The Serious Jazz Book II

The Harmonic Approach

by Barry Finnerty

Starting where his Serious Jazz Practice Book left off, guitar legend Barry Finnerty has created another woodshed classic for all jazz soloists.

Recording artist with Miles Davis, the Brecker Bros., the Crusaders, Barry shows how to become a better improviser by melodically mastering the individual chords used in jazz, how they connect with each other, and how they are used in various song forms.

Among the sections of the book are:

  • What A ‘C’ Can Be which discusses all the possible uses and harmonic functions of a single note.
  • Mastering The Changes which shows how to achieve melodic command of all the possible extensions and alterations of chords, and variations of common chord progressions.
  • Playing On Tunes - The Harmonic Approach which shows the practical application of the harmonic knowledge presented in the first part of the book.
  • Harmonic Vocabulary featuring a wealth of melodic examples using all the chords and progressions previously learned.
  • Spiral-bound, 200 pages!


A profound effort to share and communicate the ideas Barry has been developing through his lifetime in music. Bravo!”
— Joe Lovano

An extremely thorough book. The exercises are concise, challenging and very much worth the effort. Highly recommended.”
— Jamey Aebersold

A unique approach. Original and provocative.”
— Mark Levine

Barry's unique artistry was evident during the years he spent in my group. This book is a testimony to his prowess.”
— Hubert Laws

Barry Finnerty
Barry Finnerty started with classical piano at 5 and switched to guitar at 13. He played professional gigs in Hong Kong and San Francisco before attending Berklee School of Music and moving to NYC in 1973. He's collaborated with industry legends like Miles Davis and the Brecker Brothers, released six solo albums, and toured globally. In 1998, he relocated to Oakland and continued his career, releasing CDs and authoring acclaimed "Serious Jazz" books published by Sher Music.