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Harri Rautiainen

Harri Rautiainen is the founder and the publisher of Sax on the Web. A retired ICT professional, he is now focusing on saxophone playing and maintaining the Web's largest Saxophone Discussion Forum.

More reviews by Harri Rautiainen:
o Tipbook Saxophone

More SOTW Book reviews:
o Take Five the public and private lives of Paul Desmond
by Doug Ramsey
o Practice Like the Pros
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o Reed All About It
by Bob Bernotas
o Jazz Saxophone Etudes
by Greg Fishman
o Jazz Saxophone Duets
by Greg Fishman

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Created: July 27, 2008


Jazz Etudes for Saxophone - Level 3

24 Swing & Bop Studies for Tenor & Alto

by Randy Hunter

Review by Harri Rautiainen

You've got to love this book for several reasons. I seldom see a jazz etude book introducing new ideas and information in such a well thought-out, organized manner. And putting this all in a package introduces some new concepts.

Saxophonist Randy Hunter is a prolific author as well. He has published several jazz etude books and jazz combo arrangements for beginners and advancing students. The book at hand is definitely for more the advanced student, or the "upper level" student as Randy puts it.

I liked the structure of this book very much. Randy introduces four progressive difficulty levels for improvisation; starting from your garden flavour basic scales to altered scales and rhythmic variety. Randy's way of introducing jazz scales, e.g. mixolydian and dorian scales is very illuminating and pedagogic. In addition, the book is easy to use to both Bb and Eb sax players, even at the same time.

There are six sets of chord changes in which the 24 etudes are based. The first one is a 12-bar blues using jazz chord changes. The five others are based on known jazz standards either in AABA or ABAC format. Randy plays each one in the practice CD with accompaniment. In addition, there are two more tracks for each set (slow and fast) so you can play on top of the rhythm group, consisting of guitar, bass and drums. The comp is consistent and steady. It is a great feeling to play with top-notch musicians. (I sometimes had difficulties with some of the Aebersold play-along CDs when the rhythm group gets too "artistic".)

The etudes are creative and they progress from the easier to the more difficult, as mentioned above. This will guarantee that I will have plenty to study in the near future, too. Randy's tenor sax playing on the demo tracks is a real pleasure to listen to and is something to try to imitate.

If I have to find something to complain about this etude book, I would have to say that I would have preferred a more concise graphic design. The sheet music is very clear and easy to read, four bars a row. I did not like the mixing of different font families on every text page; it kind lost its impact. The dark grey background image on "Table of Contents" page does not improve the readability.

Overall Randy Hunter's Jazz Etudes for Saxophone, Complete Jazz Styles is not a book you will play once or twice through. This will last longer and will offer you many pleasurable playing moments.

Randy Hunter
Randy Hunter
Artist Affiliate
Instructor of Jazz Saxophone
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

“Randy's Jazz Etudes for Saxophone are tailor made for the musician who wants to read and study great accessible jazz melodies that are totally in the tradition of jazz. They are fun and great for the ear.”

Jerry Bergonzi
Internationally recognized jazz performer, composer and author

"Randy Hunter has developed a very smart study series here. The book & etudes are very user friendly. He has solved a problem with other duet books by providing Bb & Eb parts that are compatible. Check 'em out!"

Claire Daly
Renowned jazz instructor and performer
Five time winner of the Downbeat Critic's Poll "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition"

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