Practicing the Jazz Vocabulary

a book of exercises for the improvising musician

Offering the book "Practicing the Jazz Vocabulary" by saxophonist, Dan Hesler. PTJV is a collection of exercises and tips for the improvising musician to help bring their exploration to the next level.

If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “What should I work on? ...”

Practicing the Jazz Vocabulary, by Dan Hesler, is a book for any single-line instrumentalist from high school players to advanced professionals. The book includes 112 pages of musical exercises, divided into 12 chapters on major chords, minor chords, ii V I progressions, turnarounds, cycles, chromatic stuff, chords in pairs, and "Fun with #9 Chords." There is a 27-page chapter entitled "Slippery Stuff" which consists of things that jazz musicians play when they are not necessarily trying to stay within changes.

No matter where you are as a player, this book will provide you with something interesting and challenging to work on. Much of the book is based on the existing vocabulary of the jazz language, and much is owed to the musical titans who have developed and furthered that language over the last 70 years.

Excerpts from the book

Chapter Nine, entitled “Slippery Stuff,” covers a lot of territory, from simple pentatonics to material like this:

 excerpt from: Chapter Nine, page 88, lines 5-8. Click to enlarge.

Chapter Three contains 136 two-five-ones written in the key of C, ranging from straight bebop to the even more interesting. The process of transposing these to the other 11 keys will change your playing. Here are some examples:

excerpt from: Chapter Three, page 31, lines 1-3. Click to enlarge.

Chapter Ten explores sharp nine chords.

excerpt from: Chapter Ten, page 104, lines 3-6. Click to enlarge.

These exercises are just the beginning. Take your improvisation practice to the next level.