MUH2 - The Bebop Revolution The Bebop Revolution The early...

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The Bebop Revolution
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The Bebop Revolution The early 1940’s were a time of important change in jazz. Just as the Swing Era was in full bloom, a musical revolution was brewing in Harlem.
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The Bebop Revolution New ideas were coming together from a diverse cast of creative young musicians at after-hours jam sessions. In an environment of experimentation and spirited camaraderie, bebop, the first modern jazz style, was born. It was frenetic, difficult to play, and for many jazz fans, difficult to listen to. Most the leaders were defiant, rebellious and disrespectful of authority. The emergence of bebop was a broad reflection of some important changes that were beginning to surface in America. Some initially criticized bebop but it was too big a force to ignore. Bebop changed jazz from popular dance music to intellectual art music. By bringing an entirely new vocabulary to jazz, it washed away the musical cliches of swing. It opened up jazz to new artistic interpretations that would lead to almost limitless stylistic approaches in the future.
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The Bebop Revolution Bebop’s influence is pervasive to this day; its melodies, rhythms, harmonies and repertoire are still studied by jazz musicians and are intertwined in the very fabric of nearly all modern jazz.
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The Bebop Revolution In the beginning, bebop was revolution whose repercussions brought turmoil to the jazz world; some musicians stubbornly ignored it; others embraced it; still others initiated a nostalgic backlash against it. Bebop ended up being a evolution as well as a revolution.
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The Bebop Revolution With the arrival of bebop, the playing field was suddenly tilted in a disorienting way. Many musicians, like alto saxophonist Art Pepper, felt threatened. Upon hearing his first bop recording after returning from the war, Pepper said, “These guys played faster……an they really played. Not only were the fast, technically, but it all had meaning, and they swung! They were playing notes I never heard of before in the chords. It was more intricate, more bluesy, more swinging, more everything….and it scared me to death.
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The American Federation of Musicians Recording Ban What caught many musicians off guard was the complete absence of bebop recording during the music’s developmental stages. The American federatioin of Musicians ban on recording by its members from August 1, 1942 until late 1944 neatly coincides with the new music’s gestation period. Chances are if you weren’t in Harlem during this time you probably would not have heard any beboop until the first bebop recordings were made in late 1944 and early 1945. As author and historian Scott DeVeaux put it, “The recording ban falls like a curtain in the middle of the most interesting part of a play; by the time the curtain rises, the plot has taken an unexpected turn, and the characters are speaking a new language.
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The New Breed of Jazz Musician The radical inequities of the music business during the swing era had
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This note was uploaded on 01/26/2011 for the course MUH 4016 taught by Professor Bailey during the Spring '09 term at University of Florida.

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MUH2 - The Bebop Revolution The Bebop Revolution The early...

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