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Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early-to-mid-1940s in the United States. The style features compositions characterized by a fast tempo (usually exceeding 200 bpm), complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody.


Bebop developed as the younger generation of jazz musicians expanded the creative possibilities of jazz beyond the popular, dance-oriented swing music-style with a new "musician's music" that was not as danceable and demanded close listening. [1] As bebop was not intended for dancing, it enabled the musicians to play at faster tempos. Bebop musicians explored advanced harmonies, complex syncopation, altered chords, extended chords, chord substitutions, asymmetrical phrasing, and intricate melodies. Bebop groups used rhythm sections in a way that expanded their role. Whereas the key ensemble of the swing music era was the big band of up to fourteen pieces playing in an ensemble-based style, the classic bebop group was a small combo that consisted of saxophone (alto or tenor), trumpet, piano, guitar, double bass, and drums playing music in which the ensemble played a supportive role for soloists. Rather than play heavily arranged music, bebop musicians typically played the melody of a composition (called the "head") with the accompaniment of the rhythm section, followed by a section in which each of the performers improvised a solo, then returned to the melody at the end of the composition.

Some of the most influential bebop artists, who were typically composer-performers, are alto sax player Charlie Parker; tenor sax players Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and James Moody; clarinet player Buddy DeFranco; trumpeters Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie; pianists Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk; electric guitarist Charlie Christian; and drummers Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, and Art Blakey.


"In spite of the explanations of the origins of these words, players actually did sing the words "bebop" and "rebop" to an early bop phrase as shown in the following example." Play (help*info) "Bebop-rebop" early bop phrase.png
"In spite of the explanations of the origins of these words, players actually did sing the words "bebop" and "rebop" to an early bop phrase as shown in the following example." Loudspeaker.svg Play  

The term "bebop" is derived from nonsense syllables (vocables) used in scat singing; the first known example of "bebop" being used was in McKinney's Cotton Pickers' "Four or Five Times", recorded in 1928. [3] It appears again in a 1936 recording of "I'se a Muggin'" by Jack Teagarden. [3] A variation, "rebop", appears in several 1939 recordings. [3] The first, known print appearance also occurred in 1939, but the term was little-used subsequently until applied to the music now associated with it in the mid-1940s. [3] Thelonious Monk claims that the original title "Bip Bop" for his composition "52nd Street Theme", was the origin of the name bebop. [4]

Some researchers speculate that it was a term used by Charlie Christian because it sounded like something he hummed along with his playing. [5] Dizzy Gillespie stated that the audiences coined the name after hearing him scat the then-nameless compositions to his players and the press ultimately picked it up, using it as an official term: "People, when they'd wanna ask for those numbers and didn't know the name, would ask for bebop." [6] Another theory is that it derives from the cry of "Arriba! Arriba!" used by Latin American bandleaders of the period to encourage their bands. [7] At times, the terms "bebop" and "rebop" were used interchangeably. By 1945, the use of "bebop"/"rebop" as nonsense syllables was widespread in R&B music, for instance Lionel Hampton's "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop".[ citation needed ] The bebop musician or bopper became a stock character in jokes of the 1950s, overlapping with the beatnik. [8]


Several bebop musicians headlining on 52nd Street, May 1948 52nd Street, New York, by Gottlieb, 1948.jpg
Several bebop musicians headlining on 52nd Street, May 1948

The classic bebop combo consisted of saxophone, trumpet, double bass, drums and piano. This was a format used (and popularized) by both Parker (alto sax) and Gillespie (trumpet) in their 1940s groups and recordings, sometimes augmented by an extra saxophonist or guitar (electric or acoustic), occasionally adding other horns (often a trombone) or other strings (usually violin) or dropping an instrument and leaving only a quartet.

Musical style

Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers. The music itself seemed jarringly different to the ears of the public, who were used to the bouncy, organized, danceable compositions of Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller during the swing era. Instead, bebop appeared to sound racing, nervous, erratic and often fragmented.

'Bebop' was a label that certain journalists later gave it, but we never labeled the music. It was just modern music, we would call it. We wouldn't call it anything, really, just music.

While swing music tended to feature orchestrated big band arrangements, bebop music highlighted improvisation. Typically, a theme (a "head," often the main melody of a pop or jazz standard of the swing era) would be presented together at the beginning and the end of each piece, with improvisational solos based on the chords of the compositions. Thus, the majority of a piece in bebop style would be improvisation, the only threads holding the work together being the underlying harmonies played by the rhythm section. Sometimes improvisation included references to the original melody or to other well-known melodic lines ("quotes", "licks" or "riffs"). Sometimes they were entirely original, spontaneous melodies from start to finish.

