The Bebop Era

729 Words 3 Pages
Ryan Scopio
Music 306 – 11:00am Mon/Wed
Term Paper – The Bebop Era
Bebop was born in the mid 1940's. During that time, the popular, dance-oriented swing style jazz was in mid demise. World War II and cabaret taxes had pushed musicians to shift from a big band formats to a small band formats and the bebop style musicians were given an open door. It was developed not from the creation of a new style, but because the old style could no longer work. Many older players, such as Armstrong and Goodman, actually rejected bop. The defining features of Bebop songs include a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key. It requires more instrumental proficiency from the musician than from other styles.
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This ban occurred just as bebop was beginning to reach maturity which hampered the successful development of the genre. On top of that, any recordings on V-Discs for military purposes could not used for commercial purposes or sold and were destroyed after the war. "Bop did not have a chance to emerge gradually for public listening as the other styles had" Tanner. Although the ban may have actually helped the development of bebop as musicians would not have to concern themselves with commercially viable records. Therefore giving the opportunity to focus and develop their skills for bebop.
There were however, a few influential musicians who were able to produce recordings and albums during this AFM band. The most influential people of bebop would include Billy Eckstine, Charlie "Bird" Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell. Who's influences came from Coleman Hawkins's harmonic exactness, Art Tatum's harmonic imagination and reharmonization, and Roy Eldridge and Lester Young's melodic and rhythmic
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His rendition of "Body and Soul" was revolutionary as the whole song is almost entirely composed of a three-minute improvised solo from Hawkins. It served as an inspiration to bebop musicians and a preview of what the genre would bring. Another groundbreaking recording would come from Charlie Parker. He himself was heavily influenced by Hawkins. In his recording "Ko Ko", he realized the most dissonant notes could be made to work within the structure of a cord. This discovery of his approach to solos lead to his distinctive style of soloing that featured masterful displays of technical prowess and unique melodic ideas. Another one of Parker's influences was tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Lester Young was a veteran of the big band era and was best known for performing with Count Basie's orchestra. Young's style served as an effective contrast to Coleman Hawkins's, who was one of Young's contemporaries. While Hawkins style was focused on displaying his technical ability, Young played with a smooth, steady tone, and was fond of using silence effectively, in addition to playing behind the beat. Young would also experiment with bebop. His best known song as a solo artist was "Lester Leaps In", which serves as a strong example of the bebop style while displaying Young's own unique style as an

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