Review of Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony by Bert Ligon

The playing always comes first and then someone takes the time to analyze what the great jazz artists are doing.  This is exactly the case with Bert Ligon and his 146 page book “Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony”.

Bert is a Professor of Jazz at the University of South Carolina School of Music.

Bert has studied hundreds of examples from the jazz greats and extracted three basic outlines from their solos that appear very often. The three basic outlines  are covered very quickly in the first part of the book.  The outlines are demonstrated in major and minor. The remainder of the book covers how to use embellishing devices to make the outlines sound more interesting.  Numerous examples of jazz greats are provided as examples that incorporate the three outlines.  An etude section is also included to demonstrate using the outlines over a few jazz standards.  This method shows how an improviser can provide harmonic clarity in their solos.

I highly recommend this book . You can purchase the book from the following link.


Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony – Jazz Book

250 Jazz Patterns by Evan Tate

After many years of study and reading many jazz improvisation books, I have reached a conclusion that one of the best ways to learn to improvise is to use motives. Motives are short melodic ideas usually consisting of 2-4 notes.  Riff is a slang term for a motive. The basic idea is to pick a motive and move it through the chord changes while you are improvising.

It is necessary too keep in good physical shape in addition to practicing the saxophone. I like to think that it is necessary to “spend time in the gym” on both activities. When I go to the gym I usually download vidcasts or podcasts to my iPhone to listen to while I am working out. During a vidcast search on iTunes I came across a series of vidcasts named the “The 250 Jazz Patterns Vidcast” by Evan Tate.

Evan is a professional saxophonist and instructor with more than 20 years experience. He is currently on the jazz faculity of the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Munich Germany.

Evan has written a book entitled “250 Jazz Patterns”.  The book starts out with simple patterns or motives that are appropriate for a beginner and then moves on to more advanced patterns. Once such pattern is the 1,2,3,5 pattern. If you are improvising over a C major chord the 1,2,3,5 notes would be C,D,E and G. This pattern is built from notes of the C major scale. Evans book is full of excellent useful patterns.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve their improvisation skills. You can learn more about the book and purchase it from the following link:

250 Jazz Patterns by Evan Tate

Eventually you will proceed to a “Pay using PayPal by clicking here” link. Once you click on this page you will be redirected to a  PayPal screen that is in German but don’t fret. You just need to change the “Land” field from Deutschland to USA ( if you are English speaking ) and all fields on the form will change to english. The price of the book is 35 Euros. At the time of this writting that’s about $47.24. This book is a real bargain at that price.

Jazz Theory and Method Books

There are many jazz theory and method books on the market and over the years I have purchased a great many of them. Most of these books have not been useful.  In the future I will be reviewing a number of different books and communicating my thoughts. Please consider subscribing to the newsfeed at or visiting often.

Thank You,

Paul Maine