Thomas Owens

in Bebop

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106510
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853182 | DOI:

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Pianists deal differently with sound than do front-line players. They do not bring their instruments to the performance venue, but instead play whatever instrument awaits them. The tone of that instrument stems from many factors, most of which are beyond the pianist's control. For these reasons, different players playing the same piano will produce largely the same tone quality, except for the differences they can create through different attacks and loudness levels. (One need only sample the recordings made in the 1950s by different pianists playing Rudy Van Gelder's Steinway to realize that fact.) However, one has no trouble distinguishing Thelonious Monk from Horace Silver, Bud Powell from Oscar Peterson, Red Garland from Bill Evans. Among other things, each has a distinctive repertory of favorite figures and comping habits. The beginnings of bebop comping occur in recordings by Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, Count Basic, and other swing pianists.

Keywords: pianists; Thelonious Monk; Bud Powell; Red Garland; Bill Evans; bebop; comping; Earl Hines; Duke Ellington; Count Basic

Chapter.  9944 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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