Chord progressions for bebop compositions were often taken directly from popular swing-era compositions and reused with a new and more complex melody, forming new compositions (see contrafact). This practice was already well-established in earlier jazz, but came to be central to the bebop style. The style made use of several relatively common chord progressions, such as blues (at base, I-IV-V, but infused with II-V motion) and 'rhythm changes' (I-VI-II-V, the chords to the 1930s pop standard "I Got Rhythm"). Late bop also moved towards extended forms that represented a departure from pop and show compositions. Bebop chord voicings often dispensed with the root and fifth tones, instead basing them on the leading intervals that defined the tonality of the chord. That opened up creative possibilities for harmonic improvisation such as tritone substitutions and use of diminished scale based improvised lines that could resolve to the key center in numerous and surprising ways.

Bebop musicians also employed several harmonic devices not typical of previous jazz. Complicated harmonic substitutions for more basic chords became commonplace. These substitutions often emphasized certain dissonant intervals such as the flat ninth, sharp ninth or the sharp eleventh/tritone. This unprecedented harmonic development which took place in bebop is often traced back to a transcendent moment experienced by Charlie Parker while performing "Cherokee" at Clark Monroe's Uptown House, New York, in early 1942. As described by Parker: [10]

I'd been getting bored with the stereotyped changes that were being used, ... and I kept thinking there's bound to be something else. I could hear it sometimes. I couldn't play it.... I was working over "Cherokee", and, as I did, I found that by using the higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes, I could play the thing I'd been hearing. It came alive.

Gerhard Kubik postulates that the harmonic development in bebop sprung from the blues, and other African-related tonal sensibilities, rather than twentieth century Western art music, as some have suggested. Kubik states: "Auditory inclinations were the African legacy in [Parker's] life, reconfirmed by the experience of the blues tonal system, a sound world at odds with the Western diatonic chord categories. Bebop musicians eliminated Western-style functional harmony in their music while retaining the strong central tonality of the blues as a basis for drawing upon various African matrices." [10] Samuel Floyd states that blues were both the bedrock and propelling force of bebop, bringing about three main developments:

Some of the harmonic innovations in bebop appear similar to innovations in Western "serious" music, from Claude Debussy to Arnold Schoenberg, although bebop has few direct borrowings from classical music and appears to largely revive tonal-harmonic ideas taken from the blues in a basically non-Western approach rooted in African traditions. [10] However, bebop probably drew on many sources. An insightful YouTube video with Jimmy Raney, a jazz guitarist who played with Charlie Parker, describes how Parker would listen to the music of Béla Bartók, a leading 20th century classical composer. Raney describes Parker's knowledge of Bartók and Arnold Schoenberg, in particular Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, and says that a section from Bartók's Fifth Quartet sounded a lot like some of Parker's jazz improvisation. [12]


Swing era influences

Dizzy Gillespie, at the Downbeat Club, NYC, ca 1947 Dizzy Gillespie at the Downbeat Club, ca 1947.jpg
Dizzy Gillespie, at the Downbeat Club, NYC, ca 1947

Bebop grew out of the culmination of trends that had been occurring within swing music since the mid-1930s: less explicit timekeeping by the drummer, with the primary rhythmic pulse moving from the bass drum to the ride cymbal; a changing role for the piano away from rhythmic density towards accents and fills; less ornate horn section arrangements, trending towards riffs and more support for the underlying rhythm; more emphasis on freedom for soloists; and increasing harmonic sophistication in arrangements used by some bands. The path towards rhythmically streamlined, solo-oriented swing was blazed by the territory bands of the southwest with Kansas City as their musical capital; their music was based on blues and other simple chord changes, riff-based in its approach to melodic lines and solo accompaniment, and expressing an approach adding melody and harmony to swing rather than the other way around. Ability to play sustained, high energy, and creative solos was highly valued for this newer style and the basis of intense competition. Swing-era jam sessions and "cutting contests" in Kansas City became legendary. The Kansas City approach to swing was epitomized by the Count Basie Orchestra, which came to national prominence in 1937.[ citation needed ]

"Bebop wasn't developed in any deliberate way."

