Bebop  

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"Though the idea that jazz is a modernist art form appeared in full force in the revivalist — swing debate, it is bebop that gets credit in the jazz canon for being the first modernist jazz, the first jazz avant-garde, the first form in which art transcends entertainment."--Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club (2002) by Bernard Gendron, p. 143


"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."--Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early to mid-1940s in the United States, which features songs characterized by a fast tempo, 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 formed from a rebellion against the melodic style of swing. Notable players included Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Bebop spawned the hipster and Beat Generation subculture.

Overview

Bebop developed as the younger generation of jazz musicians expanded the creative possibilities of jazz beyond the popular, dance-oriented swing style with a new "musician's music" that was not as danceable and demanded close listening. 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 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 song (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 song.

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

Influence

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 would form 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 would define the post-bop movement that would later incorporate 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. 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.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bebop" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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