CD-ROM REVIEW : ‘Tutor’ an Interactive Program for Understanding, Playing Jazz : PHIL WOODS: “Jazz Tutor” <i> CD-ROM, MasterClass Productions</i>

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So you’ve always had this secret yen to play jazz? To knock out a few Dizzy Gillespie riffs, or generate some Count Basie rhythms?

Here’s your chance to do all that, and maybe a bit more.

Jazz Tutor is the most comprehensive single tool yet produced for the general teaching, learning and understanding of jazz. While it includes sufficiently complex study material to challenge the most serious student, it also offers plenty of opportunities for the average listener to experience and perceive the process of jazz improvisation.

The program has six principal sections: Jazz Tutorial; Jazz Jukebox; Phil Woods Bio; CD Selections; Midi Duets; and References.


For the casual jazz enthusiast, the CD Selections--five live performances by the Phil Woods Quintet--are especially interesting. One can listen to the music, and observe it via an on-screen score as it is played. Then, with the push of a button, the same music can be heard without the lead instruments, but with appropriate chordal information to allow the amateur jazz player to join in the fun.

The Jazz Jukebox, which contains 14 Phil Woods compositions playable through a computer sound card or a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) card, affords similar occasions to perform or sing along. And, as in the CD Selections, although music scores are available on screen, non-reading participants can play along by ear or by following chord symbols.

Far and away the most expansive part of the CD-ROM, the Jazz Tutorial section is actually a comprehensive educational process that provides a detailed study of scales and harmonies, an extensive music theory section and numerous chances to practice with rhythm section or MIDI music files. The Tutorial also facilitates the maintenance of a practice log and the creation and printing of a personalized lesson plan.

* Jazz Tutor featuring Phil Woods is presently available only for PC platforms. The program requires a 486SX-66 or higher computer with 8 Mb of RAM, 24 Mb of hard disc space and a Sound Blaster/General MIDI sound card. $99.95 by mail from MasterClass Productions Inc. P.O. Box 304, Ridgewood, NJ 07451. Information: (201) 652-6236 or via E-Mail at