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Great

Someone who teaches how to play rather than memorize. What a concept!

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The Formula
Dr. Dave Walker - Canada
Terrific materials on chord melody

I am a retired (EARLY retirement!) university professor and administrator who taught music criticism at the graduate level. I've also been a practising musician for over 40 years now. Although I have played in jazz bands for years, I restricted myself mostly to comping until I discovered Robert Conti's column in Just Jazz Guitar, and then his terrific materials on chord melody. I was delighted with the DVD of The Formula to finally be able to see and hear Mr. Conti. His down-to-earth style of instruction really resonated with me.

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The Jazz Lines
James Macneil - Fayetteville, NC
Find endless ideas...

I just love all the material presented. I have all the Source Code and Ticket to Improv series. Even though the TTI series is an introduction, I find that coupled with The Jazz Lines you can find endless ideas from those "simpler" lines presented. I really think I've seen other people imitating the approach Conti has used for decades. The problem with theory is that many students don't understand how to apply it. Robert demonstrates that theory in real world application. Anyone who understands theory can analyze Robert's lines and see how that theory works in real playing. I think Robert understands theory as much as any music theory teacher, but he also knows that on the bandstand the mind doesn't have time to compute all that information when chords are flying by at break neck tempos. He just presents things that make sense to the mind in real time playing.

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Chord Melody Assembly Line
"Monkmiles" on The Gear Page forum
Gets you playing quickly

Robert Conti has a good book/method called the Chord Melody Assembly Line. It's been many years since I looked at it but I remember it as a straight forward, easy to follow approach that gets you playing quickly.

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The Formula
Hinton Owens - Georgia
He is a gifted educator

I just received Robert Conti's Source Code Book Four ("The Formula") last week. The man has a way of packing a tremendous amount of information into my brain quickly. He is a gifted educator. His concept of harmonizing melodies is fantastic and it works great for me. If you have not seen a copy I recommend it to you. You will have fun reading it and applying his concepts to any standard tune within a couple of hours. It's the best money I have spent on a learning aid ever.

A knack for making the esoteric obvious!

I discovered Robert Conti through the article in Just Jazz Guitar Magazine. I have purchased his Chord Melody Assembly Line book/DVD, and am working through it at this time. Robert certainly has a knack for making the esoteric obvious! I would be interested to know of any new offerings he may have for guitar instruction. Also, he should really come back to his roots here in Pennsylvania once in a while so that us east-coasters can meet him, see him play, take a lesson or two!

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2 Hour Lesson
Tony Pereira - Las Vegas, NV
Best musical investment I've ever made

I just wanted to give a shout out to Robert Conti. I started taking lessons with Robert about 2 years ago and picked up a few tricks. I decided to get serious back in February and made a weekly appointment for a 2 hour lesson. It is the best musical investment that I have ever made. The progress has been amazing and his teaching style fits with the way I need to learn.

Robert teaches a no modes/no scales method...and he hates that I use the word “method”. Make no mistake though the guy knows his music theory. Not only does it sound good to your ear but he can explain at a Ph.D. level why it sounds good.

Do yourself a favor and take a lesson from the guy. I guarantee you will walk away with something new. Every week I have met with him save a few times when I was traveling and I walk away exhausted and energized.

He has completely changed my playing...for the good. He’s a rare combination of being a stellar player who can teach.

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To The Brink! CD Review

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“To The Brink!” restates everything that folks are finding out about Robert Conti: he is one of the very top modern jazz guitarists.

He possesses incredible technical chops  that ALWAYS deliver great solo lines. He is an encyclopedia of harmonic invention who effortlessly performs lyrical, satisfying chord solos. But, what is not often publicly stated about Conti is that he is a superb accompanist and “comper.” His support of others is sensitive, never obtrusive, yet very inventive and refreshing. The CD is a textbook about how jazz guitar comping is done. And finally, like the great Art Blakey, Conti is a wonderful bandleader who coaxes the absolute best from his fellow musicians. All of these reasons add up to one conclusion: you need to hear this CD!

This release is particularly important to all his fans, as it is the first since “Comin’ On Strong” in 1990. However, Conti is so completely dedicated to the development of his absolutely first-rate guitar education materials and performances (primarily in Las Vegas andCalifornia) that there has been little time left to record. Congratulations to executive producer Paul Getty for his vision and persistence in bringing this project to the public. Amazingly, “To The Brink” was done with all “first takes.” The spirit of the recording harkens back to the old Blue Note recordings of the 50’s and 60’s where groups went into the studio and cut a recording in one or two days between gigs. Conti believes “every straight ahead jazz performance is like a snapshot of a one-time event. It’s jazz the first time.” This is REALLY refreshing for the listener. Simple, yet high-quality production values capturing spontaneous, impassioned blowing. It is the epitome of great straight-ahead jazz.

The programming is excellent. After opening with a tour-de-force burner (“To The Brink”) where all of the members of the quartet get to stretch-out, Conti delivers a musical buffet that delights the listener. Beautiful renditions of “Here’s That Rainy Day” and “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” which feature Conti’s exquisite and imaginative chord solo work. His tongue-in-check originals (“Pork Loin,” “Pit Stop,” “Mister Twister’s Fanfare,” and “The Hooker”) reveal his equally deep roots in bebop and especially in the blues. Of particular interest are the two compositions by guitarist/author/composer, Mark Stefani. “Anticipation” is a lovely and personal bossa nova that has Barbato on soprano sax, and Conti revealing his tenderandintrospective lyricism on this beautiful composition. Another Stefani original, “So To Speak” is a perfect setting for this classic guitar/organ quartet. Here, Conti shows that he is a master of soulful minor blues playing with a short, yet burning solo that also inspires Barbato to show some Cannonball and Gene Ammons roots.

For this CD, Conti has assembled a quartet with himself on guitar, young Rocco Barbato on saxophones, veteran Billy Moran on the B3, and wonderful drumming by Aldo Bentivegna. Conti offers generous solo space to his compatriots, who all rise to the level of their boss’s passionate ingenuity. Barbato possesses a modern sound and attitude, yet has done his homework on great mainstream saxophonists. He is a pleasure to listen to, especially on the numerous occasions where he is trading fours with Conti. The “fours” threaten to blow the doors off! Aldo Bentivegna is a perfect “Conti” drummer in that he can adjust to any style and mood that is necessary and he swings like crazy. He can be light and airy, and then turn around and deliver a muscular shuffle like on the ribs joint-style tune, “Mister Twister’s Fanfare.” The biggest surprise on this recording is Billy Moran, a top-notch B3 player that can successfully go toe-to-toe with Conti. He really knows how to tell a story with his playing and build terrific solos. And like all great B3 players, his bass lines are excellent. I would like to have heard Conti and Moran trading some fours. Two old vets going after each other – maybe on a future CD.

A mark of a great jazz performance is that the listener wants to hear more. That iscertainly the case with “To The Brink!” Conti has got it all and Getty has put him into a format that really shines. We should all eagerly await the next Conti CD project!

Reviewed by Mike Irish, Director of Jazz Studies, Michigan Tech University.

To The Brink! – Robert Conti
Pinnacle Records – PR-CD0501
www.robertconti.com  Robert Conti – Guitar, Rocco Barbato – Saxophones, Billy Moran – Hammond B3, Aldo Bentivegna – Drums.

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