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The Jazz News & Reviews page offers reviews of educational jazz publications and a variety related jazz products. If you have educational jazz material or merchandise that you would like to have considered for review, please drop us a note for submission information. We will not post any negative reviews, but may choose not to review all items that are submitted. Any product submitted for review becomes the property of Jazzbeat and will not be returned.
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Advanced Rhythmic Concepts For Guitar
by Jan Rivera

Review by Randy Hunter

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,, and


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

Review by Randy Hunter

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:



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


Kanee Mouthpiece Review by Randy Hunter:

I was recently contacted by a Chinese company called Kanee Mouthpieces & Ligatures and asked to review some of their jazz saxophone mouthpieces. After agreeing, they sent me 4 pieces to review: the tenor sax Florida 7 and 8 models, and the alto sax New York 6 and 8 models. These mouthpieces are designed to be a step-up between stock and top level professional pieces.

Since I prefer to let the mouthpieces speak for themselves, I chose to do a video review which is posted here and on YouTube. With that being said, I found the mouthpieces to be very responsive and easy to play. They produce a nice warm tone quality, and in my opinion, would be a good step toward a professional set-up. I particularly liked the tenor Florida 7 and the alto New York 8. Of course, I always make the disclaimer that mouthpieces play differently for everyone, but these are certainly worthy of consideration in your journey toward becoming the best player you can be.

Take a look at the video and visit their website: They currently have several retailers onboard, including ProWinds, Hornsales, and Firebird. They will certainly have additional retailers in the near future, so Kanee Mouthpieces should be easy to find.


Perfecting Intonation By David Beecroft
Review By: Randy Hunter

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: Antonio Valdetaro & Grupo

CD Title: Letícia

Year: 2009

Style: Brazilian Jazz

When I received Antonio Valdetaro's new CD in the mail, I knew I was in for a cultural experience. Since all of the song titles and liner notes included with the group's new disc, "Letícia," are in Portuguese, I had to rely on my ear for the musical translation. I must add that this was quite a treat.

The disc features an enjoyable mix of authentic Brazilian styles from Samba to Bossa. One of the selections, "Urublues Malandro," even has a bit of a unique Brazilian funk feel to it. It is also notable that all of the tunes are original compositions by Valdetaro, adding to the authenticity of the project.

The performances are tight, energetic, and soulful, with outstanding solos by each member of the group. Particularly notable are the contributions of Valdetaro himself, and of saxophonist, Josué dos Santos.

This collection of eight selections is highly recommended. Valdetaro's website offers further insight in both Portuguese and English into the life and music of the composer, and information on where to purchase the disc. So with that being said, purchase a copy and prepare for the cultural experience offered by the finest of Brazilian music.

Antonio Valdetaro & Grupo features:
Antonio Valdetaro – Guitar
Pepa D'Elia – Drums
Fábio Leandro – Piano
Roberto Carvalho – Bass
Josué dos Santos - Sax

Additional musicians include:
Ary Dias - Drums
Adriano Trindade - Drums
Sidiel Vieira - Bass
Rubinho Antunes - Trumpet

Review By: Randy Hunter





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