i've just started a gig with a trumpet player / vocalist as a duo - it's a sort of laid back chet baker style with a few latin style tunes also.  the way i'm generally approaching it is to play bass in my left hand and four note voicings in my right.  in this way i can survive the gig without upsetting anyone, but i'm kind of stuck here and the upper register of the piano tends to be neglected.  is there a standard way to approach this other than the way i am doing it?  i'm basically being a rhythm section (i used to be a drummer) and can't seem to find a way to contribute any melody or embellishment without the bottom end dropping out.
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i did the key-bass/keys/vocals think in a band for over 20 years.  in a lot of ways it was easier and more fun than using a bass player - this way i always knew what the bass player was going to do.  the down side of course is the danger of losing the lh comping chops to play with bass players, so as usual, a balance is the best.

it sounds like you've just started doing this.  it might help to use this gig to focus on making your bass lines as interesting as possible - while still supporting the harmonies. as your bass lines become more automatic, you'll most likely find your self free to explore other melodic possibilities for the rh.  often times my rh would play lines and comp at the same time - people would comment that i must have two brains, but to me the parts all worked together as a unit.

~groove on
sometimes when i am playing with a bass player i tell him to lay out.
i may do this for different reasons.  i may just want to play bass myself.  i may want no bass in the sound.  i may want the freedom to change the hamrmonic structure instantaneously without having to inform the bass player in advance.  it can just be an arranging tool that works in the moment.  so when playing in your ensemble it works too... you just tell your left hand to lay out.. or more specifically to stop playing bass notes for a while.  another cool thing to do is to tell the piano player to lay out... ie just play a bass line for a while and do play any chords at all.  pretend the bass player just told you to lay out.  another cool thing to do:  pretend the drummer just told both of you to lay out and just tap out a simple rhythm with your hands on some part of the piano...  then come back in at some point with a bass line then add the chords back in at some point... you create the illusion of a full trio.
i think you might be asking for alternatives to being always locked into the single note left hand bass style, no?
thanks guys - both dr w and mike's points are very helpful, and yes, jazz+, that's also part of the question.  i tend to play rhythmic chord parts in my right hand and simple bass parts, sounding rather like the abersold backing records.  i can do a walking bass line, but to my ears it tends to sound rather busy in my sparse duo, and again, once i'm locked in i find it hard to get out. i feel that what i need to do work on voicing the chords accross a greater range of the piano, to enable me to play licks and melodies higher up, rather than just stabbing or arpeggiating one hand voicings in the middle of the piano. ok to say this, but i'm having trouble doing it.
if you are rhythmically secure, you can dispense with the bassline at times.  have a listen to michel pettrucciani with jim hall and wayne shorter at montreux (the album is called the power of three).  michel very rarely plays a walking bass and tends just to play chords behind the melody or soloist but it doesn't sound at all empty.  

talking of jim hall, have a listen to his duo album with bill evans (called undercurrent) and listen to how bill plays in a duo suggestion.  

finally, you should definitely check out kenny barron playing with stan getz on the album 'people time' - astonishing.  this should give you some ideas how to move away from the walking bass sound when you wish to.
also the benny green & russel malone duos albums. also the brad mehldau & pat metheny duo album. there is very little walking bass.
"it might help to use this gig to focus on making your bass lines as interesting as possible - while still supporting the harmonies. as your bass lines become more automatic, you'll most likely find your self free to explore other melodic possibilities for the rh."

well, it's just over a year since dr whack gave me this advice, and it's just starting to work for me on this gig - funny how these things take a while to sink in....
cool!  thanks for the update!
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