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"Just Jazz Guitar"



Welcome Jazz Guitar Fans...

"Just Jazz Guitar at Vision Music" is a popular addition to the site, created so that I could provide an interactive online learning experience to match my lesson articles in this fine publication. Here you'll be able to hear the lesson, each one originally from the popular "Lessons by Mail" program, presented in a quartet format.

You can also study the individual elements at a slower pace with a "virtual" metronome, as well as view and print the lesson charts. As an added bonus, a trio jam track is readily available for you to immediately apply what you've learned.

Note: The first lesson in this series (see below) is FREE to all website fans, to give you an idea of the value behind these interactive online lessons with multiple study options. The remaining lessons are available for Vision Music Members only. For member info, click here.



Lesson One (November 2001)...

"Bird Magic" is a three-part discourse based on the legendary alto saxophone giant, Charlie Parker, and an extraordinary concept that he used for getting "outside" the harmony when improvising over two-five (II-V) changes, a progression critical to jazz soloists. The casual student will pick up a minimum of ten superb licks courtesy of Bird, however the ambitious player can easily walk away with over FIFTY classic moves for present and future solos, not to mention the overall theoretical concept and a horn player's knack for economics and some "call & response" phrasing.

Add all of the above to the easy visual translation to the guitar and what do you get?


by Mark Stefani


Ready? CLICK HERE to Begin!


"As a strong advocate of conveying usable information quickly and efficiently, I must loudly applaud the lesson that Mark Stefani has prepared for JJG - this is a home run! I would certainly urge every guitarist seeking information to take advantage of this learning resource without delay!"

- Robert Conti (Jazz Guitarist/Educator - L.A.)


"Guitarists wishing to expand their musical vocabulary will find the new jazz lesson series in JJG by Mark Stefani an indispensable resource indeed. A world-class guitarist and respected educator, Stefani makes apt use of his literary prowess. His clear, concise and informative manner are not only musically thought provoking but also assist the guitarist in opening yet another door into the genius of several jazz legends!"

- Jim LaDiana (Music Journalist - N.Y.)


"Anyone who has visited "" is aware of the tremendous service Mark Stefani provides to the music public in general, and the music student in particular. His website is a treasure trove of useful and practical musical information and material.

This latest installment in his ongoing series on "Jazz Improvisation", "Bird Magic" is no exception. Clearly grasping the overwhelming impact Charlie Parker has had on Jazz in the last fifty-plus years, Mark has found a unique and effective way of presenting this essential material. Learning "licks" is one thing; incorporating them into one's playing, and using them as a "take-off" point to create original improvisations, is quite another. In "Bird Magic" Mark Stefani shows you the way!"

- Joe Giglio (Jazz Guitarist/Educator - N.Y.)



Lesson Two (February 2002)...

"Trane Techniques" is a highly unique, four-part lesson that borrows liberally from the "sheets of sound" concept, popularized by legendary saxophonist John Coltrane in his famous "Giant Steps" solo.

However, rather than applying the concepts to the progression that they came from, this lesson uses a pair of modern turnaround formulas (using substitutions in the key of C), that can be applied to countless scenarios facing the aspiring jazz improviser.

But there's much more to this JJG lesson than just two turnaround licks. With the included variations provided, the student is encouraged to create seemingly endless combinations of turnarounds, potentially over 3000 ideas stemming from this giant of jazz!


by Mark Stefani


All set? CLICK HERE to Begin!

And more...

Bonus! Putting it all together in this lesson, the fourth segment uses the progression from Ellington's classic "Take the A Train" to combine elements from both "Bird Magic" and "Trane Techniques" (click above to see and hear for yourself).

"Walkin' With Trane" is another bonus for site members and magazine subscribers, an online interactive version of my "Giant Steps" walking bass (with chords) rhythm arrangement, also featured in the February 2002 issue of the magazine.

So put on your walking shoes and click here!


Lesson Comments...

Mark Stefani's "Trane Techniques" is a truly eye-opening concept for the student jazz guitarist. If an inspired student studies the diatonic harmony of Charlie Parker, then at some point he or she will want to delve a little into the harmonic complexities of John Coltrane. Mark lays it all out clearly with classic examples.

Another great lesson from a great teacher. Now go buy all of Trane's records!"

- Chris Standring (Jazz Guitarist/Educator - L.A.)


I tip my hat to Mark Stefani's "Trane Techniques." It represents an invaluable asset for the serious student to expand his means of expression on the guitar. It is also a very effective tool on the Blues form - the true life line of Jazz. Another great contribution from one of the best teachers in the business, the man with the Vision, Mark Stefani!"

- Ulf Wakenius (Jazz Guitarist with Oscar Peterson)



February 2002 Cover Story...

