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The main review was left as a message, and as time goes on messages go into archive, so I'll put a brief synopsis of how I feel about the book here.

Bottom Line: A unique book that gives a wide variety of perspectives on jazz and life with interviews, musical examples, and more.

Grade: A+

Paul Berliner's Thinkng in Jazz is a unique book. After years of research and interviews, Paul put together a window into the minds of a host of great jazz musicians. How they got started, where their minds are at, how they think about their music, that sort of thing.

When I first started reading it, some of the things the masters were saying in the book really made me sit back and think about my own playing, why I was doing it, and the kinds of changes I could make to get on the path of greatness. I'm not there yet, but I know I'm doing the right things to get there.

This book is a great resource for beginners and experts alike. Over 900 pages of interviews and music analysis. You see, not only does the book cover ways the masters think about jazz, around 1/3 of the book is devoted to analyzing their music, their musical tendencies, the things that gave them their sound.

One of the things I really enjoyed in the book is reading about the kinds of things the greatest players did when they were first getting started. The paths they took to becomming great players were all very different. I liked that because it showed that it doesn't matter where you're coming from, what matters is where you're going.

This is a great book and one that you won't be sorry to invest in.

~Scot Ranney---------------From what I've heard, this is a great book. Any first hand experience out there?

If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
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7 said... (2/14/2003 at 09:59 pt)  

"thinking in jazz" by paul f. berliner (isbn 0-226-04381-9) university of chicago press 1994

this is required reading. if you haven't read this book yet, it's time to do so - that's an order!

the musical examples in the back alone are priceless.

7  

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comrade conrad said... (2/15/2003 at 01:44 pt)  

i'd highly recommend this book to everybody.  it's a massive volume (about 900 pages) with in deppth research and interviews of hundreds of people. like 7 said, the musical examples explain a billion words. many artists discuss when they were starting off, how they started off. lots of interesting things in the book. there's a couple full transcriptions in the back that are analyzed in great length, and there are pages and pages of musical examples.  

here's a list of the chapters if you guys are interested:

intro: picking notes out of thin air? improv and its study

1 love at first sound: early musical environment

2 hanging out and jammin: the jazz community as an educational system

3 a very structered thing: jazz compositions as vehicles for improv

4 getting your vocab straight: learning models for solo formulations

5 seeing out a bit: expanding upon early influences

6 the more ways you have of thinking: conventional rhythmic & theoretical improv. approaches

7 conversing with the piece: intial routines applying improv approaches to form

8 composing in the moment: the inner dialogue and tail

9 improv and precomposition: the eternal cycle

10 the never-ending state of getting there: soloing ability, ideals, and evaluations

11 arranging pieces: decisions in rehearsal
12 adding to arrangements: conventions guiding the rhythm section

13 give & take: the collective conversation and musical journey
14 when the music's happening & when it's not: evaluating group performances

15 the lives of bands: conflict resolution and artistic development

16 vibes & venues: interacting with different audiences in different settings

epilogue: jazz as a way of life

music texts  [250+ pages]


highly recommend this book to people of any level of playing, performing, and appreciating.  

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greenkeys said... (2/15/2003 at 20:21 pt)  

i think what really sets this book up as a great text on the subject, is that it really gets into jazz as a philisophical undertaking. it, in many ways, paralells the more traditional tales of sought enlightenment, and really gives the music the power that so many of us know that it has. many people view a musical adventure much like a physical one, that is they se a soloist, or composer embarking on a journey, maybe getting somewhere, maybe not, but traveling all the time. i dig this. once in a while it clicks like this. but the whole realm of musical knowledge: the quest for the understanding that lies beneath all this sound - why the chicks dance and the cats play - thats the shit. and the precepts are the same as any ghost religion; practice faith and there are gifted enlightened ones to whom we give the stature of saints.
great indepth look at music, and what goes on 'behind the scenes' as well as in the minds of some of the greatest.
my teacher recommended this book about 2 months ago. so one day i went to borders to pick up a downbeat. while i was there i also looked for this book and started reading the first chapter. to make a long story short, i ended up getting the book because i couldn't put it back down. the fact that it was the only one on the shelf influenced me into to buying it too! if you are serious about your playing this book is a must! besides studying, practicing, and listening i think you need to  throw yourself into the whole cultural aspect as well.
folks, i just started into this book.  only 35 pages in. but from what i've read so far, this book would be very good for anyone starting out in jazz, thinking about it as a career, and basically, anyone who plays.

right in the beginning of the book you read about the kinds of things that great jazz musicians experienced that got them into jazz in the first place,the kinds of things they looked forward to, the kinds of things they did when they were first getting started.

as time goes on i will add more observations of the book here. so far, i think it's worth every penny that you have to pay to get it.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
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