Archive for the ‘e-books’ Category is up!

February 10, 2012

New website for the book and blog! Two URLs point to it:

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“The Improvising Chef-Making Healthy Food Tasty” Available now!

October 11, 2011

It's Out! Download $18

The Improvising Chef – Making Healthy Food Tasty
Bassist/author/chef Jon Burr lays out a sustainable, enjoyable path to optimum nutrition, taste, body weight, and health.

“There’s no other book like this.  I will personally recommend this—not only to my patients who need to incorporate healthy, palatable and enjoyable eating habits to reduce their cerebro-vascular and cardiovascular risk factors—but also to everyone who will come across my path.”

—Arlyn Valencia, M.D. Neurologist, Stroke Subspecialist

“Jon claims to be making healthy food tasty.  Personally, I think he’s making tasty food healthy!  Either way, this engaging, insightful, beautiful and clearly heart-felt work is aimed right at the sweet spot, where the food we love – loves us back.  I endorse that destination, as well as Jon’s joyfully improvisational means of getting us there!”

-David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP

Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center

The Author

Jon Burr is a bassist, composer, teacher, author, producer, engineer, chef, and dad. Active in the creative arts since childhood, he sat in for Charlie Mingus (by Mingus’ invitation) at the Village Vanguard at the age of 16, and went on to play with jazz greats such as Buddy Rich, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Stephane Grappelli, and pop artists such as Tony Bennett, Eartha Kitt, Rita Moreno, Barbara Cook and many others. Also active composing and leading his own ensembles, he recently released an EP of his new band Giant Cicada.

Jon’s interest in food began with fish he caught and cooked as a child. Struggling throughout childhood with weight and fitness, his early efforts to get in shape met with frustration until influential mentors in later years inspired his study of food and nutrition. Suspecting he was an “easy gainer,” then later on as a cancer survivor, Jon’s discoveries in facing these challenges led to the knowledge collected in this book. Also informed by his experience as an improvising jazz musician, the book shows the path to an enjoyable, sustainable lifestyle-based approach to food, nutrition and exercise. His stamina and youthfulness belie his 58 years, wearing 32” pants at 5”10. Find him on the web at

Review of “The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass” in Bass World Magazine

September 4, 2011

[Bass World Magazine is the publication of The International Society of Bassists. This review appeared in the August issue, Vol 35, #1, pp 54-55]

The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass

– Jon Burr

jbQ Media


32 pages

Jon Burr is a noted first call bassist in the New York area, having performed with such jazz greats as Horace Silver, Stan Getz, Tony Bennett, and Chet Baker. This brief but highly informative book is one of a written series concerning melodic bass lines and improvisation. This is not a book for beginners. Knowledge of jazz harmony and chord changes is necessary. Knowing that, through this book Jon will give you many great ideas on how to “learn how to think like a composer of bass lines, how to plan ahead, and make choices that are appropriate to the style of the song.”

As with many authors of education books, Jon uses his own terms to describe his musical ideas. These terms work very well in defining his methods of developing bass lines. There are two sections of the book. In section one, Jon lays out his ideas on what notes to use for bass lines, starting with “Anchor Notes (the root),” “Pivot Notes,” and “Lead-ins.” A fascinating insight used in this book is the introduction of the use of rhythmic accents in even the most basic of bass lines. In his first example, which is the repeated root note of the chords that make up the first four bars of a twelve-bar -blues, the second and fourth beats are written as accented. As stated, “The use of accents is an essential parameter in establishing ‘feel,’ or style.” Though only hinted on in the beginning, the idea of accents is developed very convincingly throughout the book. Most books teaching bass lines stay within the harmonic aspects of the development of the line, and discuss the use of rhythm in the context of style (latin, funk, etc.). Jon brings both concepts together, showing us how rhythm and accents can make a more supportive, musical line.

