This study explored the experiences of prominent jazz vocalists regarding the collaboration between the vocalist and pianist during duo performances. The work relationship between a jazz vocalist and accompanist is a unique phenomenon due to the improvisatory and collaborative nature of jazz. Effective co-performer interaction and communication are two essential components within an improvisational music setting. A spirit of spontaneity ir required in order for improvisation and interpretation to take place in real-time and on stage; aspects which cannot be duplicated or replicated during rehearsals.
A qualitative research approach was employed by means of a collective case study, exploring the views and experiences of three prominent South African and three international jazz vocalists. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews. Furthermore, artefacts including audio and audio-visual recordings of each of these performers were studied to ascertain aspects of the vocal-piano collaboration. Thematic data analysis presented four main themes: (1) individuality; (2) interactive relationships; (3) musicianship; and (4) the present moment.
The findings revealed that the roles of both partners within the vocal-piano duo collaboration are evenly distributed, yet have distinctive functions. Each new performance between the same vocal-piano duo is an innovative execution, a skilful and artistic equilibrium. It embodies a companionship playing out on stage in view of an audience, yet with the subtle sharing of musical messages.
Mini Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2017.