Thelonious Monk

One young admirer of the Basie orchestra in Kansas City was a teenage alto saxophone player named Charlie Parker. He was especially enthralled by their tenor saxophone player Lester Young, who played long flowing melodic lines that wove in and out of the chordal structure of the composition but somehow always made musical sense. Young was equally daring with his rhythm and phrasing as with his approach to harmonic structures in his solos. He would frequently repeat simple two or three note figures, with shifting rhythmic accents expressed by volume, articulation, or tone. His phrasing was far removed from the two or four bar phrases that horn players had used until then. They would often be extended to an odd number of measures, overlapping the musical stanzas suggested by the harmonic structure. He would take a breath in the middle of a phrase, using the pause, or "free space", as a creative device. The overall effect was that his solos were something floating above the rest of the music, rather than something springing from it at intervals suggested by the ensemble sound. When the Basie orchestra burst onto the national scene with its 1937 recordings and widely broadcast New York engagements, it gained a national following, with legions of saxophone players striving to imitate Young, drummers striving to imitate Jo Jones, piano players striving to imitate Basie, and trumpet players striving to imitate Buck Clayton. Parker played along with the new Basie recordings on a Victrola until he could play Young's solos note for note. [13]

In the late 1930s the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra were exposing the music world to harmonically sophisticated musical arrangements by Billy Strayhorn and Sy Oliver, respectively, which implied chords as much as they spelled them out. That understatement of harmonically sophisticated chords would soon be used by young musicians exploring the new musical language of bebop.[ citation needed ]

The brilliant technique and harmonic sophistication of pianist Art Tatum inspired young musicians including Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. In his early days in New York, Parker held a job washing dishes at an establishment where Tatum had a regular gig. [14]

One of the divergent trends of the swing era was a resurgence of small ensembles playing "head" arrangements, following the approach used with Basie's big band. The small band format lent itself to more impromptu experimentation and more extended solos than did the bigger, more highly arranged bands. The 1939 recording of "Body and Soul" by Coleman Hawkins with a small band featured an extended saxophone solo with minimal reference to the theme that was unique in recorded jazz, and which would become characteristic of bebop. That solo showed a sophisticated harmonic exploration of the composition, with implied passing chords. Hawkins would eventually go on to lead the first formal recording of the bebop style in early 1944. [15]

Going beyond swing in New York

As the 1930s turned to the 1940s, Parker went to New York as a featured player in the Jay McShann Orchestra. In New York he found other musicians who were exploring the harmonic and melodic limits of their music, including Dizzy Gillespie, a Roy Eldridge-influenced trumpet player who, like Parker, was exploring ideas based on upper chord intervals, beyond the seventh chords that had traditionally defined jazz harmony. While Gillespie was with Cab Calloway, he practiced with bassist Milt Hinton and developed some of the key harmonic and chordal innovations that would be the cornerstones of the new music; Parker did the same with bassist Gene Ramey while with McShann's group. Guitarist Charlie Christian, who had arrived in New York in 1939 was, like Parker, an innovator extending a southwestern style. Christian's major influence was in the realm of rhythmic phrasing. Christian commonly emphasized weak beats and off beats and often ended his phrases on the second half of the fourth beat. Christian experimented with asymmetrical phrasing, which was to become a core element of the new bop style.[ citation needed ]

Bud Powell was pushing forward with a rhythmically streamlined, harmonically sophisticated, virtuosic piano style and Thelonious Monk was adapting the new harmonic ideas to his style that was rooted in Harlem stride piano playing.[ citation needed ]

Drummers such as Kenny Clarke and Max Roach were extending the path set by Jo Jones, adding the ride cymbal to the high hat cymbal as a primary timekeeper and reserving the bass drum for accents. Bass drum accents were colloquially termed "bombs", which referenced events in the world outside of New York as the new music was being developed. The new style of drumming supported and responded to soloists with accents and fills, almost like a shifting call and response. This change increased the importance of the string bass. Now, the bass not only maintained the music's harmonic foundation, but also became responsible for establishing a metronomic rhythmic foundation by playing a "walking" bass line of four quarter notes to the bar. While small swing ensembles commonly functioned without a bassist, the new bop style required a bass in every small ensemble.[ citation needed ]

