Any books you need to recommend? Tell us about it in the comments below! Or, if you’re dying to read a review of a specific topic, author, or book post a request, and I’ll add it to my list.
Chuck Anderson  Duncan Heining  Maceo Parker


Unlocking the Guitar – Notes on the Neck, by Chuck Anderson. Anderson Music Publications, 2002. ISBN#0-9719730-0-8

This book provides an approach to one of the trickiest topics guitar players of any level face: learning the notes on the neck. The author offers a superior method for learning the notes through the use of particular frets as reference points or “key frets.”

The preliminary exercise in the book familiarizes one with these key frets and their application in identifying notes at every point on the neck. After mastering the prescribed methodology, Anderson suggests a variety of ways in which to internalize this information. These exercises include visualization techniques, application of chord and scale shapes, randomization, and identifying notes (in real-time) during improvisation.

This book also explicates the need for complete knowledge of the neck. The application of such knowledge extends to composition, improvisation, notation, note-reading, communication with other musicians, and practically every aspect of musicianship.

So, as a teacher, why do I recommend this book? Because this is essential knowledge. Every piano player or horn player knows every note as they play it; it is a disgrace that most guitarists are completely ignorant of this basic and fundamental information.

Suitable for all skill levels of guitarists

Available at:


Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers, and Free Fusioneers: British Jazz, 1960-1975, by Duncan Heining. Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2012. ISBN#978-1-84553-405-9

Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers, and Free Fusioneers: British Jazz, 1960-1975, by freelance writer Duncan Heining, is a significant addition to the jazz literature. Consisting of fourteen chapters and 450 pages of text, Trad Dads focuses on the unique circumstances surrounding British jazz in the 1960s and first half of the 1970s. Heining investigates jazz as a musical, cultural, and economic phenomenon in the context of contemporary social realities in the United Kingdom. By comparing and contrasting the British jazz scene with its equivalents in continental Europe and the United States, the author makes a convincing argument that British jazz exhibits a unique and distinct history, evolution, value system, and musicality. Heining debunks any notion that British jazz of the period was merely an imitation of American jazz, either musically or culturally.

Though the book is quite dense, and the writing academic, Trad Dads should appeal to a wide cross-section of the jazz audience. It is a remarkable and comprehensive account of British jazz of the period, but its approach to the music in a cultural context provides value for researchers of any locale or period. Read the full review here.


98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Musicby Maceo Parker. Chicago Review Press, 2013. ISBN#1613743467

98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music, released in February 2013, is the autobiography of legendary funk saxophonist Maceo Parker. The writing is straightforward and engaging, often understated, and the two hundred pages go by quickly. Over the course of ten chapters, Parker provides a glimpse of his early life and influences, his experiences performing with artists including James Brown and George Clinton, and his gradual ascent to leading his own band. Parker’s uniquely laidback and sensible personality is present throughout, as is his commitment to his values, family, and music.

Parker covers pretty much everything in a roughly chronological breakdown of his life. His story begins with his childhood and early life in Kinston, North Carolina, growing up in a nurturing environment with supportive parents and siblings. The writing evokes an image of a young boy, drawn to music, first by the singing of his parents’ church choir, then by the sound of the piano, and finally by the allure of the marching band. By his sophomore year in high school, Parker’s band with his siblings and friends, the Mighty Blue Notes, were gigging around town…Click here to read the full review!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *