Arrangements For Guitar by Jon Herington (4 books) – 18 Arrangements For Solo Guitar by Jon Herington (CD) – A jazz guitar enthusiast’s perspective.
Jazz Guitar Life would like to thank Norm Marier for his thoughtful review.
Having recently developed an interest in chord melody arrangements for jazz guitar, I was anxious to get my hands on Jon Herington’s solo guitar package consisting of 4 booklets and a CD. While it’s possible to order each booklet separately, I went all-in and ordered the entire package.
The CD contains 18 recorded versions of Jon playing these beautiful arrangements. Booklets “More!” and “Still More!” each contain 8 songs from the album, while the first booklet contains 2 for a total of 18 tunes. Booklet “Even More” does not contain any songs that can be found on the CD. Someone who prefers having a recorded version of the arrangement may perhaps wish to begin with books “More!” and “Still More!”.
The sheet music make use of standard music notation along with guitar tablature. Personally, I was never a fan of “guitar tab” having studied how to read music in my youth. Having said that, the standard music notation in this material is advanced (at least for me) and is therefore not for the faint of heart. I found myself using both standard notation and tablature to study the arrangements.
Another reason I found the tablature to be useful is that these books do not contain any chord notations, example, “C7 #9”. They are absent. I would have found it useful to have the chords identified. I decided to add them in myself by hand. I was frankly somewhat perplexed to find them missing.
The CD consists of Jon playing 18 of the arrangements. For study purposes, I cross-referenced the songs on the CD to the books, as noted above. The package is really a collection of guitar “études”, although the album is very pleasant to listen to for its own sake.
Hearing the music played on the CD made it seem less daunting to study the arrangements. These chord melody arrangements are accessible for the intermediate to advanced player although they are, by no means, easy.
Many standards lend themselves to obvious guitar chord melody arrangements. What I found useful in this package are the fresh ideas that can be inserted and utilized as part of one’s own personal chord melody arrangement. I found myself relearning an old standard, such as “But Beautiful”, while utilizing some of the ideas from the package. The arrangements make use of open strings, which are refreshing when contrasted with the usual “jazz chords” that guitarists typically use.
While it is certainly a major challenge to learn these arrangements verbatim, I have been learning selected sections and inserting them in my own, admittingly simpler, arrangements. Other users may choose to learn the arrangements exactly as written. The booklets are meticulously well written and lend themselves to both uses.
Overall, I found this to be an excellent study package for anyone interested in chord melody jazz guitar.
Norm Marier has been a jazz guitar aficionado since he discovered the art as a teenager growing up in Montreal in the nineteen-eighties. He was admitted to Vanier College’s music program as a guitar major in 1982, studied with local jazz guitar veterans and played in small venues. Despite having become a CPA, he remains a lover and student of the art, almost 40 years later.