The kindred spirits developing the new music gravitated to sessions at Minton's Playhouse, where Monk and Clarke were in the house band, and Monroe's Uptown House, where Max Roach was in the house band. [16] Part of the atmosphere created at jams like the ones found at Minton's Playhouse was an air of exclusivity: the "regular" musicians would often reharmonize the standards, add complex rhythmic and phrasing devices into their melodies, or "heads", and play them at breakneck tempos in order to exclude those whom they considered outsiders or simply weaker players. [1] These pioneers of the new music (which would later be termed bebop or bop, although Parker himself never used the term, feeling it demeaned the music) began exploring advanced harmonies, complex syncopation, altered chords and chord substitutions. The bop musicians advanced these techniques with a more freewheeling, intricate and often arcane approach. Bop improvisers built upon the phrasing ideas first brought to attention by Lester Young's soloing style. They would often deploy phrases over an odd number of bars and overlap their phrases across bar lines and across major harmonic cadences. Christian and the other early boppers would also begin stating a harmony in their improvised line before it appeared in the song form being outlined by the rhythm section. This momentary dissonance creates a strong sense of forward motion in the improvisation. The sessions also attracted top musicians in the swing idiom such as Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge, and Don Byas. Byas became the first tenor saxophone player to fully assimilate the new bebop style in his playing. In 1944 the crew of innovators was joined by Dexter Gordon, a tenor saxophone player from the west coast in New York with the Louis Armstrong band, and a young trumpet player attending the Juilliard School of Music, Miles Davis. [16]

Early recordings

Bebop originated as "musicians' music", played by musicians with other money-making gigs who did not care about the commercial potential of the new music. It did not attract the attention of major record labels nor was it intended to. Some of the early bebop was recorded informally. Some sessions at Minton's in 1941 were recorded, with Thelonious Monk alongside an assortment of musicians including Joe Guy, Hot Lips Page, Roy Eldridge, Don Byas, and Charlie Christian. Christian is featured in recordings from May 12, 1941 (Esoteric ES 548). Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were both participants at a recorded jam session hosted by Billy Eckstine on February 15, 1943, and Parker at another Eckstine jam session on February 28, 1943 (Stash ST-260; ST-CD-535).

Formal recording of bebop was first performed for small specialty labels, who were less concerned with mass-market appeal than the major labels, in 1944. On February 16, 1944, Coleman Hawkins led a session including Dizzy Gillespie and Don Byas, with a rhythm section consisting of Clyde Hart (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass) and Max Roach (drums) that recorded "Woody'n You" (Apollo 751), the first formal recording of bebop. Charlie Parker and Clyde Hart were recorded in a quintet led by guitarist Tiny Grimes for the Savoy label on September 15, 1944 (Tiny's Tempo, I'll Always Love You Just the Same, Romance Without Finance, Red Cross). Hawkins led another bebop-influenced recording session on October 19, 1944, this time with Thelonious Monk on piano, Edward Robinson on bass, and Denzil Best on drums (On the Bean, Recollections, Flyin' Hawk, Driftin' on a Reed; reissue, Prestige PRCD-24124-2).

Parker, Gillespie, and others working the bebop idiom joined the Earl Hines Orchestra in 1943, then followed vocalist Billy Eckstine out of the band into the Billy Eckstine Orchestra in 1944. The Eckstine band was recorded on V-discs, which were broadcast over the Armed Forces Radio Network and gained popularity for the band showcasing the new bebop style. The format of the Eckstine band, featuring vocalists and entertaining banter, would later be emulated by Gillespie and others leading bebop-oriented big bands in a style that might be termed "popular bebop". Starting with the Eckstine band's session for the De Luxe label on December 5, 1944 (If That's the Way You Feel, I Want to Talk About You, Blowing the Blues Away, Opus X, I'll Wait and Pray, The Real Thing Happened to Me), bebop recording sessions grew more frequent. Parker had left the band by that date, but it still included Gillespie along with Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons on tenor, Leo Parker on baritone, Tommy Potter on bass, Art Blakey on drums, and Sarah Vaughan on vocals. Blowing the Blues Away featured a tenor saxophone duel between Gordon and Ammons.

On January 4, 1945, Clyde Hart led a session including Parker, Gillespie, and Don Byas recorded for the Continental label (What's the Matter Now, I Want Every Bit of It, That's the Blues, G.I. Blues, Dream of You, Seventh Avenue, Sorta Kinda, Ooh Ooh, My My, Ooh Ooh). Gillespie recorded his first session as a leader on January 9, 1945, for the Manor label, with Don Byas on tenor, Trummy Young on trombone, Clyde Hart on Piano, Oscar Pettiford on bass, and Irv Kluger on drums. The session recorded I Can't Get Started, Good Bait, Be-bop (Dizzy's Fingers), and Salt Peanuts (which Manor wrongly named "Salted Peanuts"). Thereafter, Gillespie would record bebop prolifically and gain recognition as one of its leading figures. Gillespie featured Gordon as a sideman in a session recorded on February 9, 1945 for the Guild label (Groovin' High, Blue 'n' Boogie). Parker appeared in Gillespie-led sessions dated February 28 (Groovin' High, All the Things You Are, Dizzy Atmosphere) and May 11, 1945 (Salt Peanuts, Shaw 'Nuff, Lover Man, Hothouse) for the Guild label. Parker and Gillespie were sidemen with Sarah Vaughan on May 25, 1945, for the Continental label (What More Can a Woman Do, I'd Rather Have a Memory Than a Dream, Mean to Me). Parker and Gillespie appeared in a session under vibraphonist Red Norvo dated June 6, 1945, later released under the Dial label (Hallelujah, Get Happy, Slam Slam Blues, Congo Blues). Sir Charles Thompson's all-star session of September 4, 1945 for the Apollo label (Takin' Off, If I Had You, Twentieth Century Blues, The Street Beat) featured Parker and Gordon. Gordon led his first session for the Savoy label on October 30, 1945, with Sadik Hakim (Argonne Thornton) on piano, Gene Ramey on bass, and Eddie Nicholson on drums (Blow Mr Dexter, Dexter's Deck, Dexter's Cuttin' Out, Dexter's Minor Mad). Parker's first session as a leader was on November 26, 1945, for the Savoy label, with Miles Davis and Gillespie on trumpet, Hakim/Thornton and Gillespie on piano, Curley Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums (Warming Up a Riff, Now's the Time, Billie's Bounce, Thriving on a Riff, Ko-Ko, Meandering). After appearing as a sideman in the R&B-oriented Cootie Williams Orchestra through 1944, Bud Powell was in bebop sessions led by Frankie Socolow on May 2, 1945 for the Duke label (The Man I Love, Reverse the Charges, Blue Fantasy, September in the Rain), then Dexter Gordon on January 29, 1946 for the Savoy label (Long Tall Dexter, Dexter Rides Again, I Can't Escape From You, Dexter Digs In). The growth of bebop through 1945 is also documented in informal live recordings.


By 1946 bebop was established as a broad-based movement among New York jazz musicians, including trumpeters Fats Navarro and Kenny Dorham, trombonists J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding, alto saxophonist Sonny Stitt, tenor saxophonist James Moody, baritone saxophonists Leo Parker and Serge Chaloff, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianists Erroll Garner and Al Haig, bassist Slam Stewart, and others who would contribute to what would become known as "modern jazz". The new music was gaining radio exposure with broadcasts such as those hosted by "Symphony Sid" Torin. Bebop was taking root in Los Angeles as well, among such modernists as trumpeters Howard McGhee and Art Farmer, alto players Sonny Criss and Frank Morgan, tenor players Teddy Edwards and Lucky Thompson, trombonist Melba Liston, pianists Dodo Marmarosa, Jimmy Bunn and Hampton Hawes, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassists Charles Mingus and Red Callender, and drummers Roy Porter and Connie Kay. Gillespie's "Rebop Six" (with Parker on alto, Lucky Thompson on tenor, Al Haig on piano, Milt Jackson on vibes, Ray Brown on bass, and Stan Levey on drums) started an engagement in Los Angeles in December 1945. Parker and Thompson remained in Los Angeles after the rest of the band left, performing and recording together for six months before Parker suffered an addiction-related breakdown in July. Parker was again active in Los Angeles in early 1947. Parker and Thompson's tenures in Los Angeles, the arrival of Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray later in 1946, and the promotional efforts of Ross Russell, Norman Granz, and Gene Norman helped solidify the city's status as a center of the new music.