We recently received permission from JJG to reprint the entire Robert Conti interview!

As you probably know, "The Interview" was conducted by Vision Music founder Mark Stefani, and is available FREE online. Ready for some "site-reading?" Just click here!



Lesson Three (May 2002)...

"If Wes Did Miles?" is yet a third study in adapting the music of a historically famous horn figure to jazz guitar, in this case trumpet legend Miles Davis.

This three-part lesson begins with the first chorus of Miles' classic "Freddie Freeloader" solo, recorded on the epic "Kind of Blue" release on Verve in 1959. In the second part, octaves ala Wes Montgomery are explained and introduced to the solo. Finally, chord punches are added for "call & response" effect.

This lesson comes complete with audio, metronome, and jam track options. Have fun!


by Mark Stefani


Ready? CLICK HERE to Begin!

Also in this edition...

"Anticipation" is just one of many latin originals that I've written over the past twenty years, the majority of them influenced by the legendary Brazilian composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, who also had a significant impact on the compositions of my late father.

This tune, arranged for the fingerstyle guitarist and presented in a trio format, is featured in the May 2002 issue of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine. For other compositions by yours truly, colleagues, and students, be sure to visit the "Special Spotlight" page. Enjoy!



"The Influence of Horn Players on Guitarists" (by Steve Khan)

Like most of my guitar contemporaries, I envy the fact that the saxophone family and the trumpet are wind instruments, and not too far removed from the human voice; that most expressive of all 'instruments.' And so, in order to come close to accomplishing this, we must seek to play and phrase in a manner which gives a sense of breathing. If, in some way, we are not 'singing' what we are playing, breathing life into a melody or an improvisation, taking breaths between the phrases, then we are not beginning to come close to what great horn playing is about.

It is also essential to try and emulate the legato phrasing of horns, that is to say, we must attempt to eliminate picked strokes wherever possible. This is what smoothes out the phrases and allows the notes to rhythmically run together, more or less, without seams. When you do this, it gives the notes you actually attack more weight and import, and it is these notes which now serve as contrast, not the other way around.

Beyond this, when speaking specifically about the artistry and individuality of a player like Miles Davis, perhaps his greatest trait which we could aspire to would be his sense of space and timing, his placement of the notes. It's not something so specific that one can just listen to his recordings and 'cop it.' It's much more than that, but with time spent listening, you might capture your own sense of what his spirit was about, and then transmit that through your own playing. When I listen to him play, especially his playing from the Columbia years, I somehow always see a little boy, alone in his room, just playing his trumpet. And that is a feeling I can easily and always connect with for I understand it well.

-- Steve Khan (Guitarist & Author) New York City, April 2002

Note: A very special thanks to my good friend, Steve Khan, for supporting our efforts at Vision Music, and for contributing his insightful thoughts on such a valuable subject, strongly related to all of the above lesson editions for Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.

Be sure to visit Mr. Khan's website at You'll discover a wealth of transcribed solos, original songs, books, and more.

-- Mark Stefani



Lesson Four (August 2002)...

"Jazz Oscar Style" marks the release date of my fourth lesson edition for Just Jazz Guitar, where we shift the focus away from horn influences and discuss the impact of Oscar Peterson and jazz piano on our instrument.


by Mark Stefani


Ready? CLICK HERE to Begin!

This month's 'bonus' composition...

"Blues for Oscar" is a piece written as a tribute to Oscar Peterson many years ago, featuring counterpoint between a piano solo and a bass line heavily influenced by the late Ray Brown.

This tune, arranged for the solo fingerstyle guitarist, is also featured in the August 2002 issue of Just Jazz Guitar. Discover this and many other works at our "Special Spotlight" page.


Lesson Comments...

"Mark Stefani's information on Oscar Peterson is invaluable to guitarists who want to expand and learn to think not just from a guitar-related point of view. Great ideas from a jazz master straight to your guitar!"

- Henry Johnson (Jazz Guitarist - Chicago)



Why waste time? Learn from the best...

"Teacher Feature" is where you'll find additional Vision Music lessons by such luminaries as George Benson, Robert Conti, Hank Garland, Joe Giglio, Joe Diorio, and other players often seen in your favorite magazine. Enjoy!


Ed Benson is the founder and publisher of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine. If you're a fan of jazz guitar but unaware of this publication, I highly recommend that you subscribe to the #1 periodical devoted to the field. Click on any of the images above to visit the JJG site.

"Blues for Mister Ed" is an original bebop blues tribute dedicated to Ed Benson, for giving me the opportunity to contribute my knowledge to his fine magazine. It was published in the November 2002 issue of Just Jazz Guitar. More originals? "Special Spotlight" page.

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