After reviewing Hip Licks for Saxophone Volume 1 and Volume 2, I contacted Greg when I heard about his new book called The Lobster Theory (and other analogies for jazz improvisation). I will be offering an overall review, my thoughts, and a conclusion as to what I was able to take away after working through this book.
The Lobster Theory is unlike the other books that Greg has published. Greg has the ability to describe simple as well as complex concepts in a way that many musicians can relate to as well as expand upon generally understood concepts (scales, articulation, sound, rhythm, etc.) in a way that you might have never thought of before.
He uses various analogies that are simple to understand and retain. The Lobster Theory is not a book where you need to move from Chapter 1 to 2 to 3 etc., You can jump around to various chapters that interest you and spend time trying to internalize each individual concept. What Greg has successfully done in, my personal opinion, is to demonstrate “simple and advanced musical concepts in an accessible way that everyone can enjoy.”
When I first heard about The Lobster Theory, I expected it to be an extension of Hip Licks for Saxophone Volume 1 and Volume 2, but with a heavier focus on theory as well as developing a focused practice routine. After reading through this book, I was able to gain a better understanding that this book was quite different
In this book, I believe Greg is trying to communicate simple as well as more advanced theories with analogies and pictures compared to offering various licks that would fit well over ii-V-I’s, minor ii-V-I’s, etc.
I do not want to give too much away, but my favorite chapters were “Lifting Weights” pertaining to practicing, “Polishing the Silver,” which was about reviewing your chords, “Harmonic GPS”, relating to how you hear your notes, and “Apple Chords”, which is a way to describe chords so you can remember the sound.
There are more great concepts Greg describes in this book, but these chapters really stood out to me as areas I need to be aware of and constantly working to improve. I found that in each chapter Greg offers a great analogy as well as multiple ways of revisiting fundamental musical concepts that every musician should be working on throughout their music studies.
In my personal opinion, Greg has a gift for being able to communicate simple as well as complex ideas in a way that the beginning, intermediate, and advanced player will be excited to dive into, and really work on integrating his teachings into their playing.
If you enjoyed Greg’s Jazz Saxophone Etudes, as well as Hip Licks for Saxophone Volume 1 and Volume 2, I would recommend checking outThe Lobster Theory (and other analogies for jazz improvisation).