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Improv Speed Builders Volume 5, “Nuts & Bolts”

Improv Speed Builders Volume 5, “Nuts & Bolts”

At last, a logical and methodical approach for developing high-tempo improv chops! Introducing Improv Speed Builders by Rich Willey, guaranteed to take you to the next level and beyond without all the frustration and guesswork you’ve probably already experienced.

Improv Speed Builders  comes in five volumes; Vol.5 includes a book of twelve cycles and turnaround written melodies with chord symbols transposed for C treble clef, C bass clef, B♭ instruments and E♭ instruments with over 17 hours of play-along tracks designed to take you from a snail’s pace all the way up to burning!

Here are the cycles covered in Volume 5:

1. Dominant Chords through Cycle of Fourths — harmonic rhythm in whole notes
2. Dominant Chords through Cycle of Fourths — harmonic rhythm in half notes
3. Descending Chromatic Dominant Chords — harmonic rhythm in whole notes
4. Descending Chromatic Dominant Chords — harmonic rhythm in half notes
5. “Fifth Minor” — four bar IIØ-V7s (a routine designed by the great Jack Petersen)
6. “Fifth Minor” — two bar IIØ-V7s
7. IIØ-V7-Im7 for half/half/whole notes through Cycle of Fourths — half notes on the II-V7s
8. IIm7-V7-I∆ Turnaround — harmonic rhythm in half notes
9. Ladybird Turnaround I∆-bIII7-bVI∆-bII7-I∆ — harmonic rhythm in half notes
10. #IVØ-VII7-IIIm7-VI7-IIm7-V7-I∆ Turnaround — harmonic rhythm in half notes
11. II-V7-I∆ Descending in whole steps — harmonic rhythm in half notes starting on C
12. II-V7-I∆ Descending in whole steps — harmonic rhythm in half notes starting on B

Each cycle has five accompaniment tracks, the first starting at ♩=80 and creeping up one beat-per-minute (bpm) for sixty choruses (ending up at 140 bpm). The second track starts at ♩=120, the third track at ♩=160, the fourth track at ♩=200, and the fifth track at ♩=240. The tempo overlap between the tracks helps you ease into the higher velocities more gracefully.

The suggested strategy for getting through each play-along track is this: by playing through one cycle and resting for a cycle (or trading with a practice partner or scatting every other cycle) your chops will be able to rest as much as you play so you can go on much longer than you might think you can. Also, it’s the perfect vehicle for spending equal time on all your instruments, i.e. once on trumpet, rest for a cycle while picking up your flugelhorn and then play a cycle, rest for a cycle while grabbing your cornet for the next cycle, etc. Or it can be a great way to spend equal amounts of time rotating through your various mutes that you might not remember to practice between gigs. The possibilities are endless with this series!

The tempo increase is not an accelerando; each imperceptible tempo change happens precisely at the beginning of the next chorus so you are always holding a steady tempo. The tempo increases incrementally every twelve bars so you really don’t even notice, but the next thing you know you’re negotiating changes at a much faster tempo than you ever thought you could!
Made using ProTools with real instrument sounds for your play-along tracks, this volume also includes a full set of MIDI files in case you want to practice for a long stretch at one tempo using your preferred sequencing program or Band-In-A-Box to set the tempo where you want it.

This volume is digitally downloadable directly to your computer. Digital downloads are nonrefundable, nonreturnable and nonexchangeable. Allow up to 24 hours after ordering to receive your download link.


“Rich, this is very overdue and much needed material for me to stop taking solos in my big band only when the tempo, the chord changes and the star alignment are favorable! I am awestruck by the amount of knowledge combined with genuine artistry that you put into creating these materials. These volumes should be compulsory for any wannabe trumpeter out there daring to improvise in public (oh, oh, I have a gig tonight, better get busy right now)!” — Pierre Cerasi, trumpeter, Norway


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