August 20, 2011

Now on to the other (book) stuff..

For those of you who know me, corresponded with me or read my blog or my forum, Dad's birthday this year was my projected target date for the release of Jimmy Raney's unfinished book. Alas it's still not done. It's painful to have to say that. Project management on self-produced work is a bitch. I can tell you it's getting close though and I've been putting in late nights to 2am after my day job and even teaching myself guitar. Sometimes, the reality is that the only time you can get work done is when you think you are going to run out of time.

So at least 2 weeks ago, I knew I would never make it, given the project scope I set out. So I just decided to approach it as if I had 2 months more. What could I do? I actually took the time away from feverish mania to finish the book(without hope) to write this post ahead of time. One of the pitfalls Internet and blogging is getting an inflated sense of self-importance. Perhaps few will notice. But this post is really for those who do notice. And given this project's announcment years ago, it's frankly a source of embarrassment for me. The book is not a fiction. It's reality. 10 Chapters long and 94 solid MS Word pages(projected to be 13 with final conclusion) And (At least I think) phenomenal in its fundamental premise. The issue is that the original work by Dad is only about 10% and the rest is by me. And my part needs to be at his requisite level. I've had several years to contemplate what people would want out of a book by and about Jimmy. That alone is the issue and the problem. I am the son of Jimmy Raney. I cannot put out common crap. It would be insult to Dad. It is NOT another book of transcriptions although there would be quite a few within it. It has chapters devoted to the principles of his style in detail with exercises.

Recently however, I have gained a realization that I was ignoring his primary audience, guitar players. Now in his "Scales?..." Youtube video, Jimmy states that "...he is a musician first and that being a guitar player is an accident". But this ignores the fact that guitar players are the ones that want to emulate him! So I started really examining his videos. Unfortunately there are very few videos and even fewer that show his picking hand clearly as well.This was in preparation to make a full tab and score chart with picking and fingering. I had to learn the neck of the guitar. But it's really catching a tiger by the tail and videos are not quite in sync if you slow them down. I now have an even greater appreciation for his art. He had PHENEMONAL technique and made it seem easy.

"Blah, blah, blah. So where is it at man??"

In the interest of full disclosure, let's just put the cards on the table. Instead of offering you new project dates let's take this approach. The original definition of "blog" was "weblog diary". Let me use this medium to tell you exactly what the book is, how much is there, and what needs to be finished "as it is happening". Below is the full outline plan. You should be able to see the progress as it happens on subsequen posts.

  • Introduction: He wrote one. Will use it (Status: finished, untyped)

  • My Introduction: Saving that for last once he whole thing (Status: not done)

  • Table of Contents: Saving that for last once he whole thing (Status: not done)


  • Jimmy Raney's Improvised Line, Edited & Updated
    Concepts in Recording

  • Chapter 1: Consructing and Editing Jazz Lines
  • (Status: done)
  • Chapter 2: Refining/Enhancing Lines with Rhythmic Devices
  • (Status: done)
    The first 2 chapters are essentially Dad's original work with some section titling an organizing added and "Things to Think About" (referred to later as TTTA) to end them (aft
  • Chapter 3: Sequnce & Development of Line (Status: done except for TTTA)
    This is the first chapter that starts to integrate his original work with some of my adds.

  • Chapter 4: Intervallic and Direction Variety in Line
  • (Status: done except TTTA)
  • Chapter 5: Jimmy Raney's Polyrhythmic Devices in Recordings

  • -background/history
    -polyrhythmic scale patterns
    -polyrhythmic arpeggio patterns
    -polyrhythmic phrase patterns
    -polythythmic blues lick patterns
    (Status: Mostly done. Needed: 4 needed music examples with accompanying verbiage, TTTA other small adds always possible but not crucial)

    This is the first complete addition on my part. His original section on "Wrong and Right" changes was unfinished and therefore omitted. His other parts with exercises and sample solos will be integrated into later sections near end.

  • Chapter 6: Jimmy Raney's Displacement Concepts in Recordings

  • -harmonic dislocation
    -add/subtract concepts
    -free/unresolved displacement
    (Status: done. needs TTTA)

  • Chapter 7: Jimmy Raney's Advanced Asymmetry and Polymetrics in Recordings

  • -concepts in practice
    -Parker's influence
    -more advanced exmaples
    (Statis: done. needs TTTA)
    I'm particularly proud of this one showing a crucial link between Parker and Jimmy


  • the Jimmy Raney Workbook:
    Primer and Practice Tips on the Elements of Jimmy Raney's Language

