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Listen to "The Checkout" on WBGO
Full interview with Hal Crook!

The Checkout WBGO

Also, see the Hal Crook Set Me Free concert video.

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PUBLICATIONS  

BEYOND TIME AND CHANGES: A Musician's Guide To Free Jazz Improvisation (2006)

Beyond Time And Changes offers a methodology to guide the advancing jazz improviser through the un-chartered musical territory known as free jazz.

Beyond Time And Changes explores numerous musical topics, including: motive development, through-composed line, compositional direction, tension/release, continuity, balance, pacing, impact, dimension, self-critique, rhythmic pulse, exercise design, chord transformation, micro and macro views, leading and following, form and free settings, interpreting musical signals, group performance scenarios, melody-guided constant structure, interactive and supportive comping.

THE MUSIC OF HAL CROOK: 35 Jazz Originals (2002)

The Music Of Hal Crook is a collection of 35 original jazz songs written for the purpose of challenging and developing the composer's own improvisational skills and creativity, so that by playing his compositions he will advance his ability.

The Music Of Hal Crook features conventional and unconventional song forms, swing-8th and even-8th rhythmic feels, low to high musical energy, medium-slow to fast tempos, modal and modulating chord progressions, tonic system progressions, and free compositions.

The Music Of Hal Crook includes general performance considerations, rehearsal techniques, terms and definitions, soloing suggestions, and the composer's recommendations for preparing each song for performance.

READY, AIM, IMPROVISE!: Exploring the Basics of Jazz Improvisation (1999)

Ready, Aim, Improvise! is a clear, comprehensive study of the most important steps in a jazz musician's education.

Ready, Aim, Improvise! explores the critical areas involved in learning how to improvise, including:  music theory, jazz harmony, ear training, jazz execution, jazz vocabulary, melodic and rhythmic content, advancing via restriction, how to practice, and self-critique. It also offers insights on career planning, the teacher/student relationship, ego and improvising, and the deleterious effects of negative criticism from non-playing professional jazz critics.

Ready, Aim, Improvise! includes numerous musical examples, practical exercises, daily practice routines and two play-along CDs featuring modal, key-area and modulating chord progressions performed by Hal Crook on piano, John Lockwood on bass, and Take Toriyama on drums.

Ready, Aim, Improvise! is also an effective supplemental study-guide for the jazz textbooks How To Improvise and Beyond Time And Changes by Hal Crook.

Ready, Aim, Improvise! is for all levels, all instruments and voice.

HOW TO COMP: A Study In Jazz Accompaniment (1995)

How To Comp presents a clear, comprehensive one-step-at-a-time method for learning how to accompany an improvised jazz solo.

How To Comp organizes a vast amount of information into multiple areas of study, including:  building voicings (from 2 to 6 notes), stock voicings, constant structure voicings, voiceleading, independent lead lines, rhythmic interaction, rhythm vocabulary, rhythm motives, harmonic anticipations, embellishment, non-harmonic voicings, dividing and shifting attention, single-note-line comping, interacting with the soloist, and more.

How To Comp offers precise explanations, practical exercises, numerous recorded musical examples, daily practice routines, and three fully transcribed comping demonstrations (and play-along tracks) performed by the author on piano, with additional over-dubbed trombone solos played by the author as well.

How To Comp is for intermediate and advanced level players of harmonic instruments (i.e., piano, keyboards, guitar, vibes). However, drummers, bass players and horn players will also benefit from its study.

CREATIVE COMPING FOR IMPROVISATION: VOL. I, II, III (1992)

Creative Comping For Improvisation-Vol. I, II, III are play-along CDs containing chord progressions of songs commonly played in the jazz idiom. The musical accompaniment consists of chord voicings and bass lines played in time on an acoustic MIDI grand piano by Hal Crook.

Creative Comping For Improvisation features improvised re-harmonizations and rhythmic displacements (of the original chords) consistent with contemporary harmonic and rhythmic practice that the soloist can play with (i.e., by following the comping) or against (i.e., by following the original chords).

Also included in Volume 1 is 30 minutes of pitch axis accompaniment (i.e., each note of the chromatic scale is sustained in the bass register for 2½ minutes without tempo) that can be used to practice modal soloing and free soloing, either out of time or in time (by adding a metronome).

These play-alongs can be effectively used with exercises from the books How To Improvise and Ready, Aim, Improvise! and Beyond Time And Changes by Hal Crook.

Creative Comping For Improvisation provides lead sheets for each chord progression in concert key, Bb and Eb.

Creative Comping For Improvisation is for intermediate and advanced level improvisers.

HOW TO IMPROVISE: An Approach To Practicing Improvisation (1991)

How To Improvise organizes the vast subject of jazz improvisation into three basic categories: What To Play, How To Play, and When To Play-and assigns individual musical topics to each one. 

How To Improvise explains how to practice jazz improvisation on all instruments (including drums and voice) by applying the "target approach" to individual musical topics, such as:  pacing, phrase lengths, rhythmic density, dynamics, articulation, chord-tone solos, chord scales, upper structure triads, motive development, rhythmic displacement, syncopation, over-the-bar-line phrasing, contracting and expanding chord duration, non-harmonic structures, chord couplings, tri-tonic cells, chromaticism, special effects, and others.

How To Improvise also offers an effective method for memorizing the melody and chords of songs, and provides numerous recorded musical examples, practical exercises, and a suggested daily practice routine for each topic covered.

How To Improvise is for all levels, all instruments and voice.

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