Jazz Links

Yeah right… who the hell has a links page anymore? I do.

Paul Abrahams’ Online Jazz Piano Course – lessons, videos, practice tracks and charts that will take you from 0-60 | A Jazz Improvisation Primer by Marc Sabatella – thorough and informative, even though the online version doesn’t contain scored examples |  A Reference for Jazz Theory by Michael Morangelli | Rick Beato’s YouTube channel – comprehensive and clear stuff on all aspects of music |  The Cannonball Adderley Rendezvous – interviews and articles |  Charles McNeal’s page – cycle patterns and exercises |  Dave Frank’s School of Jazz – hours of free lessons and clinics from one of NYC’s finest and a former pupil of Tristano | | Hal Galper’s page – articles and observations from the author of Forward Motion | Jazz Arranging Online – Chuck Israels’ course, including examples using Garritan Jazz & Big Band. Free to lurkers | Doug Mackenzie’s page – lots of excellent video piano lessons with scrolling scores and annotations. Jazz as she is actually spoken… Also available on YouTube (Doug’s nom de tube is jazz2511) | Aimee Nolte’s YouTube channel – ton of stuff here, and engagingly presented, sometimes at the keyboard, sometimes on a skateboard… v California… | How Jazz Musicians Practise by Ted Rosenthal – it would be unkind to ask whether they do… | Howard Rees Jazz Workshop – articles on Barry Harris’s method and more | Jazz Piano Chords and Scales – handy visual keyboard display of voicings and scales in all keys |  JazzPianoOnline.com – Boston-based Bill Rinehart’s site is packed with clearly explained video lessons (with practice materials) and can take you all the way from basic harmony up to extended voicings and reharmonisation techniques. Particularly useful are his phrase-by-phrase breakdowns of transcribed solo choruses. Some free content, but the subscription is well worth it. Highly recommended | Learn Jazz Piano – Scot Ranney’s popular online community | Marius Nordal’s page – see also his great videos at radiokid2 on YouTube | Musical Thoughts – useful principles on playing idiomatic bebop |  Paul Busby’s Scored Changes – tutorials, tips and arrangements  |  Pete Thomas’ page – comprehensive online presentation of material used for teaching at Southampton University. Site also links to a lot of useful content on production music |  Rimsky-Korsakov’s Principles of Orchestration Online – a classic text, illustrated with Garritan Personal Orchestra. Free to lurkers | Songs for Interval RecognitionThe Jazz Piano Study Letter (Darius Brotzman’s discontinued newsletter) – free articles available |  Tim Richards’ page – a couple of free articles from leading London jazz educator, author of the Improvising Blues Piano and Exploring Jazz Piano books |  Robin Frederick’s page – excellent article on the craft of popular songwriting. Robin also has books for sale | Justin Rubin’s resources on classical composition and orchestration – informative examples of everything from simple binary compositional forms right through to contemporary principles such as aleatoric and process practices |  100 Greatest Jazz Albums (Ken Watkins) – intelligently written reviews and analysis of classic recordings. A good place to look if you’re building a collection from scratch


“All the resources listed below are free to download, but before you charge off on a downloading binge, a word of caution. IMHO, transcriptions are of limited use unless you have access to the recording. While it may be possible to extract general principles from a score you haven’t heard, most often a transcription just won’t make much sense to you unless you’ve heard the recording.” JL

Charles McNeal’s page – tons of horn solos, bop to modern. This guy needs to get out more, but I’m glad he doesn’t… |  EJMA page – ramshackle but packed French site linking to hundreds of transcriptions (all instruments and styles) |  IMSLP Petrucci Library – an awful lot of classical score editions are now in the public domain. There’s no better way to learn how to write for large ensembles, classical or jazz, than to download a full PDF score and follow it while  listening to a performance on Youtube, Spotify or whatever |  John Grove’s transcription page – bop and postbop piano solos |  Lucas Pickford’s transcription page – lots of solos broken down by instrument |  Michael Brecker official site – transcriptions by Rick Margitza and others (sound files included) |  The Cannonball Adderley Rendezvous – sound files included |  Woody Shaw official site – great transcriptions (sound files included)

These are all public domain (Adler and Piston are the most up-to-date, but not free). Even if you’re not interested in classical orchestration, these venerable texts are essential reference about the technical aspects, character and nuances of each instrument.

Fux Gradus ad Parnassum – whenever I recommend this ancient text, people groan but it’s actually quite fun (a bit like being taught by Yoda) and the presentation is surprisingly modern.
Berlioz (ed Strauss) on Orchestration
Rimsky-Korsakov Principles of Orchestration – if you read one, read this. This is the text, an interactive online version is at Garritan’s site, here
Widor on Orchestration
Vincent on Orchestration
Forsyth on Choral Orchestration
Alan Belkin’s page – includes online books on Musical Form, Orchestration, Harmony and Counterpoint
Thomas Goss’s OrchestrationOnline YouTube channel has an ongoing series of video presentations full of useful insight into the process and profession of a composer/orchestrator (and human being). Highly recommended

Please feel free to get in touch to suggest other resources or report busted links.

2 comments on “Jazz Links
  1. Brenda Boykin says:

    Hello Jason , thanks for a great site. I’m inspired by your down to earth,humorous approach. Also good to see what my dear jazz pal Charles McNeal is up to. He’s an excellent player on tenor and alto, came from Denver to the Bay Area and had all the top sax gigs in 10 minutes. Oh yeah, both jazz and blues— Coltrane,Brecker,Cannonball,and gut bucket bar room blues. Shout out from Germany. Thanks again,Jason, for the inspiration! Brenda Boykin.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks Bren – oder Vielen Dank.
      I can well imagine McNeal taking the City by storm.
      Stay tuned for more rudeness from the factory floor. One of these days I might run out of sarcasm and someone else will have to take over…

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