Book Review: Pentatonic Scales for Jazz Improvisation

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

Content:

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.

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