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Chapter
11
Bebop
Overview

With bebop, jazz shifted to the paradigm still in place today: a subcultural art music played primarily by small combos in a jam-session format, favoring solo improvisation and aimed at a specialized market of aficionados. This chapter explores the racial landscape that helped create bebop: the centrifugal forces that pushed musicians out of swing bands and the centripetal forces that pulled them into small-group settings in New York. We see how the musical elements of bebop took shape in the early 1940s in places like Minton’s Playhouse, and focus on the musical contributions of bebop’s main figures, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. We also learn about the creation of a new generation of bebop musicians (Max Roach, Bud Powell). Finally, we situate bebop within the broader picture of American music, showing how its jam-session format led to later jazz.

  • Charlie Parker, Ko-Ko
  • Charlie Parker, Now’s the Time
  • Charlie Parker, Embraceable You
  • Bud Powell, Tempus Fugue-It
  • Dexter Gordon, Long Tall Dexter

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