Bill Lohr's book Bass Motion, Chord Substitution, and Improvisation is the most complete, succinct and easy-to-understand version of the basic harmonic and linear language of jazz that I've ever seen.
If you were introducing musicians to Jazz and wanted to give them a concrete place to start and progress, you could and should just teach to this book.
Usually after learning voicings for II-V-I, jazz education gets very vague. It usually fails the student after that as teachers grope for ways of teaching it. I would venture to say that if a student goes as far as this book, and also uses it as a point of departure to his own experimentation, by the end of using it they would have developed a basic language that would allow the possibility of being a professional jazz musician. (One way of departing is to take every example he gives and transpose it into another key(s). Note: not 12 keys!! Just another key, again and again).
That seems like a weird goal for something that's supposed to be an art form where one expresses himself. But think about it, in order to advance in every way in one's art there has to be a bottom line of functionality. Without that there's no gigs, no merging with other musicians, no growth. So becoming functional in the most fundamental way is absolutely vital or the rest cannot follow. I didn't want to take the time to check out Bill Lohr's book. I hate music theory books. But now that I have, I will absolutely put any seeker onto it if they're seeking to enter the world of jazz as a player.
This book Bass Motion, Chord Substitution, and Improvisation is a practical, common-sense approach to harmony, harmonic progression, voice leading, phrasing, chord substitution, and related topics that every improvising musician must ultimately deal with. What makes Bill's book so valuable is that it is not just another music theory text. It comes from a deep place of understanding in a musician who has mastered the art of utilizing these concepts to create music that flows in an amazingly sublime and beautiful way. Bill is a favorite of mine and many others because of this rich emotional content in his playing. He surpasses the mere knowledge of harmony and taps into a deeper and more profound level of expression. Do yourself a favor and check out his book.
-Tom Warrington, Professor Emeritus, University of Nevada
Copyright © 2019 Bill Lohr Music - All Rights Reserved.