Reimagining the Double Bass:

Lloyd Swanton and The Necks


  • Dr. Benjamin Phipps University of New South Wales


Double bass, Improvisation, Jazz, Australia


The literature on the role of double bass players has predominantly focused on musical practices which reflect the tradition of swing and the walking bass lines. The performance practices of contemporary jazz musicians, however, are far more diverse and reflective of the music’s hybridity. Taking as a case study Lloyd Swanton, double bassist with acclaimed Australian trio The Necks, I explore the ways that double bass players have reimagined the roles and sound of the double bass. I argue that the development of Swanton’s musical practices goes hand in hand with the changes to traditional jazz ensemble roles that occur in the group which open up space for innovative performance practices which reimagine the sound of the instrument.

Author Biography

Dr. Benjamin Phipps, University of New South Wales

Dr Benjamin Phipps' research examines how musicians develop their improvisational practices, particularly in jazz and world music. Previous research has examined the development of improvisational practice amongst double bass players using ethnomusicological methods. As a musician and teacher, he is passionate about developing students’ musical abilities to improvise and is currently working on quantitative research that explores the relationship between student motivation and the experience of learning improvisation at university. He currently works as a Lecturer and Educational Developer at the University of New South Wales.




How to Cite

Phipps, B. (2022). Reimagining the Double Bass:: Lloyd Swanton and The Necks. Journal of Music Research Online, 12. Retrieved from