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6

Cool, Hard Bop, and Modal Jazz

III.

Modal Jazz

IV. Cultural Implications


A. Cool

      

1.

post World War II showed a shift in American attitudes stimulated by both a new found affluence in the 1950s and uncertainty in the future 

      

2.

Cool jazz reflected (and contributed to) a subdued emotion and quiet intellectual control that had become valued in American society 

            

a.

“keeping cool” was an expression of emotional self control in time of crisis found in American street slang as well in the language of army test pilots 

            

b.

after many labor strikes, Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act mandating a “cooling off period” in labor disputes 

            

c.

“firm and patient” measures were discussed by politicians and diplomats regarding the United States’ relationship with the Soviet Union 

            

d.

fictional heroes like James Bond and Mike Hammer remained impassive while the world exploded around them 

            

e.

America’s top choice of entertainment had “cooled down” from the nightclubs, dancehalls, amusement parks, vaudeville, etc. of prior generations to television featuring shows about simple suburban life (e.g., The Donna Reed Show

      

3.

due to the new found weapons of mass destruction (e.g., atomic bomb), cool thinking was required at this crucial point in history 

      

4.

California 

            

a.

the California image of casual, laid back white suburbia was the perfect backdrop and breeding ground for cool jazz 

            

b.

cool jazz represented the increasing importance of California to American society and culture  


B. Hard Bop

      

1.

disenchanted with the white domination of Cool jazz and its European classical music influences, many African American jazz musicians went in the opposite direction of Cool jazz, playing even harder driving bebop 

      

2.

perhaps the key feature of hard bop was its militantly African American identity 

            

a.

Hard Bop was a means of expression and reaction from young African American men to demonstrate their dissatisfaction and anger toward the social, political, and economic climate of America at that time, i.e., segregation and lack of economic equity  

            

b.

in this era of civil right activism, many African American musicians reflected their protest through Hard Bop jazz  

      

3.

besides more drive, complexity, and control, Hard Bop added more “soul” to Bebop, that is, additional elements of traditional and popular African American music including blues, rhythm and blues (R&B), and black gospel music; the music was undeniably Afro-centric 

      

4.

New York 

            

a.

Hard Bop reflected the fast-paced, driving, complex New York lifestyle 

            

b.

as in all major northern cities, New York experienced an increasing African American population, making it an ideal backdrop and breeding ground for Hard Bop  

      

5.

Hard Bop is currently enjoying a resurgence and is the main influence behind today’s young “straight ahead” players; it is the mainstay of today’s jam sessions  


C. Modal Jazz

      

1.

modal playing was, in part, a rejection of European chord progressions, creating a path toward an even more Afrocentric American music  

      

2.

Modal Jazz was among the many cultural indicators of the impact of the black revolution for civil rights 

      

3.

coming at a time of increasing inner-city anger and a civil rights revolution (as well as from a nation dealing with a cold war mentality), modal jazz was one of the many indicators of the explosive cultural and musical developments to come in the approaching decades 

      

4.

while many jazz musicians were still struggling with drug abuse, there was a general shifting away from drugs towards Afrocentric forms of spirituality  

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