I created this resources page to help you with deciding what tools, services, and sites to go to and use. I personally know how stressful and frustrating it is to make a choice on what to use or buy. With all the tools and services available now a days, it’s real easy to get overwhelmed. Hopefully this page will ease your mind a bit.
I’ll be adding more to it as I learn and test out new things. In future posts I will reference this page quite often, so I recommend bookmarking it for your own personal reference and convenience. Thanks!
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are all things that I currently use or have used before and I am recommending them because they are helpful and are companies that I trust, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products and services.
I find myself recommending these resources again and again, in emails and on podcasts. I use them because they make my life and business easier, and I’m confident you’ll agree too.
Jamey Aebersold Play Alongs: These are great tools for jazz students looking to practice tunes or concepts with a professional rhythm section. These book and recording sets have been invaluable to me and are still the best in the business in my opinion. Some of the volumes that I recommend are, Joe Henderson, Jerry Bergonzi, and Miles Davis. The first two are a little more advanced, but very valuable in my opinion!
You will see that I have other sources of play alongs, but when I really want a swinging rhythm section to play with, I always come back to these as they can’t be beat in terms of quality musicians.
iReal Pro: This app is something I use every single day in my life as a musician. You can think of this app as a virtual real book, play along, and general practice tool that I would have trouble living without. You can store thousands upon thousands of tunes in the virtual real book which is a great tool to have on gigs where you may be uncomfortable with the songs or keys that you are playing. The one limiting caveat is that there are no melodies, but having the chords can be a life saver in many situations. The kicker is, any tune that you have in the real book can instantly be turned into a play along. It might be midi, but they have been improving it steadily since the app was released and you can put any tune in any key and practice it at any tempo. Pretty amazing stuff if you ask me. You can also input your own tunes and exercises using the chart builder which gives you unlimited flexibility with this app. For $12.99 this is one of the best investments you can make when it comes to being a better musician.
The Real Books: When you need a traditional paper real book, there is no better way to go than the Hal Leonard versions. They have many different editions with almost any tune you can imagine and this is where I learn all of my repertoire. These are the updated, legal versions of the old school real books that were created at Berklee in the 70’s.
The chords and melodies are extremely accurate and well done, these books are a must for any jazz musicians library. Technology is a wonderful thing, but books such as these are still great things to have on your shelf.
They also come in any key that your instrument happens to be in including bass clef, Bb, and Eb instruments. Grab a copy today if you’re looking for the best real books out there.
Jerry Bergonzi Inside Improvisation Series: I’m from the Boston area and Jerry Bergonzi is a musical and educational legend around here. I have had the pleasure of taking a couple of lessons from this amazing musician, and they were worth their weight in gold.
These books are very close to taking lessons from the man himself and it’s pretty much impossible not to gain something from these volumes. They also come with amazing play alongs that feature each tune at different tempos to utilize in your practicing.
There are at least five different volumes, all essential in my opinion. Jerry is not one of the most in demand teachers and players in the world for no reason. Get these books today!
Non-Music Related: These resources are what I used to build the 10 Minute Jazz Lesson. For all of you business minded folks out there, these resources will provide you with the tools to start or improve your business and take you to the next level!
Blue Host: Click on the picture to get hosting services from the best company around. Blue Host will give you everything you need to start that blog or website you have always been dreaming of. I have tried many different web companies and Blue Host is by far the best one. Get your business off the ground today!
Podcaster’s Paradise: Let’s face it, Podcasting is the new radio. Sure our grandparents might not know what it is, but the fact you are on this site right now means you listen to podcasts and millions of others do too! I feel that anyone knows enough to start a podcast about something. When you want to get serious about podcasting, consider joining Podcaster’s Paradise. This is a great community that will teach you how to build and promote a podcast from the ground up.
The Tim Ferriss Show: Tim Ferriss is a machine. One of the most successful businessmen in the world today and also very entertaining. This Podcast has nothing to do with music but Tim is committed to finding the best people in the world at what they do and digging into their thoughts and process. He interviews some seriously heavy hitters and I think that anyone, regardless of what they do can gain something from listening to this show. I’m also going to recommend his book in my recommended books section!
Saxophone Related: I’m a saxophone player, so naturally, I want to recommend some saxophone products that I find very useful in my life. This is some of the equipment I use that I have spent years searching for. You always need to try equipment to find what works for you and you may be completely different from me, but I want to share what works for me in case you find something you love that will make playing your instrument that much easier.
Jody Jazz Mouthpieces: These are the best mouthpieces I have ever played. In the past, I have always struggled with finding the right mouthpiece that is consistent and has all of the characteristics I need to play in many different situations. About 6 years ago, I found these mouthpieces and they are the only things that have touched my mouth ever since. I highly recommend the HR * series, but there are many to choose from.
Selmer Saxophones: Selmer has long made THE saxophones that make history. There are probably more Selmer saxophones on famous recordings than any other in the world. They are still churning out great products and are still considered to be some of the best in the world.
Rico Jazz Select: This is another situation where I have tried everything under the sun and settled on these reeds as my consistent choice. They come in a variety of styles and strengths including filed an unfiled models. They give me a clear, consistent tone and I have found that I get considerably less duds in a package than any other reed I have experienced.
Books: Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I find myself reading many books that have nothing to do with music and more to do with business and entrepreneurship these days. I think all of us musicians would benefit from reading these books that I will list and will help your business, whether it be teaching, performing, or writing, to grow more than you thought possible!
The Four Hour Work Week: Tim Ferriss has knocked it out of the park with this book. While everything may not be directly applicable to us musicians, the productivity hacks in this book are worth the price of admission. It doesn’t matter what you do, this book will contain something useful for you, guaranteed!
The Go Giver: Bob Burg writes a beautiful story about how in business and life, when you give you get. This is a short but powerful read that demonstrates the road to success is paved with helping others get what they want in order to get what you want. It’s a beautiful book and I have read it many times throughout the years to remember to come from a place of giving.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Stephen Covey examines the habits and psyche of people who have become very effective people. This will turbocharge everything you do and is an extremely insightful read to make you examine many parts of your life that could use some examining. If you don’t get anything out of this book, you must be perfect!
The Power Of Broke: Daymond John is on top of the world right now. From starring on Shark Tank to owning many successful companies he is a force in the world of business. Many don’t know he started from nothing selling hats on the streets of Queens. If your broke, learn to harness that power and realize you have nothing to lose! Hard work and persistence pays off and this is one of my top reads for 2016.