By Skip Spratt
Jody Espina of JodyJazz Mouthpieces has recently released his newest publication In the Funk Zone with George Garzone. The set of two Instructional DVDs features Garzone on tenor as well as a formidable rhythm section including Mike Stern; guitar, John Patitucci bass; Rollins Ross; keyboards and Kenwood Dennard on drums.
Espina began to branch out and build upon his successful line of saxophone and clarinet mouthpieces about two years ago. The first educational DVD released by JodyJazz Inc is The Music of George Garzone & The Triadic Chromatic Approach. It is a wonderful window into the music and approach of this legendary performer and educator.
The newest release, In the Funk Zone with George Garzone begins with more tangible concepts such as the pentatonic scale suited to improvisers of any level. The method progresses up to and through uses of advanced chromaticism which will challenge more advanced players. It is important to note that the emphasis is also on the straight eighth note over these funk grooves.
The two disc set is packed full of helpful instruction and information on the subject of funk improvisation and the grooves associated with that music. Disc 1 contains 6 Chapters with transcriptions, exercises, examples, play alongs and more. The written examples can be viewed or printed from the included E-Book included on Disc 2. The second disc also provides the play alongs and opportunity for trading back and forth with Stern and Garzone. Lastly, each member of the group offers and insightful look into funk music through their video interviews.
As with the first release from JodyJazz Inc, this DVD was filmed and recorded with a three camera shoot live at Systems Two in NYC. Jody Espina has taken great care to capture the spontaneity of the performances by eliminating the use of overdubbing altogether.
As of this writing I have viewed only a sampling of In the Funk Zone with George Garzone I look forward to working through the entire contents of the 2 DVD set – something that should prove to be helpful and enjoyable for both me and my students!
You can find out more about In the Funk Zone with George Garzone and Trading with the Greats at JodyJazz.com