Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music 1955-1965 by David H. Rosenthal

By David H. Rosenthal

It's nineteen fifty-something, in a dismal, cramped, smoke-filled room. Everyone's donning black. And on-stage a tenor is blowing his center out, a looking, jagged saxophone trip performed out opposed to a moody, strolling bass and the sleek of a drummer's brushes. To a superb many listeners--from African American aficionados of the interval to a complete new workforce of lovers today--this is the very embodiment of jazz. it's also vital tough bop. during this, the 1st thorough research of the topic, jazz specialist and fanatic David H. Rosenthal vividly examines the roots, traditions, explorations and diversifications, personalities and recordings of a climactic interval in jazz history.
starting with tough bop's origins as an amalgam of bebop and R&B, Rosenthal narrates the expansion of a circulate that embraced the heavy beat and bluesy phraseology of such renowned artists as Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley; the stark, astringent, tormented track of saxophonists Jackie McLean and Tina Brooks; the gentler, extra lyrical contributions of trumpeter paintings Farmer, pianists Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan, composers Benny Golson and Gigi Gryce; and such consciously experimental and actually distinctive gamers and composers as Andrew Hill, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus. challenging bop welcomed all influences--whether Gospel, the blues, Latin rhythms, or Debussy and Ravel--into its astonishingly artistic, hard-swinging orbit. even though its emphasis on expression and downright "badness" over technical virtuosity was once unappreciated by means of critics, challenging bop was once the tune of black neighborhoods and the final jazz stream to draw the main proficient younger black musicians.
thankfully, files have been there to capture all of it. The years among 1955 and 1965 are unmatched in jazz historical past for the variety of milestones on vinyl. Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus's Mingus Ah Um, Thelonious Monk's Brilliant Corners, Horace Silver's Further Explorations--Rosenthal offers a perceptive cut-by-cut research of those and different jazz masterpieces, providing a necessary discography besides. for skilled jazz-lovers and newcomers alike, Hard Bop is a full of life, multi-dimensional, much-needed exam of the artists, the milieus, and principally the sounds of 1 of America's nice musical epochs.

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Along with Silver, the key ingredient in the band was Art Blakey, who at thirty-six Was already something of a veteran. Blakey's first spurt of development had occurred during a three-year stint with the Billy Eckstine band. By the time the band broke up in 1947, he was acknowledged by both fellow musicians and aficionados as one of the best young drummers around. He had already shown what he could do on recorded small-group sessions—for example with Fats Navarro or Thelonious Monk—as well as with his own group, the original Jazz Messengers.

On the title cut, Rollins stretches out for the first time on record, and you can hear how he has developed. His tone is smooth and lustrous, his phrasing legato, and he shows a flair for songlike melodic figures interspersed with standard bebop licks. At the time, Rollins was still in thrall to Bird, but on "In a Sentimental Mood," recorded two years later with the Modern Jazz Quartet, he also pays homage to Coleman Hawkins, his first idol. Here, in a husky, swaggering treatment of the theme, Sonny reveals a more sanguine tone, complete with growls and hints of Ben Webster-like breathiness.

As a result, jazz regained a measure of 40 H ARD B OP acceptance in black neighborhoods and reaffirmed its connections with terpsichorean rhythms. As Art Blakey said in a 1956 interview in Down Beat: "When we're on the stand, and we see that there are people in the audience who aren't patting their feet and who aren't nodding their heads to our music, we know we're doing something wrong. "19 H A NEW MAINSTREAM Branching Out In the 1950s, the critic Stanley Dance coined the term "Mainstream" for jazz of the Depression years (approximately 19301940).

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