In need of a break from the Classical? Try these fab play-along jazz books. Whatever your level, these books are perfect for downtime!
Here are sixteen jazz gems which have been pitched initially at the developing player but can be appreciated by anyone who loves this genre. The accompaniments are of a moderate difficulty too which will obviously be very useful. The excellent CD has been recorded by Dehnhard himself so you can either simply sit back and enjoy the music or play along with the accompaniment only tracks. This is Dehnhard with his jazz hat firmly in place and hardly a contemporary technique in sight! Difficulty guide: 3-6
These relatively easy jazz piece all have titles about getting there, such as Parachuting, Rock Jumping and the wonderfully named Riding an Ostrich. The backing track could be used to introduce some improvisations based on these themes, which gives the book much more mileage. A good buy for sure! Difficulty guide: 3-5
If you’re new to improvisation this a very good book to start you off. The first piece Loosen Up only uses F. The advice is to use a 1 bar rhythm, repeat it 4 times and then make up another – this is surprisingly effective over the backing track even if your efforts are initially very stilted. In the subsequent tunes more notes are added and by Born to Boogie you’re using a whole blues scale! It’s as if your hand is being held all the way through! Difficulty guide: 5-8
Although sax-based, this book easily transfers all it’s material to the flute, allowing us access to real jazz repertoire. There’s a wealth of information about how to play in this genre which is useful if you’re a novice, but this is a good-time book simply to be enjoyed. Sometimes playing along with the greats is just what you need! Difficulty guide: 7-9
This is a lovely collection of pieces by the late Bill Holcombe, ranging from the upbeat numbers Swingin’ Flutist and Uptown and the slower, more reflective Only You and Blue Monday. The jewel in the crown here is Lazy Afternoon which is really not to be missed! If you’re not sure about playing jazz but are interested in trying, this book is a great place to start. Difficulty guide: 5-8