"Harmonic Colours For Bass," by David Gross. Published by Warner Bros., 1997. Book/CD, 92 pages, US$19.95.

This book offers an applied approach to playing with modes and other alternate scales,using TAB and standard notation. The CD features played examples, usually with emphasis on the color tone of the scale or mode (i.e. the distinguishing tone of a particular harmonic series). For every example track on the CD, there is an identical track following with the bass removed for the reader to play along with. This is a different approach from many other play along CD's that use a panned bass track, and it seems very practical considering that most new jamboxes don't even have a balance control.

In approaching modes and scales, Gross also adds a lot of essential info like the whole-step/half-step relationship, recorded examples of a modal tune ("Sketches of Spain,"by Miles Davis, etc.), and detailed structure of the root chord of each mode, with inversions. He also has several other helpful pages on practice habits, rhythmic exercises, chordal exercises, and a useful two-chord approach to extended chords. In keeping with the churchy modal theme, the CD tracks are all backed by drums and organ (or synth-organ), and there are 90 total. There are also 188 examples throughout the book.

Overall, the book has a very nice layout and design, and offers a lot of very useful info to set your creative mind loose. Knowing modes is a basic part of music education, and applying them to a musical situation seems to be the most nagging question past the theoretical stage. If hearing and playing them is something you are yearning for, this is the book to check out. Best suited for intermediate to advanced players.

Partial list of contents:

Rhythmic exercises, the major scale, dorian mode, phrygian mode, the lydian mode, the mixolydian mode, the aeolian mode, the locrian mode, the melodic minor scale, dorian b2, lydian augmented, overtone scale, mixolydian b6, locrian 2, altered mode, harmonic minor, leading tone, and the diminished scale.


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