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Bird & Diz
by Gary Golio
Illustrated by Ed Young

Review by Randy Hunter www.randyhunterjazz.com

When I heard about Gary Golio's new children's book, Bird & Diz (Candlewick Press), I immediately knew I was in for a treat. After all, Gary's previous books have proven that he has an amazing talent for portraying the stories of musicians in an accurate and wonderfully appropriate manner for children.

The unique format of this book allows it to be opened and spread out accordian-style. This way the reader can view the beautiful illustrations, by Ed Young, in a continuous layout while reading the story of two of the most ingenious jazz musicians ever, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Of course, it can also be read page-by-page.

Golio places focus on the musical partnership of these jazz greats with tales of their musical adventures. The brief and animated descriptions of their personalities, friendship, and collaborative efforts in creating a new style of jazz, be-bop, ignite the imagination of the reader. The story is just-plain-fun, planting a seed for young jazz fans.

A brief afterword enhances the educational component of the book, offering a few additional thoughts on the music and some listening suggestions. There is also a really cool photograph of Bird & Diz.

Golio's delightful account of Parker and Gillespie's music and friendship lives up to the high standards set by his previous books. Bird & Diz receives my highest recommendation as an addition to the collection of all jazz fans- and their children too!

Written by Gary Golio
Illustrated by Ed Young
Published by Candlewick Press- Nonfiction Picture Book- March 2015
Ages 4 to 8- 26 pages- $19.99 hardcover- ISBN: 978-0763666606

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Target

Advanced Rhythmic Concepts For Guitar
by Jan Rivera

Review by Randy Hunter www.randyhunterjazz.com

You might find it a bit odd that I chose to review a book by Jan Rivera named "Advanced Rhythmic Concepts for Guitar." After all, jazz saxophone is my specialty. The topic of his book was neither saxophone or jazz improvisation.

I was immediately intrigued, however, as I began glancing through the book. I quickly realized that although it was labeled as a guitar book, the concepts it addressed could easily be applied by all advancing musicians, jazz or otherwise, interested in expanding their understanding of rhythm and time. In fact, I used only my voice and a metronome when working through the exercises.

The book focuses on metric modulation, various aspects of polyrhythm, and polymeter. While these terms may seem foreign to many, Rivera does an excellent job of explaining the concepts through examples and exercises using rhythmic ratios based on common denominators including quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, and sixteenth notes. There are also downloadable demonstrations that help to insure that the reader understands how things should sound.

After working through the exercises, I took several of the concepts to the practice room and included them in my improvisation practice. I can't say that I internalized everything quickly, but I can say that I now have some new fuel for the practice room fire.I also have a better idea of how to go about creating and understanding polyrhythms and determining their ratios.

Make no bones about it, this book is not a basic beginner or even intermediate book. You will need a solid foundation in time and rhythm to reap the full benefits it has to offer.

Regardless of your instrument or the style of music you play, "Advanced Rhythmic Concepts for Guitar" is highly recommended for players looking to gain a greater understanding of complex rhythmic possibilities.

117 pages
ISBN: 9780615979830
Available at AbstractLogix.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com



Spirit Seeker - John Coltrane's Musical Journey
By Gary Golio
Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

Review by Randy Hunter www.randyhunterjazz.com

When Gary Golio first contacted me regarding his new book, "Spirit Seeker - John Coltrane's Musical Journey" (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), I had to stop and think for a moment. After all, I had to wonder if the music and life of jazz saxophonist, John Coltrane, were really suitable subjects for a children's book. These concerns were put to rest within moments of thumbing through this wonderful book.

My attention was immediately captivated by the beautifully fascinating illustrations, by Rudy Gutierrez, that provide the backdrop for this compelling account of Coltrane's life. I also found the type-style and layout of the book to be interesting, enhancing the mood of the story in an enjoyable and entertaining manner.

The book details Coltrane's musical and spiritual journey from childhood through life. A focus is placed on the impact of early family religious influences that contributed to a spiritual resurrection in his life and music during his adult years. Accounts are also provided of his musical influences and band experiences. The story leads the reader through the highs and lows of Coltrane's life in a historically accurate yet appropriate manner for younger readers.

