From someone who "hates that shit," that's an interesting question.Kyle wrote:for the life of me, i cannot recall the definition that Chuck Niles gave on his "Mostly Bop" show on KJAZZ 88.1, down here in LA. he plays stuff from basie and ellington and the like, and he talked about that. what "identified" something as bop. it wasn't just the lack of a swingin beat, he said something to the effect of the solos, and what the musicians were doing on the solos. it can be bop and still swing. anyone know anything about this? or have more to share about it?
It's difficult for a non-musician to describe, but here's what I understand of it. From a layman's perspective, Bop is defined by the rhythmic and harmonic complexity of the music, the emphasis on improvisational solos, and the seemingly-arhythmic emphasis within the solos. In contrast to Swing solos that flow from and use (and are therefore limited by) the rhythm, Bop soloists often "harmonized" over the rhythm with a complementary rhythm of their own. By doing so, they could play more notes, and paint more complex musical pictures. Sticking with the rhythm limits the number of notes they can play, and thus limits the complexity of the solo. Breaking free of the underlying rhythm allowed Bop soloists to play "flurries" of notes regardless of whether the rhythm allowed it or not.
In one sense, Bop soloists can be considered as ignoring the rhythm because they seem to lay their solos on "top" of the rhythym instead of fit INTO the rhythm. However, just as a harmony line is a noticably different but oddly complimentary musical line than the melody, the bop soloist's rhythm would be noticably different than but oddly complimentary to the underlying rhythm. In Swing, the solos were more directly in line with the underlying rhythm.
Freeing the music from the rhythm affected not only solos, but also melodies. Benny Goodman was known for insisting that the entire band was one big rhythm section. Once the melodies were freed from that tether, they, too, became more complex and seemingly-arythmic.
As jazz musicians delved deeper into Bop, the underlying rhythms got more complex, as well.
From a musician's perspective, I know just enough to be dangerous. It has something to do with the chords and scales the soloist chooses to play: incorporating not just majors and minors, but fifths and other harmonic variations that a "Swing" soloist would not use because it is too dissonent. Bop and post-bop Jazz musicians used that dissonance to shake the listener out of his complacency or passive listening, much like punk rock or some modern rap music does.
Bop musicians also started the practice of playing complex chords in a quick stream of notes instead of all at once, which created a different effect. To try a metaphor, instead of the chord being dumped on you (the listener) all at once like a bucket of water, it was showered on you. Post-Bop took this concept and ran with it.
As I understand it, Monk is not Bop. He is very post-bop; two or three evolutions beyond pure Bop. Diz and Bird are the original Bop masters.