Jon uses the concept of “tension and release” in discussing his ideas of melody. Through the use of the aforementioned “Pivot notes” and “Lead-ins,” these notes are used to develop your melodic bass line, and there are many good examples in this section. Section two begins with a very convincing argument about “swing.” In brief, instead of pulling against the pulse of the music, Jon shows how to create tension and release through the use of accents and regrouping of rhythms for a more effective line. By analyzing where accents are and what goes before and after, and the placement of offbeat notes as compared to the downbeat notes, the book makes a very compelling thesis in the art of swing! Also discussed in this section is what Jon calls “Rhythmic Overlays;” rhythms that come from lyrics, “second line” rhythms, or the “clave” form found in Afro-Cuban music. From these rhythms, the bassist can come up with lines that complement and support the music. The last concept, called “Harmonic Dynamics,” deals with dynamics, techniques of how to achieve them, and the use of note placement to bring out dynamics.

This book would be a great addition to anyone’s library as another way of looking at how to develop bass lines that are interesting, imaginative, and above all musical and melodic. The section on swing is highly recommended for study, not only for bassists, but all jazz musicians. Jon’s comments on the “Basie” style of swing are very eye-opening and informative. You can also read about the book on Facebook, and catch up with Jon ‘s blog at

– Review by Lou Pappas, Bass World Magazine

(Available for purchase here)

The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass – pdf online here!

June 2, 2009
The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass

The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass

“Jon has come up with a great book for bassists, and anyone else for that matter, which delves into the construction of compelling bass lines. He is very thorough in his approach talking about what the bassist does and all the why’s and how’s. Jon is a great musician, and his take on this subject matter is a welcome addition to the topic.”

 – Bob Mintzer, Grammy-winning saxophonist/composer/educator


“Jon Burr shares valuable secrets of jazz bass playing, and he writes in a clear and direct manner. This book will help students and pros alike in developing swinging, melodic and groove bass lines. “

– Ted Rosenthal, pianist, composer and instructor at Juilliard School of Music

“After decades as a first-call bassist on the New York jazz scene, Jon Burr reveals his concepts and musical wisdom in this concise and easy to understand tutorial. A must-have for the aspiring jazz bassist. “

– John Goldsby, author: The Jazz Bass Book

“If you want to be a creative BASS player, this is the book for you.”

– Houston Person, saxophonist/producer/jazz master

“I finally had the time to actually play thru the book thorougly… it’s fantastic. It’s great to see someone addressing in print the stuff that makes melody sound so great. I love that last paragraph…It’s great to have stuff that veteran bassists learn to do intuitively explained in clear, logical language. It’s a wonderful, and as far as I know, unique, book.”

– John Loehrke, bassist and educator

“Jon has made a science of of building bass lines with his extensive professional experience. With this Gem-of-a-book, he turns it into an understandable language, then into a practical application. It’s broken down to the responsibilities of the Bass Player and, where he has freedom within the bass line.” It’s a must-have publication for any bassist.”

– Morrie Louden, bassist, composer and recording artist

“Jon has taken his years of experience and turned them into a clear and concise method for studying the bass.”

– Ben Wolfe

“The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass is an outstanding rethinking of how expert jazz bassists actually conceptualize and navigate chord changes. Written from the perspective of a seasoned jazz veteran but set forth in a straightforward and engaging fashion, this book is an excellent addition to the library of any jazz bass student or teacher.”

– Jason Heath, bassist, instructor, host/author of

Available on the Amazon Kindle Store, and coming soon in print on Amazon!

Jon Burr e-Books available online

January 12, 2009

Rhythmic and Melodic Development In The Construction of Bass Lines
pdf download $5.75
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Written for Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conference in 2003, this book explores techniques and examples for the development of bass lines, along with general discussion about the role of the bass in the ensemble

Another Look at Melodic Construction in Improvisation
pdf download $5.75
 Add to Cart
Further explorations in the methods actually used by real jazz musicians to create melodies – not a book of patterns or chordal scales, but of melodic ornamentation of harmony

    “Jon is a truly inspiring teacher; watch him give a lesson, and you’ll want to play bass. Jon finds what you need and knows how to help you get it. The improvement my son has made since studying with Jon is amazing.”
    Eric Nebbia

    From Henry D’Allacco, bass student:
    I’ve been studying with Jon for a few months now and I can’t say enough good things. First off, he is a phenomenal bass player and songwriter, but more importantly, he is also an excellent teacher. His vast knowledge of musical construction makes every lesson an exciting experience. Jon has helped me improve my playing and get me to the next level. Simply put, Jon is awesome! If you want to start playing bass, or if you’ve been playing for a while and want to learn more, Jon will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need.

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