Ollie Weston: Exploring Jazz Saxophone

Ollie Weston: Exploring Jazz Saxophone

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At last, a thorough approach for alto saxophonists who have a good grasp of the basics of playing saxophone and want to develop their improvisational skills and become a stronger player.

The book starts at the most commonly played song form - the blues - and investigates how it works. This 'nuts and bolts' approach to understanding music continues throughout the text and is well-supported by the mp3 examples, and also features plenty of opportunities to 'have a go' with the playalong tracks that accompany each chapter on the CD. Another particularly useful section is the explanation of the parts of a song and how to navigate each as an improviser, which can be applied to any tune.

Improvisation is encouraged from the very beginning, with 60 minutes of authentic live jazz trio recordings on the accompanying CD to use as play alongs. The CD also includes over 2 hours of mp3 tracks with demo versions (including Ollie on alto sax) and further examples.

Listen to a sample of the playalongs and demo tracks:


The book is written in an easy-to-read, conversational style and is true value for money, not only because of the high quality of performance tips and the well-explained, practical examples, but also because of the clear text and notation throughout that makes this quality publication a pleasure to use. Content-wise, it's like dozens of music lessons with a good teacher condensed into one volume.

This book & CD will really benefit any beginner-intermediate level alto saxophonist who has a good, basic technique and is making the transition from practising scales and chords to playing actual tunes. This book & CD is a logical 'next step' after John O'Neill's 'Jazz Method for Saxophone' for alto saxophone. Highly recommended.

Bk/CD, 204 pages

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Ollie Weston is professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Guildhall School of Music, where he currently runs the jazz workshop and jazz MA courses for their junior school. As well as writing for his own quartet, his performance experience includes: The London Jazz Orchestra, NYJO, Back to Basie Band, Sax Appeal, Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Island Records, Edwyn Collins, Jamie Cullum and Amy Winehouse.