Mandolinists who wish to expand their improvisational vocabulary and spice up their rhythm accompaniment are invited to try some Jazz Mandolin Appetizers.
This book and accompanying audio, prepared by chef Don Stiernberg, include a batch of etudes that address the challenges every improvising mandolinist faces. These include common issues such as selecting notes that sound good with chord progressions and finding them on the fretboard. In the first section, new melodies are presented for chord progressions that are often played at swing and jazz jam sessions. These tunes will benefit players of any style. Concepts are discussed at the beginning of each tune such as harmonic analysis and the effects of certain intervals (useful groups of tones). The tablature suggests fingerings for the melodies. The chordal section shows how chords and progressions can be made more interesting by adding color, tension and movement. Chord substitution is also demonstrated. Working through this section will prepare the player with commonly played progressions and will expand their chord voicing vocabulary up and down the neck. Lastly, a study of chord-melody style playing is presented. Playing the melody and harmony at the sametime yields full sounding solo arrangements.
Don Stiernberg is a leading proponent of the jazz Mandolin style. He has eight available recordings, performs coast to coast and abroad, writes a column for Mandolin Magazine and teaches at several Mandolin events. Audio download available online.