I had the opportunity to read world-renown saxophonist Eric Alexander’s new e-book, Improvising with the Whole Step Triad Combination Scale. The book is focused around a concept Eric refers to as the “whole step triad combination scale.” I have been a long-time fan of Eric Alexander and am extremely excited that Eric has come out with a book that shares some of the ways he plays over changes. Without getting into the specifics of this approach, the idea of the whole step triad combination scale offers an enlarged palette of modern harmonic sounds to play over both simple and more complex chord progressions.
The resource is well written and includes transcriptions of Eric’s solos. The play-along tracks are very useful for practicing the whole step triad scale combination in various keys and are written for C, Eb, and Bb instruments. In addition, there are practice quizzes after various parts of each lesson to help reinforce the concepts outlined.
What You Get
Taking advantage of the drastically lowered costs and effort of physical production, the book comes in either a PDF or Apple iBook format. Both offer the same basic content, transcriptions, videos, exercises and play-alongs.
The PDF e-book can be read on virtually any device, can be printed, and includes links to Eric’s recorded performances. The Apple iBook version, on the other hand, offers a thoroughly modern and truly immersive multimedia learning experience. All notated figures include audio examples so that you can hear and see the music. You have the ability to view and zoom in on the notation using multi-touch gestures as well as participate in active learning with immediate feedback from quizzes, and a built-in glossary to boot.
In addition to the various lessons included in the e-book, there are links of videos of Eric Alexander playing the various solos transcribed in the e-book as well as some great photos of Eric playing with such musicians such as Jeremy Pelt, Vincent Herring, Dave Liebman, Dave Hazeltine, and many more.
All playing exercises feature integrated play-alongs so you never have to leave the book to work on the material. Audio taken from the video footage of Eric’s performances are transcribed and included in the iBook as well. Each chapter is finished with a beautiful, hi-res still image taken from one of Eric’s recent gigs.”
This book is a great resource due to the fact that Eric was able to effectively explain how you can take a simple idea and do so much with it. Bolstered by the videos, you can also hear how he incorporates the whole step triad combination scale in his solos.
Improvising with the Whole Step Triad Combination Scale is a great e-book for anyone who wants to understand what Eric Alexander plays over changes. In addition to using this e-book to add more vocabulary to your solos, Eric offers private lessons over Skype, which is quite an exciting opportunity for any player, from beginner to advanced, worldwide.
- PDF format: $9.99
- Apple iBook: $14.99
Here is a link for more information on Eric’s e-book: