Tracklist: Mardi Soir Sessions (Vol.8):
“Who's Bop, anyway?”
1.Thelonious Monk (at the fivespot) - I'm just a gigolo
2. Andre Previn Trio - Improvisation 1
3. Duke Ellington & Ella Fitzgerald - Take the A-train
4. Art Pepper +11 - Groovin' High
5. Miles Davis - The Serpent's tooth
6. Bird & Diz - Bloomdido
7. Kenny Clarke & his 52nd street boys - Oop-Bop Sh-Bam
8. Charlie Parker & Miles Davis - Now's the Time
9. Dizzy Gillespie & his Orchestra - Oop-pop-a-da
10. The Art blakey Quintet - Night in Tunisia
11. John Coltrane - Locomotion
12. Wilbur Ware - Latin Quarters
13. J.J. Johnson - Old devil Moon
14. Blue Mitchell - Fungi Mama
How bebop was born at Minton's Playhouse: « During the time in the forties when it was operating, we used to go up there and jam ... After the last show we'd go to Minton's and sit in or listen to the guys play. It seemed like the music would sound better at that time of the morning. They didn't have nothing better to do but to go to bed. They didn't have to make no shows or be between shows. The job was over. » says Dizzy Gillespie's autobiography.
On top of featering a house band including pianist Thelonious Monk and drummer Kenny Clarck, Minton's soon became a musician's hangout and focal point for experimentation. Some of the giants among the regulars were advanced swing musician like saxophoniste Ben Webster or guitarist Charlie Christian, along with soon to be called boppers: Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Charlie Parker whenever he was in town. By 1945, the more adventurous among this crew had developped a style that clearly distinguished them from their elders.
Bebop was characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers and instrumental virtuosity in improvisation. Dizzy Gillespie tells that the audiences coined the name after hearing him scat the then-nameless tunes 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." Parker himself though never used that term, feeling it demeaned the music.
In its heyday from 1930 through the early 1950s, 52nd Street clubs were the the second most important place for the dissemination of bebop, after Minton's Playhouse in uptown Harlem. In fact, a tune called "52nd Street Theme" by Thelonious Monk became a bebop anthem and jazz standard.
In the early to mid 1940s, Monk was the house pianist at Minton's Playhouse. Much of Monk's style was developed during his time at Minton's, when he participated in after-hours "cutting competitions" which featured many leading jazz soloists of the time. The Minton's scene was crucial in the formulation of bebop and it brought Monk into close contact with other leading exponents of the emerging idiom, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker and later, Miles Davis.
Mary Lou Williams, among others, spoke of Monk's rich inventiveness in this period, and how such invention was vital for musicians since at the time it was common for fellow musicians to incorporate overheard musical ideas into their own works without giving due credit. "So, the boppers worked out a music that was hard to steal. I'll say this for the `leeches', though: they tried. I've seen them in Minton's busily writing on their shirt cuffs or scribbling on the tablecloth. And even our own guys, I'm afraid, did not give Monk the credit he had coming. Why, they even stole his idea of the beret and bop glasses."
Bird was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the conception of the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual, rather than just a popular entertainer. His style — from a rhythmic, harmonic and soloing perspective — has made a significant impact on musicians of all kinds.
Charles Parker, Jr. began playing the saxophone at age 11 and at age 14 joined his school's band using a rented school instrument. One story holds that, without formal training, he was terrible, and thrown out of the band. Experiencing periodic setbacks of this sort, at one point he broke off from his constant practicing. It has been said that, in early 1936, Parker participated in a cutting contest that included Jo Jones on drums, who tossed a cymbal at Parker in impatience with his playing. However, in the numerous interviews throughout his life, Jones made no mention of this incident. At this time Parker began to practice with great diligence and rigor, learning the blues, "Cherokee" and "rhythm changes" in all twelve keys. In this woodshedding period, Parker mastered improvisation and developed some of the ideas of be-bop. In an interview with Paul Desmond, he said he spent 3–4 years practicing up to 15 hours a day. As a teenager, Parker developed a morphine addiction while in hospital after an automobile accident, and subsequently became addicted to heroin. Parker's addiction to heroin caused him to miss gigs and to be fired for being intoxicated. To satisfy his habit, he frequently resorted to busking on the streets for drug money, receiving loans from fellow musicians/admirers, pawning his own horn and borrowing other sax players' instruments as a result. Parker's situation was typical of the strong connection between drug abuse and jazz at the time. Heroin would haunt him throughout his life and ultimately contribute to his death.
In 1939, Parker moved to New York City. There he pursued a career in music, but held several other jobs as well. He worked for $9 a week as a dishwasher at Jimmie's Chicken Shack where pianist Art Tatum performed. Parker's later style in some ways recalled Tatum's, with dazzling, high-speed arpeggios and sophisticated use of harmony.
In 1942, Parker left McShann's band and played with Earl Hines for one year. Also in the band was trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, which is where the soon to be famous duo met for the first time. Because of the two-year Musicians' Union recording ban on all commercial recordings from 1942 to 1944 (part of a struggle to get royalties from record sales for a union fund for out-of-work musicians), much of bebop's early development was not captured for posterity. As a result, the new musical concepts only gained limited radio exposure. Bebop musicians had a difficult time gaining widespread recognition. It was not until 1945, when the recording ban was lifted, that Parker's collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell and others had a substantial effect on the jazz world. Bebop began to grab hold and gain wider appeal among musicians and fans alike.
By 1950, much of the jazz world had fallen under Parker's spell. Many musicians transcribed and copied his solos. Legions of saxophonists imitated his playing note-for-note. In response to these pretenders, Parker's admirer, the bass player Charles Mingus, titled a tune "Gunslinging Bird" (short for "If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger, There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats") featured on the album Mingus Dynasty. In this regard, he is perhaps only comparable to Louis Armstrong: both men set the standard for their instruments for decades, and few escaped their influence.
Hard bop first developed in the mid-1950s, and is generally seen as originating with The Jazz Messengers, a quartet led by pianist Horace Silver and drummer Art Blakey.
Some writers, such as James Lincoln Collier, suggest that the style was an attempt to recapture jazz as a form of African American expression. Whether or not this was the intent, many musicians quickly adopted the style, regardless of race. Michael Cuscuna maintains that Silver and Blakey's efforts were in response to the New York bebop scene: "Both Art and Horace were very, very aware of what they wanted to do. They wanted to get away from the jazz scene of the early '50s, which was the Birdland scene—you hire Phil Woods or Charlie Parker or J. J. Johnson, they come and sit in with the house rhythm section, and they only play blues and standards that everybody knows. There's no rehearsal, there's no thought given to the audience. Both Horace and Art knew that the only way to get the jazz audience back and make it bigger than ever was to really make music that was memorable and planned, where you consider the audience and keep everything short. They really liked digging into blues and gospel, things with universal appeal. So they put together what was to be called the Jazz Messengers."
Post-bop is a term for a form of small-combo jazz music that evolved in the early-to-mid sixties. The genre's origins lie in seminal work by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. Generally, the term post-bop is taken to mean jazz from the mid-sixties onward that assimilates influence from hard bop, modal jazz, the avant-garde, and free jazz, without necessarily being immediately identifiable as any of the above.