NEW! Download and study: Jazz Handook

NEW! I haven't experiment with this yet....


Impro-Visor (short for “Improvisation Advisor”) is a music notation program designed to help jazz musicians compose and hear solos similar to ones that might be improvised. The objective is to improve understanding of solo construction and tune chord changes. There are other, secondary, things it can do, such as improvise on its own. It has also been used for transcription. Because rhythm-section (e.g. piano, bass, drums) accompaniment is automatically generated from chords, Impro-Visor can be used as a play-along device. Now having a wider array of accompaniment styles, its use is not limited to jazz.


AUGUST 26, 2011:


New links below:

(used w/permission of http://despair.com)


  1. All-State Pre_Progress Guide pdf.
  2. Lesson Assignment Guide pdf
  3. Speaking Of Jazz


Several things you have to remember :

  • Jazz is a language. I'm surprised there is not "Rosetta Stone" program for jazz! (hmm…I thought of it first! copyright Dr. J! 😉
  • If you've taken a language course, remember that you learn phonetics, words, short phrases, longer phrases, sentences, and you learn it by "IMITATING THE SOUNDS." It would be REEEAAALLLY difficult to learn a language without hearing it. Try to learn Chinese by reading a book about it, never hearing the sounds And please video yourself for youtube. We can make a fortune from China as a viral comedy video.
  • Listen to guys that speak the language. They BEST are on your DVDs,  and sometimes the transcribed solo is in the pdf files.
  • Listen (notice how many times I've used that word?) to the improv tracks repeatedly.
  • While listening your brain is going to WANT a melody and you'll start hearing things in your head. (Not voices. If you hear voices, we'll get help for you!)
  • SING WITH THE TRACKS! YES, SING! When you sing something that makes you feel "wow! cool!", sing it again until you have that lick memorized. (Or you can use a recorder.)
  • When you have it memorized, take your trumpet and find the first note you sang. Then sing the solo again, then find the first two or three notes. Rinse and repeat until you have the entire lick learned on the horn. (you may find something you like better during this process. Cool! Change it!)
  • Now write it down, using a PENCIL and PAPER, not notation software. I did this with Sibelius yesterday and it was a distraction, stifled the "creative" side of my brain by activating the "analytical" hemisphere.
  • Repeat the process until you have an entire solo on each improve etude.
  • URGENT!! YOU MUST converse in JAZZ every day, on your horn! Memorize the background and think, sing and PLAY the Improv etudes everyday, every hour of the day. You gotta be ale to "THINK" in that language!

I wish I could make it easier, but I can't. There are no "Rosetta Stone" shortcuts.




http://www.freejazzinstitute.org/ , Yes! Free!! LOTS of COOL, COOL jazz instruction.



This site has improv lesson videos, transcriptions, descriptions, prescriptions in EASY to understand order! A lot of FREE info, but you can also buy a subscription ($10  month). This is the BEST place to start that I've found:

"Wilie Thomas: His professional career spans forty-five years of performing with such jazz greats as the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Al Belletto Sextet, the Slide Hampton Octet with Freddie Hubbard and George Coleman, the MJT+3 with Frank Strozier and Bob Cranshaw, singer Peggy Lee and many more.

In addition to his international performances, residencies, educational clinics and jazz research, Willie Thomas was active with the International Association of Jazz Educators and was inducted into it’s Hall of Fame in 1994. His “Jazz Anyone” classroom series now published by Alfred Music is still used in schools throughout the country. He lives on Orcas Island, Washington and his interactive “Jazz Everyone” web site puts Willie Thomas back into action."






ON ehow.com, search jazz, jazz trumpet, blues

Practice Materials

The following links and resources are intended as supplementary materials for your lessons. These include music and exercises that you need for your lesson which was never included in any of the books.

The following links point to MP3 recordings of this year's All-State Jazz Trumpet Audition music.

Also on Youtube: 123

Pay CLOSE attention to articulation ('to slur or not to slur, that is the question.") Notice, also, ACCENTS that aren't written on the page.

Trumpet Etude background tracks

Etude 1
MP3: Quarter Note = 100
MP3: Quarter Note = 135
MP3: Quarter Note = 170

Etude 2
MP3: Quarter Note = 66

Jazz Audition Material Errata: Etude #3 – The last note of measure 18 should be F natural (posted 5/26/2011)

Etude 3
MP3: Quarter Note = 90
MP3: Quarter Note = 120
MP3: Quarter Note = 150

And here are the Improv etudes:

Track 17 All-Region

Track 18 All-Region

Track 19 All-State

Track 20 All-State


Remember – this is a BUILDING project. We don't improvise "by luck" or by accident. The players you hear on recordings may have played those tunes a thousand times, and a thousand other tunes a thousand times. They've built a vocabulary and then used those "words" to write a story. That's what an "improvised" solo is. You learn the language, write a sentence. write a paragraph and then you write a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Newest Business:

All-State C Minor Blues Improv is based on:




The All Region Improv Etude is based on:



Copy the ideas you like and use the instructions in the pdf's to create and write-out a complete solo or two for each.  Then repeat the process.



Rhythm section tracks for the etudes:


The All-State Jazz  CD covers everything for $15. And they can get it to you fast:


Pender's Music Co.
Phone: (800) 772-5918
Email: richardg@penders.com
Fax: (940) 382-0869
314 S Elm St
Denton, TX 76201-6014

Website: http://www.penders.com

And on  Etude #3 – The last note of measure 18 should be F natural (posted 5/26/2011).

Check this website.. .NOW!

http://www.jazzbooks.com/ This website has an ENORMOUS amount of jazz info. Visit it now and EVERY DAY!

Emin7 uses basically the notes built on the E Dorian Scale, which is the same as the D Major Scale, just start on E and go up: E  F#  G  A  B  C# D  E.  The E min7 chord notes are  E G B D.

Fmin7  – same concept – F Dorian which is the Eb major scale, from F to F: F G Ab Bb C D Eb F . The chord notes are F Ab C Eb

#3 is the one that was posted on the front page. #4 and #5 are the mp3 background and the CONCERT pitch leadsheet for Maiden Voyage, which is what the improv is based on. #6 and # 7 just more practice tracks.


There are a few youtube videos of Maiden Voyage. The best soloists I found were sax and piano players: Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Kenny Barron. Freddie Hubbard was one of the few trumpet players I could find and on a couple of videos he sounded great, but on a couple he …uh…didn't. He had a lot of chop and health problems. When he was "on" he was awesome. But even so, the "Style" of this improv is best exemplified by the others.


More later….

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