This book gives students an opportunity to experience the excitement of playing professional level sax duets with a great rhythm section, although most are suitable for the solid intermediate level player. Each duet is a musical conversation between the two saxophones. Written in an interactive style, both saxophonists are actively involved rhythmically, melodically and harmonically throughout the duets, combining to form a complete musical picture.
This book offers maximum flexibility, giving saxophonists the choice of playing with two altos, two tenors, or alto and tenor. A unique feature of the book is that both alto and tenor saxophonists read the same written part while the rhythm section transposes to accommodate the saxophonists.
The three play-along CDs included with this book feature four different versions of each duet. The first track features both saxophones plus the rhythm section; the second track features the second saxophone part plus the rhythm section; the third track features the first saxophone part plus the rhythm section; the fourth track features the rhythm section only, with extra choruses for soloing. These extra choruses allow the saxophonists to musically communicate with each other by trading choruses or phrases during the solo section of the playalong tracks.
Recommended for intermediate to advanced high school and college saxophonists.
The fact that tenor saxophonist and author Greg Fishman is a native Chicagoan is obvious from start in this valuable new book of jazz saxophone duets. The titles of each of the duets read like a Chicago street map, and the music reads like a post bebop encyclopedia of sounds and melodic shapes that are required repertoire for any young jazz saxophonist.
This book is a companion volume to Fishman's Jazz Saxophone Etudes, and shares many of its best qualities. These are true duets. Fishman avoids two parts written in clich?d rhythmic lockstep a third apart, but creates two independent, contrapuntal parts that play off one another in the tradition of the two saxophone groups that have existed in modern jazz, including Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane, Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, and others.
Each of the ten two-page duets explores the two sax relationship in a different way. In Columbus Drive the two horns trade two bar phrases and accompany one other; North Avenue explores cycle of fifths harmonies; Adams Street is a two-chorus imitative blues, and Harlem Avenue is presented as a triplet, 12/8 feel.
The ten duets are included in two formats within this book. One format is written for two like saxophones (playable on two altos, two tenors or two baritones), and the other is reworked as needed to employ alto and tenor so that the parts lay easily and musically on the horn at all times.
The major feature of the book, from a learning perspective, is the comprehensive treatment of the accompaniment CDs, addressing not only the duets, but also the ability to improvise on each of these tracks. The book comes with no less than three different play-along CDs: one CD is used for alto and tenor, one for two tenors, and a third one for two altos. Each of the duets on all three CDs appears in four different versions: one version with both saxophones, one version each minus the first and second saxophone part, and finally one version with just the rhythm section accompaniment for use by two saxophonists. The players are all first rate, including the strong-voiced and swinging Fishman himself, and fellow saxophonist Mark Colby, a veteran of Maynard Ferguson's "Rocky" era bands and a consummate player who has just released a beautiful new Stan Getz tribute CD.
Each of the tracks not only accompanies the duet, but also provides extra playalong choruses for improvising over the supplied chord changes. The front of the book contains extensive notes, addressing the goals for three different levels of learning, from intermediate note learning and jazz swing techniques, to more advanced learning of the chord changes and improvising, to studying and analyzing the compositional elements of the duets at a professional level. This collection of duets is the most thoroughly notated and annotated that I've seen. It is a must have addition to any student's collection, and to their teacher's library.
--Reviewed by David Demsey, Saxophone Journal, January/February 2007
Finally a hip jazz duet book from a sax man who can really play. I recommend this to any teacher who wants to share good music with his students.