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Review of All That Jazz & Pizazz

 

 

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he "Noona method" is an established set of books for teaching and learning piano. While the All That Jazz & Pizazz books by Walter and Carol Noona are not specifically a part of the Noona method series, they can be valuable as supplementary materials for those wishing to gain more exposure to jazz and related types of music. All That Jazz & Pizazz is a series of four supplemental books featuring original compositions by the Noonas.

 

 

 

“Book 1-Easy” pieces are written in various 5 finger positions, with most notes ranging from bass C to treble C.  Most are single note melodies with teacher duet parts, and contain accidentals and rhythms that include eighth notes and rests.  Though accessible to a young student working in a mid-elementary method book, the cover design and page layout are such that this book would also be suitable for an adult student.  The song titles in Book 1 are a bit more juvenile than in the other three levels, but not to the point that an adult student would be turned off.  Titles include “Playin’ Some Jazz,” “Busy Bee Blues,” “Halloween Mystery,” “Syncojazz,” and ten others.

The note range, harmonies, and especially the rhythms become, as expected, progressively more complex in each successive level.  “Book 2-Moderate Easy” requires hand moves in most pieces, reading on inner and lower ledger lines, and  playing eighth notes in both straight and swing rhythm.  This book contains 14 solos including “Backstreet Blues,” “Mambo Americano,” “That Certain Feeling,” and “Scalawag Rag.”  Most students will find the rhythms more challenging than the note reading in books 3 and 4, with their frequent use of syncopation, sixteenth notes, dotted eighths, and triplets.  “Book 3-Early Intermediate” titles include “Hungarian Jazz,” “High Street Strut,” “Kaleidoscope,” and six others.  “Book 4-Intermediate” contains nine solos including “Riff from Ochos Rios,” “Who’s There,” and “Backlash.”

All That Jazz & Pizazz features various styles, including traditional 12-bar blues, swing, slow jazz, boogie, ragtime, and Latin.  My students had definite likes and dislikes among the pieces, with the blues pieces often being the least appealing, and the slow jazz and Latin being the favorites. 

These books are strictly supplemental, with no instructional notes to the teacher or student.   Each book is 32 pages in length and retails for $5.95.

Kathy Hardisty

 
 
 
 
Page created: 1/11/05
Last updated: 01/30/15
 
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