Can someone point me to the Bebop Jazz?
July 25, 2007 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Needed: Recommendations for any and all Bebop Jazz artists, or links to sites that actually tell you which tracks/songs by which artists are Bebop.

I would like to build a bebop collection but every time I ask for recommendations I always get vague ones-- "early"/"late" (Insert Artist Here), or an artist who has hundreds of recordings floating around in the ether where I can't get to them. This is, of course, fairly well useless to me. Several times I've been recommended Big Band genre material instead, which is just confusing and completely different.

I'm hoping someone out there stumbles upon a new resource or one I've missed--so far every time I try research I end up frustrated. I know what bebop IS, but finding more than a few songs seems needlessly complicated. Also, yes, I've already got the entire Cowboy Bebop soundtrack on a recommendation.
posted by Phyltre to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Some Lee Morgan is occasionally referred to as "Hard Bop." If you enjoyed the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack you might enjoy "The Sidewinder."
posted by ktrey at 1:21 PM on July 25, 2007

Check out:

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Charles Mingus
Clifford Brown (my personal fave)
Max Roach
Dizzie Gillespie
Fats Navarro
Wes Montgomery
Oscar Peterson
Lee Morgan (seconded)

Have fun!
posted by ozomatli at 1:37 PM on July 25, 2007

Gotta have some Charlie Parker in there. He invented it, right?
posted by wsg at 1:39 PM on July 25, 2007

for sure
posted by ozomatli at 1:43 PM on July 25, 2007

Wikipedia has a list of about 40 artists and major delineations of the style, but you've surely been there already.
posted by rhizome at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2007

Bebop is a fairly narrow, yet influential niche in jazz's short history. With all due respect to ozomatli's recommendations above, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery and Lee Morgan's best-known recordings all tend to fall into different niches, and I wouldn't think they're a good place to start if it is specifically bebop you're after.'s genre page for "bop" does a pretty decent job of sketching it out.

Many consider "The Quintet's" Jazz at Massey Hall the definitive recording of live bebop, and considering the lineup (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Bud Powell, Max Roach), who am I to argue?
posted by peacecorn at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2007

Agreed--if I was going to listen to one bebop album for the rest of my life, it would be Jazz at Massey Hall.
posted by box at 2:54 PM on July 25, 2007

For me, "bebop" is pretty much confined to certain artists from around 1945 - 1960. I would also consider most of Blakey, Mingus, Morgan, and Montgomery to be outside the strict "bebop" category. Not that it's not great music, its just not bebop.

Pretty much any Charlie Parker album is going to be a bebop album (except for his stuff with strings, which you should avoid at all costs). In particular, Yardbird Suite is one of his masterpieces. His stuff with Dizzy Gillespie and/or Miles Davis is also great. Most of Dizzy's stuff could be considered bebop (or latin-bop, or big band-bop). Miles jumped around a lot, so look for him as a sideman on a Parker album. Dexter Gordon's early work is bebop. Anything by Bud Powell, pretty much. Sonny Stitt. Early Max Roach. Early Pat Martino is really post-bop, but very bebop influenced. Listen to Art Tatum's solo work to get a good sense of where bebop came from. Mainly, just look at personnel listings; if you see a lot of the names that have been in this thread, its probably bebop.
posted by papakwanz at 3:09 PM on July 25, 2007

Oh also, just so you know, bebop is still a pretty broad style. I may be wrong, but I have the feeling that you think only certain types of songs can be considered bop. Bebop tunes don't all have to be up-tempo; even ballads can be-bop.
posted by papakwanz at 3:17 PM on July 25, 2007

Well, papakwanz, that's the thing. In musical courses I took, Bebop was very specifically defined as faster, harder jazz. It was the same with documentary videos we watched. But somehow the internet has a completely different picture.
posted by Phyltre at 3:32 PM on July 25, 2007

You can't leave Eric Dolphy out of any bebop collection, although he is admittedly more remembered for his avant gard and third stream experiments.

Don't forget the West Coast bebop contingent:

Sax players Art Pepper, Stan Getz, and Gerry Mulligan's work from late 40s and early 50s was bebop, but they also turned it a little looser and more melodic at times, while still keeping up the driving rhythms. Eventually, Getz and Mulligan became more noted as West Coast "cool" players, but they started out hot, Mulligan particularly, in his short lived piano-less quartet featuring trumpeter Chet Baker. West Coast bop also included guys like Shelly Manne, Curtis Counce, Harold Land, and Jack Sheldon, although Sheldon is often overlooked, or regarded as a swing player.
posted by paulsc at 3:32 PM on July 25, 2007

Don't forget about Thelonious Monk!
posted by waxboy at 3:40 PM on July 25, 2007

Charlie Parker - ALWAYS start with Bird when it comes to be-bop:

The Savoy Sessions
Charlie Parker with Strings
(just two that come to mind.)

Sonny Stitt - Stitt plays Bird

Thelonious Monk - invented be-bop, along with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, at Minton's, in Harlem. I think there's a record called "Genius of Modern Music". Monk definitely helped invent the genre, but his playing, within that genre, is pretty unique.

Clifford Brown/Max Roach - they were in a band together, made some records with Sonny Rollins. I can't remember who's name the sessions are under, but every one plays great on them.


More later, when I'm less rushed.

posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:54 PM on July 25, 2007

Bebop is loosly defined by the scale structures used. I guess that most of the recommendations that i gave could be considered hard bop (there is an interesting history about the emergence of hard bop as a response to the cool jazz of the west coast). I love hard bop and consider it to be bop's return to its roots, but I am very biased.

Exactly defining bebop is like exactly defining subcategories of rock, the lines are never that distinct.

I would recommend listening to all of the recommendations that people gave and find out what you like. You never it might not even be bebop that you like, it could any one of the many tentacles of the jazz monster.
posted by ozomatli at 4:26 PM on July 25, 2007

Let me just add that, in my opinion, bebop is at least as definied by its rhythms as it is by its harmonies. Sure, there was a heightened sense of chromaticism introduced in bebop, but tempos also got LOTS faster and phrasing started going over the bar line. You'll hear this all over the place in any Charlie Parker recording. You can also check out some of Bird's followers, notably Cannonball Adderly and Sonny Rollins (for the latter I'm a huge fan of Kind of Blue, Miles' record - they all sound incredibly, but Cannonball is just SO earthy and transcedent. For Sonny playing bebop, check out Saxophone Colossus. The name says it all.)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:55 PM on July 25, 2007

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