I wish someone had turned me towards the work of Steve Neff long ago. I have a library (not an exaggeration) of other music books: technique, theory, and compendiums. Some more some less useful. Some I keep for reference.
WHAT I DID NOT WANT:
Out of all the books I have spent time with, most were for me either, too pedantic, too intellectual, too rote-learning academic, or just poorly written, poorly organized. Lick-books and ones instructing the reader to play specific scales over specific chords are nice but not what I wanted.
WHAT I WANTED:
A book providing the missing pieces; those essential molecular pearls I can build with my way.
WHAT I FOUND:
Steve Neff of neffmusic.com has numerous tools including videos he uses in conjunction with his work. PDF books, my preferred, of Neff's include APPROACH NOTE VELOCITY, which he provides in both major and minor, and conveniently writes out all keys. Everyone understands the "value" of writing out exercises an author provides in one key into all the keys. Steve Neff, thankfully, saves his readers from this labor in order that they concentrate on the exercises themselves.
Slowing down to read his exercises, is being a revelation for me. The brilliance of Neff's approach is found in the molecular approaches I am finding by analyzing what he's doing. Since few people know how to instruct another human how to play an instrument--and I've had saxophone teachers including a fabulously playing ex-professional--it is liberating to find someone like Steve Neff. I haven't gone through all his books yet, but am in the process of acquiring more of what he has written.
Another good thing: Neff is a teacher, but not a pedantic bore. He goes right to his point. Readers of this on line forum probably have heard Steve Neff play. He has reviewed and continues to do so, most of the saxophone mouthpieces out there. And yes, he's a fabulous player. He latest review is of a RPC inspired hard rubber from Asia, called the Marmaduke. You can hear it and a large array of most brands of not only tenor, but also alto and soprano pieces at his site.
No one's approach works for everyone. Neff's works for me. For people who want to play what's in their inner ear, Neff's books may be, as they are proving to be for me, the missing link.