Greg Fishman has released the next installment of his unique approach to jazz saxophone playing. His newest creation is a book and play-along CD set entitled Hip Licks for Saxophone. The book itself has quickly grown a bit of a cult following, now enjoying it’s own fame on Facebook . Many new owners of this book have uploaded pictures of themselves posing with the book in many scenic locations. Dogs have even been photographed fetching the book for their saxophone-touting owners. The marketing hype is all in good fun and this clichéd title should not fool you – it’s the real deal!

Greg Fishman - Hip Licks

His first two books Jazz Saxophone Etudes Vol. 1 and Jazz Saxophone Duets, both received critical acclaim by teachers and players alike. James Moody, Jerry Coker, Plas Johnson, Mark Colby, Gary Campbell and Bob Sheppard as well as the late Michael Brecker have all shared their praise for Fishman’s books. Fishman subsequently released two additional jazz etude books, Jazz Saxophone Etudes Vol. 2 and Jazz Saxophone Etudes Vol. 3.

Each of Greg Fishman’s books is an outstanding gem with comprehensive information from explanation to play-along. Not only is the information there for the taking but also Fishman’s demonstrations on both tenor and alto saxophone are swinging and flawless. His sound and pitch is something any teacher should have absolutely no trouble telling a student to use as a model while playing along at home. Fishman sounds equally adept on both the alto and tenor saxophone voices. Hip Licks for Saxophone is no exception to the high quality and consistency of Fishman’s earlier teaching. He has however raised the bar quite a bit in this newest method.

Greg Fishman’s Hip Licks for Saxophone offers 40 packed pages of major, minor, dominant, diminished and augmented licks (riffs or patterns). They are more importantly presented in an organized and logical order. Fishman places his examples within sequences and turnarounds commonly found in the jazz language.

Like many impatient students, I jumped right into playing the first examples with the play-along CD. There are four CDs that accompany the book. Two are for alto and two for tenor sax. Each offers slow and fast versions as well as rhythm section only tracks. After getting a good feel for the materials at hand, I decided to look more carefully at the preface, introductory pages and even YouTube videos offered by Greg Fishman.

Upon closer inspection, it became clear that Hip Licks for Saxophone could be used in a variety of ways. Greg Fishman’s online video presentation is clear and concise and a must to view along with the book. His video comments echo the all-important “Suggested Use of This Book and CD Set” as well as “Working with the Licks” sections.

The four CDs, one each for alto and tenor, feature Fishman along with Dennis Luxion on piano, Eric Hochberg on bass and Phil Gratteau on drums. The world-class rhythm section swings hard as Fishman demonstrates each “lick” succinctly and with great precision on both alto and tenor saxophones.

Greg Fishman has consistently demonstrated that he is a driving force in jazz saxophone education over the last decade. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for jazz and saxophone have ensured a place in jazz pedagogy for a long time to come. Hip Licks for Saxophone is another “MUST HAVE” for any saxophonist, teacher or student of the instrument.

ss (here’s me with my book – couldn’t resist!)