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Post-bop is a jazz term with several possible definitions and usages. [1] It 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. 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 (with divergent results) 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." [2]


Definitions and uses

The term post-bop has a variety of usages which vary widely. [2] Jazz historian Stuart Nicholson wrote that "The term post-bop is a wonderful catch-all, used not so much to describe what a style of music is, but more what it isn't. Post-bop isn't free or fusion or hard-bop or modal or avant-garde." [3] Some writers have defined post-bop with specificity, but these sources conflict with one another. [1] One potential definition of post-bop is a musical period in which modern jazz was at its greatest mainstream popularity extending from the mid-1950s through to the mid-1960s. [1] [4] Others have written that post-bop is not a musical period but a specific body of music that emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s that combined principles of bebop, hard bop, modal jazz, avant-garde and free jazz, but also departed from earlier traditions in jazz. [5]

Still other writers have defined post-bop as a genre of small-combo jazz that evolved in the early to mid 1960s in the United States that was pioneered by Miles Davis (the central figure in the development of this genre), in conjunction with Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane and Jackie McLean, which crafted syntheses of hard bop with contemporaneous developments in avant-garde jazz, modal jazz and free jazz that resulted in music with a complex and experimental flavor though still rooted in bop tradition, featuring less of the blues and soul leanings predominant in hard bop. The movement had a significant impact on subsequent generations of both acoustic jazz and fusion musicians. [1]

According to musicologist Jeremy Yudkin, post-bop does not follow "the conventions of bop or the apparently formless freedom of the new jazz". [6] He wrote in his definition of the subgenre:

Forms, tempos, and meters are freer, all the compositions are new, and the band members themselves are featured composers.... [A]n approach that is abstract and intense in the extreme, with space created for rhythmic and coloristic independence of the drummeran approach that incorporated modal and chordal harmonies, flexible form, structured choruses, melodic variation, and free improvisation." [6]

According to scholar Keith Waters, some of the traits found in post-bop recordings are: a slower harmonic rhythm characteristic of modal jazz, techniques for playing "inside" and "outside" the underlying harmonic structure, an interactive (or conversational) approach to rhythm section accompaniment, unusual harmonic progressions, use of harmonic or metric superimposition, unusual underlying formal designs for head statements and chorus structure improvisation, or the abandonment entirely of underlying chorus structure beneath improvisation. [5]

Miles Davis was particularly influential in the development of small-combo jazz post-bop in the 1960s. His second quintet was active during 1964 to 1968 and featured pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and drummer Tony Williams. They recorded six studio albums that, according to All About Jazz's C. Michael Bailey, introduced post-bop: E.S.P. (1965), Miles Smiles (1967), Sorcerer (1967), Nefertiti (1968), Miles in the Sky (1968), and Filles de Kilimanjaro (1968). [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Modal jazz is jazz that makes use of musical modes, often modulating among them to accompany the chords instead of relying on one tonal center used across the piece.

Free jazz or Free Form in the early to mid-1970s is a style of avant-garde jazz or an experimental approach to jazz improvisation that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s when musicians attempted to change or break down jazz conventions, such as regular tempos, tones, and chord changes. Musicians during this period believed that the bebop and modal jazz that had been played before them was too limiting, and became preoccupied with creating something new. The term "free jazz" was drawn from the 1960 Ornette Coleman recording Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. Europeans tend to favor the term "free improvisation". Others have used "modern jazz", "creative music", and "art music".

<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">Jazz fusion</span> Music genre combining jazz methods with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues

Jazz fusion is a popular music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians, particularly those who had grown up listening to rock and roll.

