How to Improvise by Hal Crook

6 mins read

Last Updated on September 16, 2022

The first volume of Hal Crook’s How to Improvise contains four sections, including Creative Comping For Improvisation. These sections teach creative comping for improvisation by incorporating rhythmic displacements, re-harmonizations, and modal soloing. In volume 1, the soloist is accompanied by a pitch axis accompaniment that sustains a chromatic note for two and a half minutes without tempo. Practicing modal soloing with this accompaniment can be particularly helpful.

Creative Comping For Improvisation

If you’ve ever been frustrated by your lack of ability to find the right accompaniment to a song, Creative Comping For Improvisation is the right book for you. Not only is it jam packed with practical exercises and plenty of recorded musical examples, it also includes daily practice routines. This book is suitable for intermediate and advanced improvisers, whether on a horn or a harmonic instrument. The two CDs that come with this book contain jazz chord progressions and bass lines. They’re also filled with Hal Crook playing these chords in a manner that reflects his own style and approach to improvisation.

For the advanced jazz improviser, Beyond Time and Changes offers a systematic methodology for advancing your jazz improvisation skills. This book explores many important areas of jazz improvisation, including tension and release, harmony, pacing, dimension, and musical energy. The comprehensive approach to learning to accompany jazz solos is backed by two play-along CDs that feature modal chord progressions.

Roots and 3rds

In Roots and 3rds in Halcrook Improvising, Hal Crook presents a comprehensive methodology for jazz improvisation. He explores many musical topics, including the use of rhythmic pulse, tension/release, continuity, dimension, pacing, harmony, timbre, melodic phrasing, and harmonic and modal harmony. In addition to introducing and demonstrating the fundamentals of jazz improvising, the book also includes two playalong CDs that demonstrate the modal progressions.

The most important aspect of triadic improvisation is its ease of memorizability. For this exercise, you must learn the triad as your melody. Then, play them rhythmically, embellishing them with neighbour notes. You should enclose the first note of each phrase with a chord tone. Then, return to your piece with an “echo” of the exercises.


Re-harmonizations in Hal Croock are one of the composers’ most important works, and this new edition of Ready, Aim, Improvise! will guide advancing jazz improvisers through numerous techniques. The book includes practical exercises and daily practice routines for improving your chops and improvisational skills. In addition to a comprehensive study of jazz musician education, this book includes two play-along CDs of modal chord progressions.

In addition to being one of the most influential jazz improvisers of all time, Crook is a highly regarded educator and has taught at Berklee, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of California in Los Angeles and San Diego. He was instrumental in co-founding the Rhode Island School of Performing Music with Artie Cabral in 1976 and the San Diego School of Performing Arts in 1982. He also taught in the Ensemble Department at Berklee and had a positive impact on multiple students.

The improvisational techniques presented in Creative Comping For Improvisation include improvised re-harmonizations and rhythmic displacements. Both the soloist and the accompaniment may play together or against the comping. In volume one of Creative Comping For Improvisation, the soloist can play along to a two-minute sustained note of a chromatic scale. This accompaniment can be used to practice modal soloing. This book also works well with other Hal Crook books.

Rhythmic displacements

Rhythmic displacements in improvise Hal Crook offers a comprehensive study of the jazz improvisation technique, and provides many practical exercises to develop a mastery of the art. Each chapter of this book contains numerous examples and exercises, as well as a daily practice routine. In addition to the acclaimed text, this book also contains two play-along CDs that include jazz songs with modal chord progressions.

Using a codification of intervallic patterns makes it possible to analyze and manipulate complex melodic sequences. The resulting bitonal or dissonance is surprising, and the composer is not likely to have anticipated this result. But the performer’s ability to convey an idea with the aid of his melodic line is key to understanding the music. It is therefore critical to recognize the rhythmic displacements in the work of Hal Crook.

Rhythmic displacements in improvised re-harmonizations

Jazz improvisation is a great vehicle for studying cascading harmonic displacements. These intervals can be used to add variety to a line and contribute to its melodic feel. To begin, note that the first half-step of a chord in an Ionian mode lies between the third and fourth notes. Similarly, in the Lydian, Dorian, and Aeolian modes, the first half-step is placed between the first and second notes of each corresponding chord.

About The Author

Mindy Vu is a part time shoe model and professional mum. She loves to cook and has been proclaimed the best cook in the world by her friends and family. She adores her pet dog Twinkie, and is happily married to her books.