Jazz guitarists love the challenge of interpreting chord symbols and experimenting with extensions and chord substitutions, but this can often be a frustrating and daunting process, which takes most players years to master. With such a rich harmonic landscape to navigate, a little guidance from someone who’s been there and done that comes in very handy. Frank Potenza has indeed 'done that' and his Jazz Harmony Handbook guides you through many of the most powerful and versatile ways to add harmonic color and interest to your jazz guitar arrangements.
Recording artist and esteemed educator, Frank is a protege of the late, great Joe Pass with nine solo albums to his credit. He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, George Van Eps, Joe Pass, Bud Shank, Mose Allison, James Moody, Brother Jack McDuff, and many others. Frank is also a passionate educator who is a full Professor and Chair of the Studio/Jazz Guitar Program at the University of Southern California. We’re thrilled to welcome Frank to the family with his first TrueFire course, the Jazz Harmony Handbook.
”In this Jazz Harmony Handbook, we'll be expanding our concept of interpreting jazz harmony on the guitar. We'll examine four fundamental forms – major blues, minor blues, circle changes and rhythm changes. For each form, we’ll start with shell voicings and then progress into the use of extensions, passing diminished chords, tritone substitution, back-cycling, diminished chord substitution, minor II/V’s and much more.”
Frank organized the Jazz Harmony Handbook into four sections, each of which features a variety of approaches that you can use to harmonize the most common changes you’ll encounter in the jazz songbook.
In Section 1, Major Blues Harmony, you’ll start by playing through a major blues using extremely basic voicings made up of guide tones and then learn how to add color by extending the voicings to the 9th, 11th, and 13th, and by using a series of reharmonization techniques: Shell Voicings, Colorful Chord Extensions, Quick Switch & Turnaround, Two Fives & Back-cycling, Passing Diminished 1, Passing Diminished 2, Whole Steps & Tadd Dameron, Tritone Substitutions, and Extreme Substitution Example. Frank will then perform a full arrangement demonstrating many of these approaches in a musical context.
In Section 2, Minor Blues Harmony, you’ll follow the same approach of starting wit basic chords and then extending the voicings as well as applying colors from the use of minor II/V’s and diminished substitutes: Shell Voicings, Colorful Chord Extensions, Back-cycling & Diminished Subs, and then Minor Two Fives & More. Frank concludes this section with another full arrangement demonstration.
In Section 3, Frank introduces you to Circle Changes Harmony, a more harmonically complex blues progression that was prevalent in the bebop era. Again, you’ll begin by playing through the progression using guide tones, and then add color by extending the chords and applying substitution techniques. You'll also examine Bluesette, a jazz classic written by Toots Thielemans that’s closely related to circle changes.
In the fourth and final Section 4, you’ll examine and play through Rhythm Changes Harmony, a longer (32 bar) form. It’s based on George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm, a standard tune that has become a jazz classic, and the basis for a great many contrafacts such as Charlie Parker’s Anthropology and Sonny Rollins’ Oleo. We'll begin by playing through the progression using guide tones, and then extend the chords and use reharmonization and substitution devices.
Frank demonstrates the examples and full arrangement performances over rhythm tracks. All of the performances are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can play, loop and/or slow down the tab and notation as you work through the lessons. Plus, Frank generously includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s jazz up our harmony with Frank Potenza!