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I asked this question within a fading thread, and maybe not many people saw it, so I'm asking it again here. (Sorry about repeating it, if you already saw it.) I wonder if anyone has seen the book Bebop Scales by Scott Black? I read about it online in the "Tucson Citizen":
http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/entertainment/64160.php

It sounds pretty good. (But I always think that when I read an advertisement for a jazz instruction book.)
http://www.azjazzartists.com/bebopscales.html

One thing I wonder is, are the bebop scales SO crucial to playing jazz? (I'm not saying they aren't; just asking.) This book makes them central to the music (we're just talking bop and post-bop and other styles that developed out of bop, I guess, but still...). It's funny, because other books, like Levine's, don't give that impression. In Levine, they're just another important scale along with the others, not the "key" to everything. And the book that jazzpianoonline mentioned in the other thread I was talking about (the thread called "Best Music Theory"), Jazz Theory and Practice by Richard Lawn and Jeffrey Hellmer (a fairly long and detailed book, not a brief intro), doesn't mention them at all, as far as I can tell. (Or do they call the bebop scale by another name?)

So two questions:
(1) how good is Scott Black's book?
(2) the bebop scale the most important one?
 

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I've only worked with Jerry Bergonzi's book "Jazz Line" which is bop scales and different ways to manipulate them. The way I see a new subject when I decide to start working on it, is that it is the MOST important thing. I try to learn it as well as I possibly can. Once I've completed the book, or (when it's not out of a book) when I feel I've learned it as well as I can at the moment, I move on.

Some of these players today may not be using these bebop scales in their playing, but they def have all studied them very deeply and were influenced by the guys that used them, from Bird to Newk
 

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It's not THE most important scale. I'd say the Major scale (and it's modes) and the chromatic are more fundamental and more important. But yeah, the bebop scale is important if you want to play jazz.

The purpose of bebop scales are to put chord tones on down beats. They add in chromatic passing tones in order to make this happen. So all you're really doing is adding one note (to begin with) to a scale you should already know. Sounds easy but it can get hard sometimes. A lot of the bop language utilizes this scale and it helps a lot to understand the concept so that when you see it happen, you know what's going on.

Might I suggest David Baker's "How to Play Bebop." It's not a workbook. It won't give you exercises(mostly), but it does do a good job of explaining the bop language.

For a workbook/playalong with more specific exercises, I've used Jerry Bergonzi's "Inside Improvisation Volume 3: Jazz Line"

I don't know anything about the Black book.
 

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Personally, I don't think they're all that important. Come to think about it, I don't think I've ever consciously applied them when I improvise. Maybe I do it subconsciously, don't know.

The theory behind them is so that you land on the chord tones on strong beats but I don't know that that's important or even desirable. I think they're good to have under your fingers and they're good to know if you want to play conservatively.

I don't know the Black book but David Baker's got one that covers it pretty well.

(edit - looks like your finger is a little quicker than mine, Clayton. :D)
 

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If you had a chance to preview Steve Neff's lesson on the dominant bebop scales you'd certainly think they were important. What he was playing sure sounded like jazz!

I've always thought the real essence of the bebop scales was the way they foster longer and more fluid lines in improvisation, and, similarly, free players to move more fluidly (and quickly) through complex harmonic changes (aka what I suck at!)

Rory
 

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rleitch said:
I've always thought the real essence of the bebop scales was the way they foster longer and more fluid lines in improvisation, and, similarly, free players to move more fluidly (and quickly) through complex harmonic changes (aka what I suck at!)
Count me in as a believer of bebop scales as being pretty much *crucial* if you want to play within the bebop/hard bop/post-bop tradition, for exactly the reasons Rory cites, and I'm *always* consciously applying them in my improvisation!
 

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The essence of the bebop scales has to do with the chromatic passing tone. I think it's the idea of inserting chromatic passing tones that is really important. If you analyze any solo by Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, etc, you'll find lots of chromatic passing tones that smooth out the eighth (or sixteenth) note line and make it sound good. They aren't always the same passing tone used in the "bebop scale" proper, but often are.

I use the maj7th passing tone and also a chromatic run from the minor or major 3rd up to the 5th a lot when playing blues, so this concept doesn't just apply to bebop either. To restate, I think it's the concept that is important, not any particular scale. You do have to be careful to place the chromatic notes in the right place, usually, but not always, on a upbeat.
 
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