Gillespie landed the first recording date with a major label for the new music, with the RCA Bluebird label recording Dizzy Gillespie And his Orchestra on February 22, 1946 (52nd Street Theme, A Night in Tunisia, Ol' Man Rebop, Anthropology). Later Afro-Cuban styled recordings for Bluebird in collaboration with Cuban rumberos Chano Pozo and Sabu Martinez, and arrangers Gil Fuller and George Russell (Manteca, Cubana Be, Cubana Bop, Guarache Guaro) would be among his most popular, giving rise to the Latin dance music craze of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Gillespie, with his extroverted personality and humor, glasses, lip beard and beret, would become the most visible symbol of the new music and new jazz culture in popular consciousness. That of course slighted the contributions of others with whom he had developed the music over the preceding years. His show style, influenced by black vaudeville circuit entertainers, seemed like a throwback to some and offended some purists ("too much grinning" according to Miles Davis), but it was laced with a subversive sense of humor that gave a glimpse of attitudes on racial matters that black musicians had previously kept away from the public at large. Before the Civil Rights Movement, Gillespie was confronting the racial divide by lampooning it. The intellectual subculture that surrounded bebop made it something of a sociological movement as well as a musical one.[ citation needed ]

With the imminent demise of the big swing bands, bebop had become the dynamic focus of the jazz world, with a broad-based "progressive jazz" movement seeking to emulate and adapt its devices. It was to be the most influential foundation of jazz for a generation of jazz musicians.[ citation needed ]


By 1950, bebop musicians such as Clifford Brown and Sonny Stitt began to smooth out the rhythmic eccentricities of early bebop. Instead of using jagged phrasing to create rhythmic interest, as the early boppers had, these musicians constructed their improvised lines out of long strings of eighth notes and simply accented certain notes in the line to create rhythmic variety. The early 1950s also saw some smoothing in Charlie Parker's style.

During the early 1950s bebop remained at the top of awareness of jazz, while its harmonic devices were adapted to the new "cool" school of jazz led by Miles Davis and others. It continued to attract young musicians such as Jackie McLean, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. As musicians and composers began to work with expanded music theory during the mid-1950s, its adaptation by musicians who worked it into the basic dynamic approach of bebop would lead to the development of post-bop. Around that same time, a move towards structural simplification of bebop occurred among musicians such as Horace Silver and Art Blakey, leading to the movement known as hard bop. Development of jazz would occur through the interplay of bebop, cool, post-bop, and hard bop styles through the 1950s.


The musical devices developed with bebop were influential far beyond the bebop movement itself. "Progressive jazz" was a broad category of music that included bebop-influenced "art music" arrangements used by big bands such as those led by Boyd Raeburn, Charlie Ventura, Claude Thornhill, and Stan Kenton, and the cerebral harmonic explorations of smaller groups such as those led by pianists Lennie Tristano and Dave Brubeck. Voicing experiments based on bebop harmonic devices were used by Miles Davis and Gil Evans for the groundbreaking "Birth of the Cool" sessions in 1949 and 1950. Musicians who followed the stylistic doors opened by Davis, Evans, Tristano, and Brubeck formed the core of the cool jazz and "west coast jazz" movements of the early 1950s.

By the mid-1950s musicians began to be influenced by music theory proposed by George Russell. Those who incorporated Russell's ideas into the bebop foundation defined the post-bop movement that later incorporated modal jazz into its musical language.

Hard bop was a simplified derivative of bebop introduced by Horace Silver and Art Blakey in the mid-1950s. It became a major influence until the late 1960s when free jazz and fusion jazz gained ascendancy.

The neo-bop movement of the 1980s and 1990s revived the influence of bebop, post-bop, and hard bop styles after the free jazz and fusion eras.

Bebop style also influenced the Beat Generation whose spoken-word style drew on African-American "jive" dialog, jazz rhythms, and whose poets often employed jazz musicians to accompany them. Jack Kerouac would describe his writing in On the Road as a literary translation of the improvisations of Charlie Parker and Lester Young. [17] [18] The "beatnik" stereotype borrowed heavily from the dress and mannerisms of bebop musicians and followers, in particular the beret and lip beard of Dizzy Gillespie and the patter and bongo drumming of guitarist Slim Gaillard. The bebop subculture, defined as a non-conformist group expressing its values through musical communion, would echo in the attitude of the psychedelia-era hippies of the 1960s. Fans of bebop were not restricted to the United States; the music also gained cult status in France and Japan.

