Building Solo Lines from Cells

by Randy Vincent

For ALL instruments! This adaption of Randy's last guitar-oriented book (The Cellular Approach) allows players on any instrument to reap the benefits of Randy's encyclopedic knowledge of the nuts and bolts of jazz soloing.

Building Solo Lines from Cells is a practical method for developing the ability to create convincing jazz solos in a wide variety of playing situations.

It takes actual jazz lines recorded by master players and then slices them up into small “cells” that can be re-combined into longer lines to fit almost any harmonic situation.

This enables the player to improvise his or her own lines that sound just as interesting and melodic as the masters without resorting to simply copying others.

Some of the harmonic situations dealt with include:

  • Fast-moving cycles such as the bridge of “Jordu”
  • Chromatic II-V changes
  • Turnarounds, including many that are useful for dealing with “rhythm changes”
  • Jimmy Heath's “C.T.A.” changes
  • John Coltrane's “Giant Steps” changes.
  • In addition, slower moving II-Vs are covered, using various strategies for stringing together the short cells into long flowing lines.

There is a complete discussion of how to break out of diatonic-derived lines by using the cellular approach to create “side-slipping” and other intervallic lines — creating ultra-hip solo phrases in the style of modern masters such as Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker and Herbie Hancock.

Finally, the cell concept gets transcended as twelve tone rows in the style of Mike Stern and others are explored, as well as lines derived from “23rd chords” — for the adventurous that are interested in paving a way into the future.

Sample Pages


Randy Vincent has put together a comprehensive, thoughtfully presented and practical jazz manual. It's packed with great examples and analysis for the Left-brained Jazzer. You will surely find some useful lines and tools here to help expand your vocabulary.”
— Bob Sheppard

This book is good for ALL instruments. The patterns and exercises are excellent! There is much food for thought in here.”
— Jamey Aebersold

Randy Vincent is a master player and teacher. The information in this book is very thorough and complete and the insights he offers are invaluable to anyone who is interested in improvising. This is a most welcome addition to the world of jazz pedagogy. Thanks, Randy!”
— Bruce Forman

I purchased your new book Building Solo Lines from Cells a couple of weeks ago. Great book! I think the real test of how good a book that says 'for all instruments' is, is how well it translates to the trombone. As a professional trombone player of 50 some years I've gone through hundreds of books that included those three words. Out of all those books only a dozen or so have met (IMHO) that criteria. I would put yours right at the top of the list. I wish I had your book years ago but I've started working on it and already it's made a big difference in my playing. Thanks!”
— Joe King, trombonist