Over the years I've been asked some interesting questions. So I thought that I would dedicate a page to posting some of the questions and answers. Anyone can submit a music question and if I have what I concider to be a helpful answer, I will add it to this page. To start things off, here are a few questions I was asked recently. Ask Your Music Question
Q. Working with Vocalists Q. Reharmonization and Improvisation
Working with Vocalists
How did you get started in vocal accompanying?
Really just by doing it, I started doing it as a regular duo situation. Later on I understood the complimentary quality needed and slightly changed my way of playing; I would describe it as my ear dictating what to play.
Do you accompany vocalists differently than you would instrumentalists?
Yes, but just because a horn plays very differently than a singer. You always want to support what the other is saying (or doing); comping for a horn will often be complementing his groove, or complementing his lyricism; I always wonder: what is he trying to communicate?
I think my solos with vocalist are more complementary than with instrumentalists: what I mean is, people are interested in the words when they listen to a vocalist, so my solo will be more related to the song. With an instrumentalist, the approach is more: “show me what you can do”, so I will be more open to out of context surprises.
Every singer is different and likes (and dislikes) different things. They all have a different feel of how a song should be driven: Here are some differences that I have noticed with the singers I work with:
Tierney Sutton has a very slow pace and doesn’t like to be rushed while Ann Hampton Callaway wants the music behind to move along, so she can interpret.
Betty Buckley wants the middle register all to herself while Flora Purim likes to fuse her energy with yours, so she likes full sound behind her…
You then have to play with a vocalist for a while before you can really please her.