Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music (Honours)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Matthew Styles


Jazz improvisation can be greatly influenced by the combination of instrumentation, influencing the role of the instruments and the way they relate to each other. Notably, the stripped-back nature of the duo emphasises these differences. Musicians such as Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz and Joe Henderson are three of many saxophonists who have employed this particular combination to explore different ways of improvisation.

This paper will draw on Joe Henderson’s 1992 album Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn, which uses the duo setting on three tracks. Each of these three tracks has a slightly different combination (saxophone with bass, with piano and with drums), and will each be used to extract knowledge of how Henderson’s harmonic approach varies in response to the instrumentation of each duo. Through the transcription of each duo, Henderson’s approach will be analysed, enabling common devices and significant differences to be identified.

It is hoped that through studying his approaches, insight will be gained into how one could employ particular musical devices to enhance performance practice within varied duo combinations. Primarily, it is the aim of this paper to examine how Henderson’s approach varies with instrumentation, which in turn, will equip the performer with improvisational devices that may be used as a basis for their own performance practice in the duo setting and beyond.