More recently, hip-hop artists (A Tribe Called Quest, Guru) have cited bebop as an influence on their rapping and rhythmic style. As early as 1983, Shawn Brown rapped the phrase "Rebop, bebop, Scooby-Doo" toward the end of the hit "Rappin' Duke". Bassist Ron Carter collaborated with A Tribe Called Quest on 1991's The Low End Theory , and vibraphonist Roy Ayers and trumpeter Donald Byrd were featured on Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 in 1993. Bebop samples, especially bass lines, ride cymbal swing clips, and horn and piano riffs are found throughout the hip-hop compendium.


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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hard bop</span> Subgenre of jazz music

Hard bop is a subgenre of jazz that is an extension of bebop music. Journalists and record companies began using the term in the mid-1950s to describe a new current within jazz that incorporated influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, especially in saxophone and piano playing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cool jazz</span> Sub-genre of jazz associated with the U.S. West Coast

Cool jazz is a style of modern jazz music that arose in the United States after World War II. It is characterized by relaxed tempos and a lighter tone than that used in the fast and complex bebop style. Cool jazz often employs formal arrangements and incorporates elements of classical music. Broadly, the genre refers to a number of post-war jazz styles employing a more subdued approach than that of contemporaneous jazz idioms. As Paul Tanner, Maurice Gerow, and David Megill suggest, "the tonal sonorities of these conservative players could be compared to pastel colors, while the solos of [Dizzy] Gillespie and his followers could be compared to fiery red colors."

Latin jazz is a genre of jazz with Latin American rhythms. The two main categories are Afro-Cuban jazz, rhythmically based on Cuban popular dance music, with a rhythm section employing ostinato patterns or a clave, and Afro-Brazilian jazz, which includes samba and bossa nova.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Lewis (pianist)</span> American jazz pianist, composer and arranger

John Aaron Lewis was an American jazz pianist, composer and arranger, best known as the founder and musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

The swing era was the period (1933–1947) when big band swing music was the most popular music in the United States. Though this was its most popular period, the music had actually been around since the late 1920s and early 1930s, being played by black bands led by such artists as Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Bennie Moten, Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, and Fletcher Henderson, and white bands from the 1920s led by the likes of Jean Goldkette, Russ Morgan and Isham Jones. An early milestone in the era was from "the King of Swing" Benny Goodman's performance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles on August 21, 1935, bringing the music to the rest of the country. The 1930s also became the era of other great soloists: the tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Lester Young; the alto saxophonists Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges; the drummers Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Jo Jones and Sid Catlett; the pianists Fats Waller and Teddy Wilson; the trumpeters Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, Bunny Berigan, and Rex Stewart.

Afro-Cuban jazz is the earliest form of Latin jazz. It mixes Afro-Cuban clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and techniques of improvisation. Afro-Cuban music has deep roots in African ritual and rhythm. The genre emerged in the early 1940s with the Cuban musicians Mario Bauzá and Frank Grillo "Machito" in the band Machito and his Afro-Cubans in New York City. In 1947, the collaborations of bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and percussionist Chano Pozo brought Afro-Cuban rhythms and instruments, such as the tumbadora and the bongo, into the East Coast jazz scene. Early combinations of jazz with Cuban music, such as "Manteca" and "Mangó Mangüé", were commonly referred to as "Cubop" for Cuban bebop.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jazz piano</span> Techniques pianists use when playing jazz

Jazz piano is a collective term for the techniques pianists use when playing jazz. The piano has been an integral part of the jazz idiom since its inception, in both solo and ensemble settings. Its role is multifaceted due largely to the instrument's combined melodic and harmonic capabilities. For this reason it is an important tool of jazz musicians and composers for teaching and learning jazz theory and set arrangement, regardless of their main instrument. By extension the phrase 'jazz piano' can refer to similar techniques on any keyboard instrument.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rhythm changes</span> Common 32-bar chord progression in jazz

Rhythm changes are a common 32-bar chord progression in jazz, originating as the chord progression for George Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm". The progression is in AABA form, with each A section based on repetitions of the ubiquitous I–vi–ii–V sequence (or variants such as iii–vi–ii–V), and the B section using a circle of fifths sequence based on III7–VI7–II7–V7, a progression which is sometimes given passing chords.

