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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Book Review: Anthony M Peterson M.M - Three Masters, Five Ways

Taking jazz improvisation to the next level through the core ideas of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.  A manual for intermediate to advanced students on all instruments”. 
(Review by Roly Veitch)

A new music theory and workbook which sets out to give a solid grounding in music theory then uses an analysis of the core or fundamental improvising techniques of three iconic and highly influential jazz icons to advance the student.

Anthony M Peterson M.M. (Master of Music) from St. Louis, Missouri, began his musical journey as a classical guitarist before obtaining a scholarship from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music at the tender age of thirteen.

He studied there for four years during which time he was exposed to other music genres and developed a love and deep interest in jazz. After working on the local jazz circuit he gained a scholarship at the eminent Berklee College of Music obtaining a degree in music education. Later, he became one of their youngest faculty members, teaching for three years (1984/7) before moving to New York.

In 2012 he relocated to Durham, North Carolina, and entered the Master's Degree course at the state's Central University, his thesis on the work of Thelonious Monk being part of the basis of this book. He obtained his M.M. degree in 2014.

The book aims to help musicians move up to the next level by identifying and presenting core ideas of three major artists. The aim is to do this by five stages (1) the core idea, explained and notated (2) a breakdown of the core idea in greater detail (3) application of the idea (4) context (5) practice.

The first section of the book covers music theory – intervals, modes, key cycles, chord theory, voice leading and so on with some emphasis on the upper structure tones, the chord extensions which are such an important aspect of jazz improvisation. Also, pentatonic and blues theory are explained.

The book then moves on to the identification of the core or fundamental principles that were the essence of Monk, Bird and Trane’s styles and this section is at the heart of the book. For just one example – the myriad permutations and chromatic alterations of the 1235 scale sequence and how to link them together in endless variation over chord progressions, as so comprehensively mastered by Coltrane.

The book ends with tips on practice techniques, motivational concepts, and ways to be ‘in the moment’.

A lengthy tome that the seasoned player, probably, will treat as revision whereas the younger players may find a lot of closed doors opening to them.
Worth checking out.

Roly.

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