Avant-garde jazz is a style of music and improvisation that combines avant-garde art music and composition with jazz. It originated in the early 1950s and developed through to the late 1960s. Originally synonymous with free jazz, much avant-garde jazz was distinct from that style.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Soul jazz</span> Music genre

Soul jazz or funky jazz is a subgenre of jazz that incorporates strong influences from hard bop, blues, soul, gospel and rhythm and blues. Soul jazz is often characterized by organ trios featuring the Hammond organ and small combos including saxophone, brass instruments, electric guitar, bass, drums, piano, vocals and electric organ. Its origins were in the 1950s and early 1960s, with its heyday with popular audiences preceding the rise of jazz fusion in the late 1960s and 1970s. Prominent names in fusion ranged from bop pianists including Bobby Timmons and Junior Mance to a wide range of organists, saxophonists, pianists, drummers and electric guitarists including Jack McDuff, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Grant Green.

Nu jazz is a genre of jazz and electronic music. The music blends jazz elements with other musical styles, such as funk, electronic music, and free improvisation.

A suspended chord is a musical chord in which the third is omitted and replaced with a perfect fourth or a major second. The lack of a minor or a major third in the chord creates an open sound, while the dissonance between the fourth and fifth or second and root creates tension. When using popular-music symbols, they are indicated by the symbols "sus4" and "sus2". For example, the suspended fourth and second chords built on C (C–E–G), written as Csus4 and Csus2, have pitches C–F-G and C–D-G, respectively.

<i>Filles de Kilimanjaro</i> 1968 studio album by Miles Davis

Filles de Kilimanjaro is a studio album by the American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. It was recorded in June and September 1968 at Columbia 30th Street Studio in Manhattan, and released on Columbia Records in December of that year in the United Kingdom and in the United States the following February. The album is a transitional work for Davis, who was shifting stylistically from acoustic post-bop recordings with his Second Great Quintet to the jazz fusion of his subsequent "electric period". Filles de Kilimanjaro was well received by contemporary music critics, who viewed it as a significant release in modern jazz. Pianist Chick Corea and bassist Dave Holland appear on two tracks, marking their first participation on a Davis album.

<i>E.S.P.</i> (Miles Davis album) 1965 studio album by Miles Davis

E.S.P. is an album by Miles Davis, recorded on January 20–22, 1965 and released on August 16 of that year by Columbia Records. It is the first release from what is known as Davis's second great quintet: Davis on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. The album was named after a tune by Shorter, and was inspired by the fact that, "since Wayne Shorter's arrival, the five members of the quintet seemed to communicate by mental telepathy."

<i>Miles Smiles</i> 1967 studio album by Miles Davis

Miles Smiles is an album by the jazz musician Miles Davis. It was released on February 16, 1967 through Columbia Records. It was recorded by Davis and his second quintet at Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York City on October 24 and October 25, 1966. It is the second of six albums recorded by Davis' second great quintet, which featured tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams.

<i>Miles in the Sky</i> 1968 studio album by Miles Davis

Miles in the Sky is a studio album by the jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis. It was released on July 22, 1968 through Columbia Records. It was the last full album recorded by Davis' "Second Great Quintet" and marked the beginning of his foray into jazz fusion, with Herbie Hancock playing electric piano and Ron Carter playing electric bass guitar on opening track “Stuff”. Additionally, electric guitarist George Benson features on “Paraphernalia”.

<i>On the Corner</i> 1972 studio album by Miles Davis

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Yudkin, Jeremy (2007), p. 125
  2. 1 2 Kernfeld, Barry (2001). "Post-bop". Grove Music Online . Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.J752800.
  3. Nicholson, Stuart (1990). Jazz, the Modern Resurgence. Simon & Schuster. p. 157. ISBN   9780671710125.
  4. Sabatella, Marc. "Post-bop". A Jazz Improvisation Primer. Outside Shore Music.
  5. 1 2 Waters, Keith (2019). Postbop jazz in the 1960s : the compositions of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea. New York, NY. ISBN   978-0-19-060460-8. OCLC   1104790682.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. 1 2 3 Bailey, C. Michael (April 11, 2008). "Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop". All About Jazz . Retrieved February 23, 2013.