Bebop Music Online History

Now lets get down with the "grits and gravy! Bebop music, history of Bebop...I love this section of jazz music."Bebop" refers to the modern jazz pioneered by alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Thelonius Monk and other young jazz musicians during the early 1940s.

An onomatopoetic play on the quick staccato rhythms that sometimes appeared in its melodies, Get with it cats! These are words CREATED by Jazz- cats, you dig? The name "Bebop" was meant to disrespect. It stuck, however, and is used respectfully by musicians and aficionados today, often in its shortened form--"bop" or "hard bop" (which is an off-shoot of bop... are you confused yet? I hope not... stay with me folks.
Now lets continue with Bebop music, history of Bebop.

When bebop exploded on the scene just as World War II was ending, the rhythmic intricacies, advanced harmonies and sometimes frantic tempos of its virtuoso improvisers, primarily within small combos, seemed an extreme and abrupt departure from the big dance bands that dominated popular music during the prewar years.

Many established jazz musicians, including the originator of Jazz; Louis Armstrong, hated the new music as noisy and unswinging. Of course you can identify with Louis hating it! Just like most parents telling their kids to "turn that noise off!"

Any new style is condemned in the beginning and then embraced by the masses later on. The younger cats loved Bop! Just like Rock and Roll, Punk and Rap music upset the "gray hairs"! Looking back in hindsight, however, the change appears much less dramatic. In fact, bebop's musical advances were firmly embedded in, and to a certain extent anticipated by, the best jazz players who preceded it. Like Sid vicious and Punk... sorry about that analogy!

Bebop, Jazz and Art

Bebop marks the stage at which jazz completed its transformation from entertainment into art. Although there was certainly much in jazz music that qualified as art prior to bebop, during the 1930s swing music to a large extent played much the same role as rock music has since the 1950s--entertaining masses of youth.

Bebop music, history of bebop is where we get into the "nitty-gritty" folks!

Jazz was considered party music where you cut the rug and showed you tail feathers on the dance floor.Jazz was usually tied to dancing or to backing entertainers who sang and danced. There were exceptions, of course. For example, John Hammond promoted jazz "concerts," a cool idea at the time, in venues such as Carnegie Hall. Thats right CARNEGIE HALL was a place to get down folks! Now Carnegie Hall is considered a stuffy old place to hear Classical music and such.

Bop marked the point at which both the musicians and their audience became widely conscious that jazz was an art form. For the first time serious listening to the music, especially the improvised solos, became important. Dig Charlie Parker and Dizzy hitting the notes and you can feel it in your bones!

The musicians concerned themselves, for the most part, more with developing the technical aspects of the music and increasing its aesthetic qualities, rather than just creating something that would enlarge their audience, and therefore their wallets.

Today, performances of earlier jazz forms such as swing and Dixieland tend to sound dated and nostalgic, but bebop remains fresh and modern. And it still sounds adventurous when you compare it to today's popular Jazz! I don't want to name names (Kenny G) but today's jazz is like elevator music!

This is because the fact that jazz music continued to develop technically up to the bebop era, but since that time has progressed principally by working through the advances of bebop or by grafting other musical traditions, such as bossa nova or rock, with modern jazz.

Give me "Grits & Gravy"! Give me REAL JAZZ!

Bebop is the point at which our MODERN ideas of jazz come into focus. It's both the source of the present revolution in jazz which made all modern music possible!

To understand jazz, you have to dig bebop... YOU DIG?

Bebop is also looked at in racial terms: as a movement by young African-American musicians (Parker, Gillespie, Monk) looking to create an style expressive of the black subculture, not the white mainstream.

While you can seperate it, these ideas of REVOLUTION tend to mix together as a rebellion by black musicians against a white-controlled capitalist society."

I always felt that Jazz and especially Bop was an early version of Rock and Punk! You can see the ideas were the same.

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