Thank you, Carl Humphries, for this book. I have used similar techniques in teaching my students over the last 20 years. I have been trying to write this book for about 3 years, but find myself too damn busy teaching lessons and performing. This book includes everything, from the basics to the most advanced. AND, it doesn't ignore the 20th century. What I mean is that so much great music was made in jazz, rock and latin music in the past 100 years and I find that the local "Ivory Tower" (the BYU piano department) tends to either ignore it or pooh-pooh it.
Also, Humphries shows how these recent styles are related to their influences, including "classical" composers like Debussy and Schoenberg, without making the styles seem like lesser entities of their "legit" ancestors. Now I can start giving my students this book, instead of continuing to promise them that I'll get my book done--and then not delivering for God knows how many years.
My critiques of this book are that I wish there had been more emphasis on ear training, application of jazz voicings and structures and improvisation. There is a CD included, which I love, of all the written material in the text. But while Mr. Humphries does write that ear training is vital, there is little in the text to work with. I have my own approach to this, so it's okay, but I'd love to see it in his book because not only was it the original way to communicate music, it is also the more effective. Don't get me wrong; I am into the whole sight reading thing, but it is so limited in conveying emotion and "feel" that you can get from learning music by ear.
Also, he has a few exercises dealing with jazz voicing, but only from Bill Evans (who happens to be a brilliant example), but I find that quite limiting--especially when the book refers to so many other Early Jazz, Swing, Bop, Post Bop, West Coast and Modern Jazz players. Perhaps a rounding out of these ideas that Humphries brings up would make the book more complete--and that would go for the discussion of Latin and Rock as well.
While I appreciate the discussion of the various scales used in improvisation, I was disappointed to find little or no discussion on improvisation itself, which might include sections on motifs, motif development, counterpoint improvisation, 'comping, and include some transcriptions of great improvisors such as a few lines from Jarrett's Koln Concert.
All in all though, Humphries' book is (to use the critic's ancient term) a TRIUMPH! Bravo; I look forward to a second edition with more cool stuff.