Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

John Olah - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Lawrence Lapin - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Dante Luciani - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Paul Wilson - Outside Committee Member


The purposes of the essay are to transcribe and analyze selected solos from the 1964 J. J. Johnson recording, Proof Positive as well as to increase the amount of analytical literature on J. J. Johnson presently obtainable for study by jazz trombonists. J. J. Johnson will further be affirmed as a jazz musician worthy of doctoral level study. Selected solos from the 1964 J. J. Johnson recording Proof Positive will be transcribed and analyzed in depth using a method of analysis incorporating improvisational devices identified by the author. A brief biography of J. J. Johnson is presented along with a review of jazz trombone history in order to provide perspective. A review of related literature will be provided as well. The study will be limited to those solos that meet a selection criterion. The specific solos that were selected met the standard of containing a substantial number of Johnson's characteristic improvisational devices. Melody, harmony, rhythm, and stylistic inflection within each solo are discussed in detail and musical examples from the improvisations are cited to provide emphasis. The 1964 J. J. Johnson recording, Proof Positive was chosen for transcription and analysis due to its historical significance as a seminal recording and for the fact that only "Stella by Starlight" has been published. The remaining trombone solos have not yet been readily made available for study.


Jazz Theory; Idiomatic Devices; Improvisation; Improvisational Devices; Compositional Devices; Transcription Procedure; Rodney Lancaster; Scale Choices