Author

Mace Francis

Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music (Jazz) with Honours

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Faculty

Faculty of Education and the Arts

First Advisor

Stewart Smith

Abstract

Before my California stay (1968-1978) I considered myself a player first and a writer second, although I did a lot of writing, from Ray Charles to Thad [Jones] and Mel [Lewis].1 Since 1979 I have come to view myself as a composer who also plays trombone; add conducting and teaching and that gives me 4 hats to wear. I do not have a swollen head, so they all fit nicely. (Brookmeyer, 1997, n.p.)

Although acknowledged as one of the pivotal figures in twentieth-century jazz, the career and the music of Bob Brookmeyer has received scant attention in secondary literature. This dissertation seeks to rectify this imbalance.

Based on a recorded conversation between Brookmeyer and myself (Appendix A), his efforts as a composer and pedagogue are examined. From this conversation, many of Brookmeyer’s musical concepts on composition are illuminated: his ideas on risk taking; harmony; colour, and ways of developing material, are discussed alongside his pitch-module and white-note concepts. I show that the latter two techniques in fact step outside the jazz tradition and can be seen as new and fresh compositional approaches...

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