Book Review: Pentatonic Scales for Jazz Improvisation

Title: Pentatonic Scales for Jazz Improvisation
Author: Ramon Ricker
No. Pages: 84
Difficulty Level: 4 – 7


37 Pages of explanation, theory and analysis followed by 40 pages of exercises.

The exercises include “Diatonic Exercises”, “Chromatic Exercises”, “Exercises on II – V – I”, “Exercises on Turnarounds”, “Exercises on the Circle of Fifths”, and “Exercises on Altered Pentatonics”.

My Comments:

More than just a pentatonic pattern book, Ricker is successful explaining chromatic, outside improvisation in the beginning pages. He explains degrees of chromaticism and how to use the pentatonic scales to communicate with a purposeful dissonance. Having read the text many times over, since my high school years, I believe it was Pentatonic Scales for Jazz Improvisation that first pointed me in a less diatonic direction.

The exercises are not idiomatic to the trumpet, so certain adjustments must be made. I recommend taking a look at the overall concept of the exercises and then using your understanding of that concept to rewrite them (in your head) to match our range.

About Eddie Lewis

Eddie Lewis is primarily known as a Christian free-lance trumpet player in Houston, TX. Eddie makes a living playing trumpet, teaching trumpet and jazz improvisation, writing trumpet music and authoring trumpet books. His second book, Daily Routines for Trumpet, is used regularly by thousands of trumpet players around the world. If you would like to purchase some of his CD's, feel free to visit our online music store at
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