6000 S. Eastern Ave. Suite J-14, Las Vegas, NV 89119 Jazz dance mirrors the social history of the American people, reflecting ethnic influences, historic events, and cultural changes. Nobody had ever played in such a way.
In the example below, of the woodwind, brass and timpani parts alone of the orchestral score of Manuel da Falla’s El Amor Brujo, all orchestral parts experience beat one simultaneously. African music is essentially antiphonal – that is, responsorial – as in call and response, a musical pattern that characterizes much of African music, usually manifested by the group responding to the leader or soloist, as may be heard in the religious services of Baptist churches, as well as in vocal blues, where each two-bar line of sung text – the “call” – is followed by a two-bar instrumental “response”.
Examine virtually any European orchestral score and you’ll notice that the bar lines are in vertical alignment on the page.
Traces of its DNA can be found in the music of cutting-edge contemporary jazz artists such as Robert Glasper, Brad Mehldau, Ambrose Akinmusire and Kamasi Washington. The interest in bebop and “modern jazz” among young jazz musicians grew rapidly, and soon Parker and Gillespie were at the forefront of a jazz revolution in whose vanguard were trumpeters Miles Davis and Fats Navarro, saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt and James Moody, and pianists Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Lee Evans, Ed.D., is professor of music at NYC’s Pace University. Bebop, the first kind of modern jazz, which split jazz into two opposing camps in the last half of the 1940s. Thank you,Charles Waring, for providing an erudite springboard for discussion. He also played at a slower tempo – and, crucially, he reduced the intensity and temperature a few degrees. And he did a solo. Also, along with four co-authors including Dr. James Lyke, Dr. Evans is author/composer/arranger of the just published Keyboard Fundamentals, 6th Edition (Stipes Publishing), formerly a two but now one-volume beginning level piano method for adult beginners of junior high age and older. Many of these writers were poets and a good many jazz poems were written in homage to specific jazz artists, especially saxophonist John Coltrane, who was probably the most popular jazz musician among the black intelligentsia at this time, or in imitation of the flow and spontaneity of jazz. It was mostly small indie labels that issued bebop recordings in the early days, but as this new music gained credence and popularity as the 40s became the 50s, bigger companies began to get involved during what is bebop’s Golden Age. Your consideration is greatly appreciated. Schuller also points to their custom of clapping on a bar’s weak beats as an example of their affinity for polyrhythmic organization. Coleman Hawkins (with Miles Davis in the background) at The Three Deuces, New York, July 1947. In Winthrop Sargeant’s book Jazz: Hot and Hybrid, in his chapters on the scalar structure of jazz and the derivation of the blues, he makes the case that the blues scale, with its blue notes (lowered 3rd and 7th of the major scale), are derived primarily from African sources; and, as author Schuller points out, “from the quartal and quintal harmonies of African singing and from the tendency of African melodies to shift around a central tone.” Notwithstanding the above, however, Gridley states that the decoration of tones, such as pitch bending, originated in European classical, operas and folk music as well as in West African musical practices.
However, the strongest musical traditions from which jazz emerged in America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s are believed by many jazz scholars and historians to be mostly of African origin. Don’t take my word for it, look it up:
Try to score an African dance – say the Nyayito Dance, a Ghana funeral dance – and you’ll see that rarely does such a vertical coincidence of bar lines occur. Jazz is a kind of music in which improvisation is typically an important part.
Jazz was no longer carefree, happy-faced, radio-friendly music functioning as an escapist soundtrack, but had become something deeper and almost visceral. Do you think bebop makes a political statement? This became the blueprint for West Coast cool jazz, which would be popular in the 50s. Miles Davis, at 22, was already bored by bop and wanted to try his hand at something else. Schuller writes: “The African slave’s adjustment to the white man’s music consisted precisely of translating these polymetric and polyrhythmic points of emphasis into the monometric and monorhythmic structures of European music. It is with the utmost sincerity that we ask you to consider supporting our efforts here with a small donation which will allow our staff the ability to keep these interesting stories about your chosen career coming to you in a consistent and timely basis. What is bebop? By contrast, the African approach to rhythm may be seen and heard in African drumming, where drummers may play lengthy and extended cross rhythms whose downbeats seldom coincide.
The varieties of jazz dance reflect the diversity of American culture. What is bebop? In addition to his extensive list of Hal Leonard publications, his solo-piano books for The FJH Music Company include the late beginner/early intermediate level Color Me Jazz, Books 1 and 2; the intermediate/upper intermediate level Ole! For one, consider the cross rhythm (the overlaying of one rhythmic pattern over another) in a typical measure of Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag: In the right hand, the rhythmic accentuation of the melody is: In the left hand, the basic pulse in each bar is: Schuller also writes about Jones making the interesting point that African phrases “are built up of the numbers 2 and 3 or a combination of 2 and 3”, and that this ragtime rhythm again demonstrates the African American’s urge to combine two rhythms simultaneously within the European (i.e., white man’s) musical framework. polyrhythmic – the sounding of two or more independent rhythms simultaneously. It was 1942, and the 22-year-old alto saxophonist from Kansas City, then playing in pianist Jay McShann’s band, was blowing his horn in a way that had never been heard or seen before. But the elitist, self-conscious artiness and cerebral aspect of what is bebop alienated many listeners. Your email address will not be published. By the middle of that decade, there emerged a variant of bebop called hard bop, which was characterised by dominant blues and gospel elements, and may have rendered those still wondering what is bebop even more confused. Subjugation to the group or to a composer’s style is not a feature of African musical performance, while individuality is an African musical characteristic adopted by jazz musicians. Indeed, bebop, with its improvisatory ethos and demand for virtuosity, insisted upon being perceived as an art form. How does bebop fit into the history of jazz? P: 702.932.5585 - F: 702.932.5584, Working from home? Bebop was about freedom of expression and escaping the harmonic and melodic restraints imposed by the old musical order – and, thanks to what is bebop music’s lasting legacy, that’s something that can still be said of jazz today. We at JAZZed wish nothing but the best for you, your school, your family, and co-workers. While you’re reading, listen to our Bebop Jazz playlist here. I don’t think anyone at the time realized that this represented a real break. Mark Gridley in his outstanding jazz history textbook Jazz Styles: History and Analysis, 9th Edition (Pearson Prentice Hall), makes the point that what distinguishes call and response as a strongly African based source, as opposed to music from elsewhere, is what he refers to as “overlapping call and response”, where the response begins before the call ends, thus creating rhythmic conflict. There is tremendous variety in jazz, but most jazz is very rhythmic, has a forward momentum called "swing," and uses "bent" or "blue" notes. The European rhythmic concept of polyrhythm generally involves two or more simultaneous rhythms that ordinarily feature vertical coincidence at phrase beginnings and endings, as well as at other focal points in the music; whereas the African rhythmic concept of polyrhythm does not ordinarily feature such vertical coincidence.