New Jersey Stage 2017: Issue 6 - Page 111

INSIDE MUSIC by Rosemary Conte SHARE BUTTON The Art of Accompanying Every pianist or guitarist is not an accompanist. Accompanying is a whole other thing. I’ve sung with piano players who comp beautifully, supporting what I sing and leaving me room to im- provise. I’ve got to have room to be adventurous if I’m singing jazz. I’ve sung with others who fill every part of a beat that I’m not singing with a flourish that crowds me, rendering my sing- ing almost superfluous! My friend, guitarist extraordi- naire George Naha, who lives and teaches in New Providence, wrote an essay that recalls what NJ STAGE 2017 - Vol. 4 No. 6 one of his teachers, Ted Dunbar, Livingston College, said about accompanying. He calls it “The Diamond and the Pillow.” “When you’re accompanying someone, be it a singer or an in- strumental soloist, your job is to get underneath the soloist and support him or her. Picture the soloist as a diamond that is on display. The diamond is nestled in a small pillow. You, as the ac- companist, are the pillow. The people who come into the room to look at the display are there to see the diamond. They’re not there to check out the pillow, INDEX NEXT ARTICLE 111