Monday, January 19, 2009

Bebop jazz style

My Old Flame performed by Charlie Parker (alto sax), Miles Davis (trumpet), Duke Jordan (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), and Max Roach (drums). Words by Sam Coslow with music by Arthur Johnston (1934).

The Bebop jazz style traces it origin to the early 1940s, and the term “bebop” was first used during the beginning of WWII. Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded beyond their role as mere time-keepers. The music itself was jarring to the public, which was used to swing’s bouncy, organized, danceable tunes of Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller. Instead, bebop sounded nervous, racing, frantic and often fragmented. But to jazz musicians and aficionados, bebop was an exciting revolution in the art of jazz.

While swing music tended to feature orchestrated big band arrangements, bebop music was more free in its structure. The classic bebop combo was a quintet consisting of saxophone, trumpet, bass, drums, and piano. Typically, a theme would be presented at the beginning and end of each piece, placed like bookends around improvisational solos based on the chords of the tune. Thus, the majority of a song in bebop style would be improvisation, the only threads holding the work together being the underlying harmonic pattern.

Bebop musicians also employed several harmonic devices not typical of the jazz music that had come before. Complicated harmonic substitutions for more basic chords became commonplace; these substitutions often emphasized dissonant intervals such as the flat ninth, sharp ninth and the sharp eleventh (or tri-tone).

Notable musicians identified with bebop:

* Cannonball Adderley, alto sax
* Art Blakey, Drums
* Clifford Brown, trumpet
* Ray Brown, bass
* Kenny Burrell, guitar
* Don Byas, tenor sax
* Paul Chambers, bass
* Charlie Christian, guitar
* Kenny Clarke, drums
* John Coltrane, tenor sax
* Tadd Dameron, piano
* Miles Davis, trumpet
* Kenny Dorham, trumpet
* Carl Fontana, trombone
* Curtis Fuller, trombone
* Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet
* Stan Getz, tenor sax
* Dexter Gordon, tenor sax
* Wardell Gray, saxophone
* Al Haig, piano
* Sadik Hakim, piano
* Barry Harris, piano
* Percy Heath, bass
* Milt Jackson, vibes
* J. J. Johnson, trombone
* Duke Jordan, piano
* Lee Konitz, alto sax
* Stan Levey, drums
* Lou Levy, piano
* John Lewis, piano
* Dodo Marmarosa, piano
* Howard McGhee, trumpet
* Charles McPherson, Alto Sax
* Charles Mingus, bass
* Thelonious Monk, piano
* Wes Montgomery, guitar
* Fats Navarro, trumpet
* Charlie Parker, alto sax
* Chet Baker, trumpet
* Oscar Pettiford, bass
* Tommy Potter, bass
* Bud Powell, piano
* Max Roach, drums
* Red Rodney, trumpet
* Sonny Rollins, tenor sax
* Frank Rosolino, trombone
* Sonny Stitt, tenor and alto sax
* Lucky Thompson, tenor sax
* George Wallington, piano

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