    This was sort of my "rebirth section" after writer's block hit from 2009-2010

  • Chapter 8: The Essential Elements of Jimmy Raney's phrases

  • - II-V "go-to" licks
    - Inverted chord lines
    - auxilliary tones (PT, NT, and turns)
    - Exercises 8A-C (based on above 3 sections)
    - Major Chord concepts
    - Minor chord concepts
    - Dominant chord concepts
    - Exercises 8D-F (based on above 3 sections)
    (Status: 80-90% done. Needed: minor, dominant concepts sections, Exercises 8D-F

    I stopped here and skipped to later chapters to prevent writer's block again. Pretty clear what I want to do. Some creative work is necessary though

  • Chapter 9: Compositional, Development and Phrasing Concepts

  • - diminution
    - set-up phrases
    - asymmetrical joins
    - Exercises 9A-C
    - sequence linked expansion
    - thematic contrasts & repetition
    - the undercurrent of "three"
    - Exercises 9D-F
    - question and answer
    - "drawing the harmony"
    - weakbeat emphasis
    - Exercises 9G-I
    (Status: ~85% done. Needed: weakbeat emphasis incomplete. Exs 9D-F, 9G-I

  • Chapter 10: The Raney Approach - Creating a Complete solo

  • - Ex 10-1 "Lady is a Tramp" Raney style solo
    - Ex 10-2 "Star Eyes" Raney "influenced" contemporary solo
    - Jimmy Raney's original book solos

    (Status: -90% done. Needed: transcribe Jimmy's orig. solos to music writer software

  • Chapter 11: Technical Stuff

  • - Transcribed solo(s?) with tabs, fingering, picking (where available)
    - Jimmy's original technical exercises

    (Status: `30-40% done(?). Needed: finish solo transcription #1, other vid solos ?(2,3?). Transcribe Jimmy's exercises to software. basic verbiage

  • Chapter 12: Transcribed Solos

  • - Jim's Tune
    - Cross Your Heart
    - Isn't It Romantic
    - Motion
    - Signal
    - Just One of Those Things (Norvo)
    - No Male for Me
    - Pennies from Heaven
    - The Flag is Up
    - Stella By Starlight (3) ...Tokyo, w/ Phil Woods, Strings & Swings
    - Anthropology
    - The Song is You (Birdland '52)
    - Anthropology

    95-98% done. I have other snippets of solos for book that I could turn into full transcriptions. probably will start offering online for donations though.

  • Final Thoughts
    (Status: 0%. concepts open)

    Beyond this.

    There are really important production issues that are uncharted waters for me.

    E-Book vs. printed copy. Both? One or other? not even dealt with yet
    Very complicated and some of has to do with time and money. Cd Baby's "Book Baby" program is an interesting option. Ironically the more sophisticated product might be the easiest and most secure way to produce. But regardless I will probably have to create (re-create) normalize for e-book:
    t-ext files,
    -music snippet graphics
    -music sound samples

    Then decide what is the best way to secure and produce print only copy. Separate production? Or have users click print on their e-book?

    Security. copyright issues (including my rights to use certain music?)

    Editorial review. I will be entrusting close friends to review work. This is standard for any book review process when you were previously the only editor. I'm hoping for the best here :)

    And maybe a slightly crucial point - WTF do I charge?

    As compensation for all of you dedicated followers begging me for the book and leaving empty handed, I am contemplating the following. I will probably offer teasers of some sort on certain chapters in the coming month (depending on progress). The likely offering will be e-book link style which would be an added enhancement of music samples. But if I outsource production I may let loose simple pdfs of partial chapters. TBD

    As an ongoing process, I will be offering transcriptions and later asking for donations to the Jimmy Raney via Paypal. The main hub will be It's in beta stage, but there are 2 solos there already (they are referenced above as well)

    So I hope his sits well with everyone. This weekend I will be adding a new Jimmy Raney video from Cal Collins gig that has never been seen.




FĂ©lix said...

Looking forward for it!

wizard3739 said...

Looks great to me, can hardly wait!


gary said...

hi Jon, looking forward to your book also and it's great to hear you're aware of your target audience and are including tab or at least some tab.

I think I can speak for many amateur guitar players trying to play jazz that tab is a pretty much a necessity for me. Even if it isn't necessarily the fingering your dad used, just from the standpoint of being such a poor reader and having to decipher notes it makes it much easier for us amateurs.

But being an hobbyist doesn't distract from knowing exceptional playing and your dad was certainly one of the most exceptional jazz guitarists ever.

best regards

Jon Raney said...

Hi Gary

Yes, Dad didn't include tab. But I agree there might be a need for it- even if it's a nod and this is confirmed by lookeing at guitar players who post "got tabs?" like the milk campaign...ha

It's a challenge for me, because I don't play. but a good one

I mean I suppose someone could just look at the video themselves but then that is generally true for all things - you could learn on your own but shortcuts are nice at least to start