Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



First Advisor

Brad Goode

Second Advisor

John Gunther

Third Advisor

Jeff Jenkins

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Scott LaFaro’s position in the evolution of the jazz bass is considered extremely important. He was a man who pushed the technical intricacies of the instrument and developed a unique and innovative voice. As a member of Bill Evans’ seminal trio, his solos combined traits of the previous generation of swing bassists with new rhythmic approaches and an exploration of the entire range of the double bass. This paper introduces LaFaro’s life background and collects and analyzes his soloistic approach from his recordings with the Bill Evans Trio. I have transcribed improvised solos from recordings of the Bill Evans Trio, from the years 1959–1961. The solos chosen for this study are “Waltz for Debby,” “Nardis,” “Gloria’s Step,” “Autumn Leaves,” and “Solar.” Through comparative analysis of these solos, I will describe the musical formulas, common techniques, tendencies, and approaches which define LaFaro’s improvisational style during this period.

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