quickly to the nuts and bolts of building phrases over/out of chords, forward motion and into harmony.

    Mine's overdue at the library and likely to rack up fines, cause I'll never be done. I'm looking to buy a copy. Seems cheap @ $20.
  5. jweiss


    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book".

    But if you give more information on exactly what you want to know/learn, maybe we could offer more advice. Levine's book is excellent as a jazz theory book but, for example, it's not gonna teach you how to play jazz.
  6. +1 For Mark Levines Book, you also got the ''Patterns for jazz for bass clef instruments'' wish will get you to understand the chords and help your improvisation.

    If you are not familiar with walking I suggest ed frieland building walking basslines,

    and listen to a lot of jazz records,
  7. GREAT book. I refer to it often. And +1, it's a 'theory' book more than a 'how to' book.

    There's another book from that series by Randy Halberstadt called 'Metaphors for the Musician' that is also great. It's an unusual take on theory, and kind of rambles through a lot of subjects. However, it is actually readable from cover to cover versus the more 'reference' orientation of the Levine book.

    Both are, IMO, must haves!
  8. I recently bought "Jazzology: The Jazz Encyclopedia For All Musicians" By Robert Rawlins and Nor Eddine Barhha.

    It's a thick red paperback, and I'm finding it excellent. It is a theory book like Levine's, only this includes a chapter on Jazz Piano Comping, and it has really propelled me forward with my piano playing.

    I recommend at least checking it out on Amazon, where you can peak inside.
  9. Thank for the tip on that. It looks like a great resource. I just ordered from Amazon.

    I find these books a good investment. If I just pick up one or two ideas or some additional knowledge that improves my playing just a smidge, they are worth every penny!
  10. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Anything by William L. Fowler, who died earlier this year - - survived by sons who have played with (among others) Frank Zappa and Dave Brubeck. He was notable for long-running theory/composition/education columns in Down Beat magazine and Keyboard magazine that packed a lot of knowledge into any column. He wrote in such a clear fashion, always providing great examples and a wonderful sense of humor that made it easier.
  11. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    Thanks for all the feedback, time to go buy one or two.
  12. Intenzity


    Oct 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    +1 for any of the Sher books (Jazz Theory and Metaphors for the Musician). Anything from Sher (or Mr. Friedland) is top notch.

    Highly recommended.
  13. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Yet another +1,

    Levine's book is very good and very comprehensive, but if you don't have much experience playing jazz you may have a hard time utilizing the information from that book in real situations.

    The Aebersold books are really good for teaching jazz too.
  14. No problem. I hope you gain something from it. ;)
  15. Take a look through Jazzology by Rawlins and Barhha. Every chapter ends with exercises. Besides the theory, I enjoyed the chapter on Practicing and a chapter on Traditional New Orleans Jazz.

    Jerry Coker's Improvising Jazz... every possible practical thing you need to know to actually play jazz and blues... in a compact book... I bought this book around 1969 and I still keep it in my case - for all musicians. As a bassist and guitarist, this is the book I would take if stranded on that island with my bass. The rest of my library stems from this book, as I went into more detail. It will guide you well, Jazz Player...
  16. 1dreday


    Nov 22, 2009
    Serious electric bass di bartolo
  17. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Inactive

    Nov 20, 2000
    Harrison Mills
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Jamie Ambersol.
  19. Mark Levine here too! An excellent, well rounded book, with all kinds of examples drawn from jazz recordings.
  20. Great thread, should be a sticky. Looking forward to getting Friedland's "Bass Improvisation" next week and starting in on it.