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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: An investigation into the broken style of bass accompaniment in the context of the jazz piano trio from 1959 to 2007
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Mr Michael Nielsen
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2009
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (64pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: When Scott LaFaro joined the Bill Evans trio in 1959, he began a new style if bass accompaniment. This new style was a departure from the traditional method of playing two or four notes in a bar of 4/4 time. LaFaro broke up the regular accompaniment and began to interact in the trio using melodic lines and rhythms that were up to then only associated with soloing. In doing so, he still fulfilled the responsibilities of the bassist by providing a harmonic and rhythmic foundation.The bassists that followed LaFaro in the Bill Evans trio continued this new interactive style of accompaniment that came to be known as the broken feel.
Through studying recordings of the style from 1959 through to 2007, this study indentifies elements of the style, and investigates developments that have occurred. Recordings studied include those made by the Bill Evans trio, the Fred Hersch Trio and the Brad Mehladu Trio.
The study found that the style was able to come into existence due to an increased level of technical facility, in addition to new conceptual developments that were occurring in jazz in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The elements of the style included the breaking up of the regular rhythm, melodic contributions, repeated rhythms (besides from the quarter note), rhythmic variations, note displacement and cross-rhythms. An ability to communicate and interact within the ensemble was evident in every performance studied.

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