Golio's book on the life of John Coltrane provides a truly fun, intriguing, and inspiring (I should probably also say educational) read for children of all ages. Spirit Seeker - John Coltrane's Musical Journey, should be in the collection of all fans of John Coltrane. You should probably also purchase a copy for the children in your family.

Published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
October 2012 • Ages 9 & up • 48 pages • $17.99 hardcover • ISBN 13: 978-0547239941
Available at Amazon and IndieBound through: http://www.garygolio.com



LEVEL THREE: Jazz Etudes for Saxophone
24 Swing & Bop Etudes for Tenor & Alto

Read the review by
Harri Rautiainen at





"GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session is one of our longest-running GRAMMY in the Schools® programs, and it gives young people real-world experiences in the music industry," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy®. "In this case, it brings together top high school vocalists and instrumentalists from across the country to create a jazz choir, combo and band for a once-in-a-lifetime GRAMMY Week opportunity where these young artists play with their peers as well as with GRAMMY-nominated and GRAMMY-winning artists. GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session truly embodies the GRAMMY Foundation's mission of fostering the next generation of music and its makers."

The GRAMMY Foundation® was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture — from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy®, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. Campbell's Labels For Education program is proud to be the official education partner of the GRAMMY in the Schools® programs. For more information, please visit www.grammyintheschools.com.


10MFAN video demonstration by Randy
of the Boss Metal tenor sax mouthpiece


Perfecting Intonation By David Beecroft
Review By: Randy Hunter www.randyhunterjazz.com

David Beecroft's new book, "Perfecting Intonation" provides an excellent source of information and exercises. With an approach that is well organized, this book is indispensable for all musicians looking to hone their sense of pitch.

The introduction provides an in-depth scientific discussion of the differences between equal temperament and just intonation. While this is a bit of a technical read, it is delivered with a personal touch, making it both enjoyable and informative. The information included is also necessary to understanding the intent and focus of the studies.

Exercises are provided, along with a play-along CD, that are designed to help identify the proper tuning for intervals in a variety of contexts. The focus is on making the note combinations sound in tune for the given situation, which is where "just intonation" comes into play.

One aspect of the presentation that I like is that an overview of the exercises to be performed with each practice track is shown at the beginning of each interval study. Common transpositions are provided on subsequent pages. This makes it easy to see and get a feel for what you will be practicing.

I also like the fact that Beecroft recommends singing each of the exercises. He uses one of my favorite quotes, "If you can't sing it, you don't hear it..."

All being said, "Perfecting Intonation" provides an excellent source of practice material, organized in an efficient and well-structured manner. Congratulations to David Beecroft for this notable contribution to the music education resources available today.



Artist: Chris Weller
CD Title: Chris Weller's Hanging Hearts
Year: 2014
Style: Jazz-Rock-Experimental Music

I'm always excited to hear about new projects, particularly CD releases, from young jazz musicians. The new disc released in October, 2014 entitled, "Chris Weller's Hanging Hearts", is no exception.

The Chicago based trio, led by tenor saxophonist Chris Weller, is dedicated in his own words to "the fearless exploration of group improvisation." Other members of the ensemble include Cole DeGenova on keyboards and Devin Drobka on drums. All three members are graduates of Berklee College of Music.

The notable aspect of the CD is that the music forms a bridge between styles and influences that I perceive to range from late and post Trane through Jimi Hendrix and more contemporary free jazz improvisation. All of the selections are original compositions by Weller that range from intense and raw, as demonstrated in the opening selection, "D Rover," to bittersweet and enticing as depicted in the ballad, "The Single Petal of a Rose."

I was on the edge of my seat throughout the listening experience wondering where each musical exploration would take me. I think it would be particularly interesting to see and hear the ensemble in person to participate in the organic musical journey that undoubtedly occurs with each performance.

The group has shared the stage with notable jazz musicians including Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Tower of Power, Kurt Elling, and a host of others. They have also performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and New York's Carnegie Hall and have a European tour scheduled from late February through March.

My best wishes go out to Chris Weller's Hanging Hearts. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot from them in the future!

Review By: Randy Hunter www.randyhunterjazz.com



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Randy Hunter - Atlanta Jazz Saxophone Teacher and Performer