Post-bop is a jazz term with several possible definitions and usages. Musicologist Barry Kernfeld wrote in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians that post-bop is "a vague term, used either stylistically or chronologically to describe any continuation or amalgamation of bop, modal jazz, and free jazz; its meaning sometimes extends into swing and earlier styles or into fusion and third-world styles." The term has been variously defined as a musical period, a musical genre, a musical style, and a body of music, sometimes in different chronological periods, depending on the writer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jazz improvisation</span> Spontaneous composition in jazz

Jazz improvisation is the spontaneous invention of melodic solo lines or accompaniment parts in a performance of jazz music. It is one of the defining elements of jazz. Improvisation is composing on the spot, when a singer or instrumentalist invents melodies and lines over a chord progression played by rhythm section instruments and accompanied by drums. Although blues, rock, and other genres use improvisation, it is done over relatively simple chord progressions which often remain in one key.

"Ko-Ko" is a 1945 bebop recording composed by Charlie Parker. The original recorded version lists Parker on alto saxophone with trumpeter Miles Davis, double bassist Curley Russell and drummer Max Roach. Due to the absence of Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie was enlisted to play piano, instead of his usual trumpet. Pianist Sadik Hakim, then known as Argonne Thornton, was also known to be present at the session. Rumors persist to this day about precisely who played trumpet and piano on this piece; some claim it's young Miles Davis who plays trumpet and Gillespie comping at piano, on both takes; most claim Gillespie plays trumpet and, or instead of, piano; some claim Hakim is the pianist on all or part of one or both of the takes. However, Miles Davis confirms in his autobiography that he did not play trumpet on "Ko Ko":

"I remember Bird wanting me to play "Ko-Ko," a tune that was based on the changes of "Cherokee." Now Bird knew I was having trouble playing "Cherokee" back then. So when he said that that was the tune he wanted me to play, I just said no, I wasn't going to do it. That's why Dizzy's playing trumpet on "Ko-Ko," "Warmin' up a Riff," and "Meandering" on Charlie Parker’s Reboppers, because I wasn't going to get out there and embarrass myself. I didn't really think I was ready to play tunes at the tempo of "Cherokee" and I didn't make no bones about it."

The chord-scale system is a method of matching, from a list of possible chords, a list of possible scales. The system has been widely used since the 1970s and is "generally accepted in the jazz world today".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manteca (song)</span> Afro-Cuban jazz song

"Manteca" is one of the earliest foundational tunes of Afro-Cuban jazz. Co-written by Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo and Gil Fuller in 1947, it is among the most famous of Gillespie's recordings and is "one of the most important records ever made in the United States", according to Gary Giddins of The Village Voice. "Manteca" is the first tune rhythmically based on the clave to become a jazz standard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1940s in jazz</span>

In the early 1940s in jazz, bebop emerged, led by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and others. It helped to shift jazz from danceable popular music towards a more challenging "musician's music." Differing greatly from swing, early bebop divorced itself from dance music, establishing itself more as an art form but lessening its potential popular and commercial value. Since bebop was meant to be listened to, not danced to, it used faster tempos. Beboppers introduced new forms of chromaticism and dissonance into jazz; the dissonant tritone interval became the "most important interval of bebop" and players engaged in a more abstracted form of chord-based improvisation which used "passing" chords, substitute chords, and altered chords. The style of drumming shifted as well to a more elusive and explosive style, in which the ride cymbal was used to keep time, while the snare and bass drum were used for accents. This appealed to a more specialized audiences than earlier forms of jazz, with sophisticated harmonies, fast tempos and often virtuoso musicianship. Bebop musicians often used 1930s standards, especially those from Broadway musicals, as part of their repertoire. Among standards written by bebop musicians are Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" (1941) and "A Night in Tunisia" (1942), Parker's "Anthropology" (1946), "Yardbird Suite" (1946) and "Scrapple from the Apple" (1947), and Monk's "'Round Midnight" (1944), which is currently the most recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician. An early 1940s style known as "jumping the blues" or jump blues used small combos, uptempo music, and blues chord progressions. Jump blues drew on boogie-woogie from the 1930s. Kansas City Jazz in the 1930s as exemplified by tenor saxophonist Lester Young marked the transition from big bands to the bebop influence of the 1940s. These divergences from the jazz mainstream of the time initially met with a divided, sometimes hostile response among fans and fellow musicians, especially established swing players, who bristled at the new harmonic sounds. To hostile critics, bebop seemed to be filled with "racing, nervous phrases". Despite the initial friction, by the 1950s bebop had become an accepted part of the jazz vocabulary. The most influential bebop musicians included saxophonist Charlie Parker, pianists Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Clifford Brown, and drummer Max Roach.


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  15. see Early bebop recordings
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Further reading