JAZZ: Scott DeVeaux, W.W. Norton & Company


What is the difference between the evolution of bebop from swing and the revolution in style that so disturbed people in the 1940s?

It's something that I thought a lot about in my book The Birth of Bebop that was originally an idea that puzzled me for many years until I realized that it was really pointing to two different ways of thinking about what modern jazz is. There's a sense among people that bebop is coming directly from the Swing Era. There [are] ways in which you could look at the innovations, musical innovations of bebop: types of harmony, rhythmic gestures. All of these things can be derived from people like – like in terms of harmony you can see ways in which bebop harmony is coming from people like Art Tatum, people like Coleman Hawkins, or Duke Ellington and you can see the way in which the whole musical drive of swing is pushing towards the music that we later know as bebop.