Licks Books

April 15, 2007

Nicolai Foss

I am usually no great fan of licks books. Too often, the licks are presented without discussing how they fit harmonically, what is their proper role in a solo statement, etc. The licks are often tired, and seem to represent the author’s limited imagination rather than the real licks of the jazz greats. Licks books are seldom serious alternatives to transcriptions of solos. However, I just came across Wolf Marshall’s 101 Must Know Jazz Licks which is an exception to the rule. In general, Marshall does extremely solid work in the transcription department (I will later discuss his transcriptions of Christian, Benson, Green, etc.). Many of the licks are lifted from greats such as Christian and Parker (you will surely recognize a number of them). I found them all very useful. Moreover, what really adds to the value is that the collection is organized historically, so we begin with swing, progress to bebop, hardbop, etc. Very strongly recommended!

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