Improvisation in Vocal Jazz. “Night in Tunisia” – Borrowing from Instrumental Improvization Technique

Improvisation, being the main feature of jazz is borne by the performance practice of the street brass orchestras. In early vocal jazz (the 10s and 20s of the 20th century), improvisation is not characteristic. Later, a variation-like technique is being observed in separate vocal interpretations. Because of that, from its very beginning, jazz develops in two directions – vocal and instrumental. In the classical era of jazz the instrumental type of improvisation begins to carve a path for itself in vocal jazz by means of the scat technique. The new type of vocal technique enhances vocal improvisation’s capabilities, pushes vocal virtuosity to a higher level, and since the bebop years gives the chance of deeper borrowing of instrumental improvisation technique. In this period, a new tendency occurs – vocal performances of instrumental jazz compositions. From then on one observes a balance between vocal and instrumental jazz manifestations, interweaving equally in the ensemble sound.

Keywords: vocal jazz, jazz improvisation, vocal improvisation, “Night in Tunisia”, “After You’ve Gone”