The Jazz Rhythm Section: A Manual for Band Directors

 In my Jazz Pedagogy course, I've noticed that non-jazz majors have a particularly hard time understanding the Jazz Rhythm and I have devoted a number of articles to the topic that have resulted in the publication of my book "The Jazz Rhythm Section: A Manual for Band Directors", published by Rowman & Littlefield in conjunction with the National Association for Music Education.   

The rhythm section is the foundation of any jazz group and strengthening this section will result in a stronger-sounding band. The Jazz Rhythm Section is intended to be a practical guide, with chapters on each of the primary instruments in the rhythm section: bass, drums, piano, and guitar. Key topics include:  

  • Equipment and setup issues—from drum heads to bass amps to guitar pickups to miking a piano on stage, each instrument presents unique equipment issues that the director will face.  
     
  • Performance practice— including tips on constructing walking bass lines, learning voicings and comping rhythms, and creating drummers’ setup fills.  
     
  • A chapter on the rhythm section details all of the interrelationships between the members of the group, suggestions for count offs, and metronome exercises. The Jazz Rhythm Section is intended for novice directors, but directors of all levels will benefit as well. 

Order here.

I recommend The Jazz Rhythm Section to all band directors, as a reference guide to a more meaningful understanding of the roles, function, and importance of a jazz rhythm section!” —Justin DiCioccio, Associate Dean Emeritus, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Program   

This book is a welcome addition to the subject of jazz pedagogy. Thorough and well laid out with clear and necessary information for anyone leading a jazz ensemble.” —Dave Rivello, Assistant Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Media, Eastman School of Music  

The foundation for this book comes from my background in guitar, piano, and drums but also from my interest in musical instrument technology.  Dealing with instrument issues is a task that all band directors must face and jazz rhythm section present unique challenges which I focus on.  I have also presented conference papers on the topics: “Equipment Technology and Technique in Jazz Bass History” at BASSEUROPE in 2018, and “Music Equipment Technology and Jazz History” at the Jazz Education Network in 2019.

Click below to download pdfs of my work in this area.