You might find it a bit odd that I chose to review a book by Jan Rivera named "Advanced Rhythmic Concepts for Guitar." After all, jazz saxophone is my specialty. The topic of his book was neither saxophone or jazz improvisation.
I was immediately intrigued, however, as I began glancing through the book. I quickly realized that although it was labeled as a guitar book, the concepts it addressed could easily be applied by all advancing musicians, jazz or otherwise, interested in expanding their understanding of rhythm and time. In fact, I used only my voice and a metronome when working through the exercises.
The book focuses on metric modulation, various aspects of polyrhythm, and polymeter. While these terms may seem foreign to many, Rivera does an excellent job of explaining the concepts through examples and exercises using rhythmic ratios based on common denominators including quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, and sixteenth notes. There are also downloadable demonstrations that help to insure that the reader understands how things should sound.
After working through the exercises, I took several of the concepts to the practice room and included them in my improvisation practice. I can't say that I internalized everything quickly, but I can say that I now have some new fuel for the practice room fire.I also have a better idea of how to go about creating and understanding polyrhythms and determining their ratios.
Make no bones about it, this book is not a basic beginner or even intermediate book. You will need a solid foundation in time and rhythm to reap the full benefits it has to offer.
Regardless of your instrument or the style of music you play, "Advanced Rhythmic Concepts for Guitar" is highly recommended for players looking to gain a greater understanding of complex rhythmic possibilities.