Book ReviewsDecember 2020Featured

The Essence of the Blues Book Review

The Essence of the Blues by Jim Snidero

Have you ever wondered whether there might be a fun method book that would help you learn the Blues?

Saxophonist Jim Snidero has created a series of method/etude books which help relatively advanced players learn the blues. With his Educational series, he has revolutionized the study of jazz. 

This is a great book! It is divided into 10 blues etudes representing 10 jazz/blues styles between the 1930s and the 1970s, focusing on historic, iconic artists, such as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and more. Each piece describes briefly the artist's style and the period, such as swing, bebop, R&B, Funk, etc., and the typical performance style of the period and artist. 

The accompanying CD helps the player learn the style and tunes since there are 2 tracks on the CD for each etude. One has a soloist playing with the rhythm section and one track leaves out the soloist and leaves room for the student to try their hand at the solo.  You can also play along with the soloist to learn more about the style. In the flute edition reviewed here, the flute soloist is Jamie Baum, and she sounds great and is inspiring to play along with her!

In addition to the etudes, the book has a section on Basic Blues theory, vocabulary studies ( of jazz ideas that players absorb and learn), and suggested listening, which is a list of iconic albums by great jazz artists. 

I’m so impressed by the clarity of the layout of the book and how comprehensive it is for someone looking to begin immersing themselves in this music. I’m planning to do it myself!!!


Review by Barbara Siesel


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