Review of “The Ultimate II-V-I Primer” by Steve Neff

“The Ultimate II-V-I Primer” is another excellent publication from Steve Neff. This book targets the beginning improvisor but the material is beneficial to any aspiring jazz improvisor.

The book begins with an introduction and a few test progressions. If you can’t play through all of the test progressions, you need to take time to work through all exercises and internalize them.

The exercises are well conceived. The exercises begin with ultra simple exercises and then add rhythmic variety.  One of the goals is to be able to play through the progressions and not lose your place. As the book progresses you are asked to improvise over changes limiting your note selection. For example only use the 1, 3 and 5 of each chord. As the book progresses the parameters are expanded thus providing you with more tools to choose from.

The book is targeted to beginners but many intermediate improvisors could also benefit by learning their chords inside out in all 12 keys. Benefits are also gained on how to connect the notes from one chord to another in a smooth flowing manner.

I highly recommend this book. It can be purchased from Neff Music.

This website has backing tracks that work well with the exercises in the book

Long Sequence Major II-V-I Backing Tracks in All 12 Keys

You can also use the techniques you learn in this book and apply them to the following:

Jazz Standard Workout in All 12 Keys – Backing Tracks

You can also use the techniques in this book to improvise over much faster jazz backing tracks such as the following:

Bebop – Anthropaulogy ( Anthropology contrafact ) in All 12 Keys – Backing Tracks

Have fun improvising!