Bebop & Hard Bop Jazz

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World War II affected the course of jazz history in several ways. Bop seemed revolutionary at the time and caused considerable con­troversy when the first recordings appeared in 1944. The bop style was, in fact, rooted in the big-band techniques of the previous decade. At other times, riff patterns were maintained in the bass to produce a static but coherent texture that later influenced the jazz-rock movement of the 197Os.The principle of solo improvisation above a repeated sequence of chords ('the changes') remained central to the idiom. The major differences between bop and the swing style it supplanted concerned aspects of rhythm, harmony and melody.

Clarke's innovations in drumming, advanced by Max Roach (b. 1924), who also participated in the Harlem jam sessions, created unpredictable rhythmic patterns by supplying off-beat accents on bass drum and side drum that propelled the music forwards with exhilarat­ing momentum. Bop harmony was in essence simple (in fact, much bop was depen­dent on the twelve-bar blues progression) but developed a surface complexity that caused many commentators to believe it was based on radical ideas. Thelonious Monk's compositions provide the most impressive examples of bop harmonies supporting catchy themes. Many bop pianists used their right hand to imitate the driving melodic style of trumpet and saxophone, with varying degrees of success: the finest exponent of this manner of playing was Monk's protégé, Bud Powell (1924-66).

Yet no pianist could rival the fluidity, suppleness and inventiveness of the saxophonist Charlie Parker. After the experimental jam sessions in Harlem, Parker and Gillespie made their first be-bop recordings in 1945. During the late 19405, Parker and Gillespie were familiar figures at jazz nightclubs on 52nd Street, New York, principally the Spotlite, Onyx and Three Deuces. Cab Calloway, who had ejected Gillespie from his band in 1941 after a personality clash, simply described bop as 'Chinese music', even though Calloway had introduced Gillespie to the Afro-Cuban musical techniques that exerted such a strong influence on the bop style. Prominent examples of Latin American rhythms and harmonic colour in bop compositions may be heard in Gillespie's Night in Tunisia (composed in 1942 and first recorded two years later) and Parker's My Little Suede Shoes. The Congress of Racial Equality was founded in 1943, as the bop style was blossoming, and racial tensions in the United States had a significant influence on the socio-political attitudes of early bop musicians. Members of early bop groups emphasized their difference from mainstream players by cultivating a self-conscious appearance; both Gillespie and Monk wore berets and goatees to pro­mote their image as bohemian intellectuals rather than musicians who merely supplied dance music (as in the Swing Era). Bop set itself up as a style worthy of respect and analytical attention.

Tenor saxophonist Don Byas (1912-72), one of the few figures who had progressed smoothly from swing to bop, moved to Paris in 1946, two years after he had per­formed with Gillespie at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street. In the same year, Club Eleven on Carnaby Street, London, began promoting the bop style in England. In 1949, Gillespie returned to France to attend the first jazz festival at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, where Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke and the young Miles Davis also appeared. Jazz had made considerable progress in Europe since 1919, when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band made its controversial visit to London. Coleman Hawkins, who had joined Jack Hylton's band in London in 1934, appeared in Paris with the newly formed Quintette du Hot Club de France, the first European ensemble to reach the high standards of American jazz groups. Exerting his consid­erable power over radio broadcasters, Goebbels saw to it that authentic jazz was gradually replaced by a nondescript dance music. As a result, British jazz remained regrettably insular during the 19408. During the 19405, as the history of jazz became better appreciated, early styles began to be revived. Both Parker and Gillespie participated in the contest, defending the new be-bop movement. Part of the resistance to bop stemmed from the inescapable associa­tion between the idiom and hard drugs. 'Heroin was a major figure in the bop movement, as significant in shaping the music as Parker himself, because one after another it took away most of the leading figures.' Holiday (1915-59) is widely recognized as the greatest jazz vocalist of all time, a performer who revolutionized the art of jazz singing in the 19305 and exerted a powerful influence on subsequent vocalists. Vaughan was also a fine (though sparing) scat singer and worked with leading bop musicians in the bands of Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine from 1943 to 1945.

Keyboard technique continued to develop. Tatum favoured complex harmonic substitutions that were the envy of bop musicians: Parker confessed to admiring his work, which affected many later pianists.

The combination of Cole's suave, laid-back melodies and Tatum's dazzling keyboard pyrotechnics shaped the distinctive style of Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson (b. 1925). A development by a younger generation of performers, hard bop intensified bop's down-to-earth blues inflections and powerful rhythmic drive. Inspired by the drumming of African musicians during visits to the continent from 1948 to 1949, Blakey developed the rhythmic complexities of bop, exploring the extremely difficult techniques of polyrhythm (the superimposition of conflicting metres). As Blakey's collaboration from 1953 to 1955 with pianist Horace Silver (b. 1928) showed, hard bop derived much of its expressive power from bluesy elements imported from gospel music. Silver became a major force in 'soul jazz' (otherwise known as 'funk': neither term should be confused with modern pop-music usage), a close relative of hard bop in which the characteristics of black religious music continued to predominate.The hard-bop style also provided the foundation for many accomplished performances by trumpeters Freddie Hubbard (b. 1938) and Miles Davis, and saxophonists 'CannonbalT Adderley,John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins.

Lee Morgan (1938—72), Blakey's trumpeter from 1958 to 1961 and 1964 to 1966 and a former member of Gillespie's big band, epitomized the intense, stylish vigour of the best of hard-bop playing. Both recordings were made on the Blue Note label, which did much to promote hard bop and soul jazz in this period.