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jazz done this way before and it's a very useful approach to the subject.
As for the chapter on improvisation, I think this is a very, very wonderful idea. I know that when a musician plays a solo he does some things, some effects, that are so personal that if you write them out for someone who has never heard the original, they would have a tough time duplicating it from just looking at the music. If the solo is by some great individual artist like Charlie Parker or Cootie Williams or Johnny Hodges, it would be very difficult to get the same feeling again. However, when you are studying this music without trying to duplicate it, and particularly if you have the record to listen to along with looking at the music, it becomes very fascinating.
It's pretty strange to look at your own solos. When I looked at the solo from Jessica's Day that's reproduced in this book, my first reaction was "Wow! Did I play that?" But then I listened to the record and looked at the music again and I found out it was accurate. You can see and hear all the notes, and Leonard Feather explains all about the passing chords and everything, which is very important, because in jazz you are always using these chords to find a new route to travel. It's like walking into the future. The guy that has the perception to get there more smoothly than another guy, and to reach out in a new direction along this route, is the one who's creating something.
I have known Leonard Feather since my very, very early history, when I was on 52nd Street with Oscar Pettiford. In fact, it was Oscar who was responsible for bringing him in to hear me at the Onyx Club. He gave us a lot of write-ups in the early days and helped the new movement quite a bit. He was a very early booster of Charlie Parker and, in fact, all the modern cats. He has heard all the musicians and their records all the way back to the early days of Louis Armstrong and the other pioneers, and he knows their stories and their place in the scene. He has don© an excellent job in The Book of Jazz, and I think it will be a very valuable addition to our literature on the subject. I hope it can be used as a searchlight along the route for that walk into the future.
NEW YORK, 1957