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5

Bebop

II.

Bebop

footnotes

7. IHJ = selection is found on Willie Hill’s The Instrumental History of Jazz; Web = selection is found on the Monk Institute Jazz in America National Curriculum web site (www.jazzinamerica.org)

II. Bebop

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52nd Street

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Gillespie & Roach

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Parker Quartet

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Bud Powell

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Thelonious Monk


A. Philosophy

      

1.

bebop was ART music, not “entertainment” music (i.e., not for dancing but for listening); bebop had the effect of removing jazz from the mainstream of popular commercial music 

      

2.

bebop musicians considered themselves artists, not entertainers 

      

3.

bebop was a conscious attempt on the part of young African American jazz musicians to open new channels of improvisation and create a music which reflected the seriousness of their endeavors 

      

4.

bebop was a completely African American invention; today it is listened to, studied, and performed by people of all races and cultures 


B. Performance practices

      

1.

primarily a small group music, usually a quintet: trumpet, saxophone, piano, bass, and drums 

      

2.

designed for improvisation, not elaborate arrangements 

      

3.

virtuosic music; very difficult to play 

      

4.

“trimmed down” arrangements - rarely written, mostly just discussed 

            

a.

few introductions, endings, interludes, backgrounds, etc. 

            

b.

instead of complex arrangements, bebop utilized complex heads (melodies) 

      

5.

usually used a basic format 

            

a.

first chorus: head played in unison 

            

b.

middle choruses: improvised solos; each player in turn improvises for as many choruses as desired 

            

c.

trading fours or eights (optional): keeping the form, each musician improvises for four bars in alternation with the drums (e.g., saxophone for four bars, drums for four bars, trumpet for four bars, drums for four bars, piano for four bars, drums for four bars, etc.) 

            

d.

last chorus: head in unison 

      

6.

the music is instrumental in nature 

            

a.

big range (very low to very high notes) 

            

b.

rhythmically complex 

            

c.

extremely difficult to sing 

            

d.

when sung, singers would “scat sing” (i.e., sing as if they were a jazz instrumentalist using nonsense syllables instead of lyrics for their improvisations; play "How High the Moon," Ella Fitzgerald (Web) 

      

7.

tune sources 

            

a.

the blues 

            

b.

standards (popular music of the day that has lasted the test of time) 

            

c.

contrafacts (complex bebop tunes written utilizing the same chord progression as extant standards) 

            

d.

originals (tunes written specifically to be played in the bebop style) 

Audio Snippets

speakerspacer How High The Moon - Ella Fitzgerald


C. Minton’s Playhouse

   

famous jazz night club in New York’s Harlem known for its role in the incubation of bebop  

      

1.

in the early late 1930’s and early 40’s, weekly jam sessions and after-hours playing provided the opportunity for up-and-coming beboppers (e.g., trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk, drummer Kenny Clarke) to explore new musical ideas together; their experiments played an important role in the development of the bebop style 


D. Fifty-Second Street

   

New York City 

      

1.

in the 1940’s and 50’s, jazz was performed in several famous jazz night clubs along 52nd Street in New York City (e.g., Birdland, The Three Deuces, The Onyx Club) 

      

2.

became to be known as the Street of Bop 


E. Play significant Bebop recordings:

   

"Ko-Ko," Charlie Parker (IHJ) and/or "Shaw ‘Nuff," Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker (IHJ), and/or "Blue Monk," Thelonious Monk (Web)7  

Audio Snippets

speakerspacer Blue Monk - Thelonious Monk


F. The Latin influence

   

Latin music has made an enormous impact on jazz composition and performance 

      

1.

trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie and percussionist Tito Puente were two of the first responsible for fusing jazz with Latin music 

      

2.

play "A Night in Tunisia," Charlie Parker (Web) and/or "Salsa Caliente," Tito Puente (Web) 

Audio Snippets

speakerspacer A Night in Tunisia - Charlie Parker
speakerspacer Salsa Caliente - Tito Puente and his Latin Ensemble
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