The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony
CMA Press

The Living Jazz Tradition presents a comprehensive guide to jazz theory, improvisation, and repertoire

  • Develop a melodic and rhythmic foundation before tackling theory
  • Learn how to decode and play over chord changes (without getting buried in a jumble of scales, licks, and patterns)
  • Hundreds of musical examples
  • Integrated repertoire
  • Creative assignments throughout
  • Includes drum groove, drone, and rhythm section mp3 tracks
  • Used in colleges across the country

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What Musicians Are Saying:

The Living Jazz Tradition has been the best thing for me and my students…I am hearing consistent and measurable progress and the students are so inspired that they can’t wait to come to class and share what they have found out about their own playing. . .I can’t imagine teaching improvisation any other way.

– Chris Bruya, Director of Jazz Studies at Central Washington University


Steve Treseler has produced a truly brilliant book. . .He has found a way to explain a tremendous amount of information in a very accessible way.
Read more from the foreword

– Wayne Horvitz, Renowned composer, piano and keyboards with Bill Frisell and John Zorn, Professor of Composition at Cornish College of the Arts

I finally found a textbook that fits my approach to teaching improvisation perfectly. I needed something that addressed theory and improvisation at the same time and worked for people with no experience improvising. I have been piecing together my own materials and exercises the last two years, but The Living Jazz Tradition puts it all together better than I ever could have.

– Alex Heitlinger, Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Utah Valley University


The Living Jazz Tradition is tremendously informative about conventional and abstract topics of jazz. I recommend it highly.

– Jerry Bergonzi, Renowned saxophonist and author, faculty at New England Conservatory of Music


A perfect way for musicians of all levels to enjoy the art of improvising in life and music. I look forward to using it with my students. Steve’s approach offers a fresh direction, which inspires individuality.

– Dick Oatts, Renowned saxophonist, Professor and Artistic Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University


The Living Jazz Tradition has helped my students tap into their creative, musical, and expressive selves first – instilling an excitement for the process of explorative improvisation, instead of only worrying about the “right” scales to play.

– Kate Skinner, Jazz Instructor, University of Idaho


The Living Jazz Tradition and it is excellent, one of the best I’ve seen. Very clearly paced and well thought out. The focus on musical imagination, ear training, and theory as part of the same whole is spot on and sadly missing in so many other books in the genre. Really great work, thank you!

Simon Henneman, guitar


I own a number of improvisation books which are really good, but find Steve’s the most user friendly and, for me at least, the most effective. If you want to learn to improvise in a holistic manner, rather than by learning a mountain of theory first, I think it would be tough to find a better resource than The Living Jazz Tradition.

Bob Merrill, saxophone


The approach to the text is radically different than anything I have read before. I have read many jazz improvisation texts. Treseler writes it in a very easy to understand way, but is expressing complex concepts. Then there are various “woodshed” spots where it gives you good ways to practice the material in a practical and useful way.

I am enjoying a better understanding of concepts which were confusing  in school. Steve Treseler has really done a service to jazz education with this book! I look forward to using this with future students.

Andre Acevedo, D.M.A

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Creativity Triggers for Musicians

#1 Amazon Bestseller in Music Theory, Composition, and Performance in the Kindle Store

Non-idiomatic prompts and exercises for individuals and ensembles. The “menus,” exercises, and experiments help musicians express unused creativity, break through barriers, and create an abundance of original music.

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