Bop v. Swing

Everything about the swinging music we love to DJ

Moderators: Mr Awesomer, JesseMiner, CafeSavoy

Message
Author
User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Bop v. Swing

#1 Post by Lawrence » Tue Mar 04, 2003 4:04 pm

The thread was going FAR off the topic of Count Basie's Autobiography.
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?
From someone who "hates that shit," that's an interesting question.

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.
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

User avatar
Mr Awesomer
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 10:21 pm
Location: Altadena, CA
Contact:

Re: Bop v. Swing

#2 Post by Mr Awesomer » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:09 pm

Lawrence wrote: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.
As I understand it, you are quite incorrect.
Reuben Brown
Southern California

User avatar
Kyle
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 3:01 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

#3 Post by Kyle » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:39 pm

thanks dood, that was an awesome explanation

and just because I hate it, doesn't mean that I wont try to understand it, and its differences. geeze

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#4 Post by Lawrence » Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:57 pm

One of the foremost jazz musicians in Austin clarified a bit for me. Bop had a very purposeful "fuck the dancers' theme to it. They were sick of playing for dancers, and, as noted above, explored solo rhythms far beyond the simple swing rhythm. However, Bop was initially played to only swing rhythms, just really fast at non-danceable tempos and with solos that interfered with the "danceability" of the music. Post-bop slowed things down again and created newer dimensions with different rhythms (Sonny Rollins playing to Latin Rhythms, etc.) and even newer chords.

To add to the musician explanation, swing era solos focused on playing variations on the melody. Charlie Parker came along and said "Fuck the melody, let's play music." Instead of playing solos based on a simple minor or major or 7th chord present in the melody, he noted that a whole new dimensions of chords existed that complimented and shared notes with the simple minor, major, and 7th chords used in the melody.

The upshot is that doing so created diminished, sustained, ninth, etc. chords that opened up an entire new dimension of music. Instead of the single dimension of the key/chord in which the meldoy was composed (which had three or four notes), he would play solos that stemmed from associated, supplemental chords that would have far more notes than the root chord. Because the new supplemental chords had so many more notes, they opened far more possibilities and options to a soloist. If the melody was in A, he would play solos not only based on the chord of A, but also several other supplemental chords.

These supplemental chords branched off in different dimensions, sort of creating a star-like association between the root chord and the supplemental chords. They shared notes witht he root chord, but also had dissimilar notes, which created the harmonic but nonetheless dissonant sound that typifies Bop.
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

User avatar
Mr Awesomer
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 10:21 pm
Location: Altadena, CA
Contact:

#5 Post by Mr Awesomer » Wed Mar 05, 2003 12:21 am

Yet some dancers were able to adapt to this new music and create new forms of dances... and thus Apple Jack battles came about. Another example of how the music defines the dance.

And since you didn't take my Monk bait... to clarify things for those who don't look into things themselves, Monk is considered to be among the innovators of Bop... right there with Diz, Parker, Powell, Roach.
Reuben Brown
Southern California

User avatar
SpuzBal
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 5:38 pm
Contact:

#6 Post by SpuzBal » Wed Mar 05, 2003 2:12 am

Speaking of Monk contributing to the development of bop, everyone should check out the CD After Hours. It has Charlie Christian, Dizzy Gillespie, Monk, Kenny Clarke, Hot Lips Page, et cetera. It's one of my favorites.

The music on it was recorded on 52nd Street on some guy's portable record cutter in May 1941.
"In my opinion, out of the ten great guitarists in the world, Django is five of them!" - Rex Stewart

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#7 Post by Lawrence » Wed Mar 05, 2003 10:28 am

GuruReuben wrote:Yet some dancers were able to adapt to this new music and create new forms of dances... and thus Apple Jack battles came about. Another example of how the music defines the dance.

And since you didn't take my Monk bait... to clarify things for those who don't look into things themselves, Monk is considered to be among the innovators of Bop... right there with Diz, Parker, Powell, Roach.
Who let John Cooper on this list? And how did he get Rueben's password?
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

User avatar
CafeSavoy
Posts: 1138
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 6:25 pm
Location: Mobtown
Contact:

#8 Post by CafeSavoy » Wed Mar 05, 2003 10:54 am

"At this time the fashion is to bring something to jazz that I reject.
They speak of freedom. But one has no right, under pretext of freeing yourself,
to be illogical and incoherent by getting rid of structure and simply piling
a lot of notes one on top of the other. There’s no beat anymore. You can’t
keep time with your foot. There’s a new idea that consists in destroying
everything and find what’s shocking and unexpected; whereas jazz must first of all
tell a story that anyone can understand." -- Thelonious Monk

User avatar
Mr Awesomer
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 10:21 pm
Location: Altadena, CA
Contact:

#9 Post by Mr Awesomer » Wed Mar 05, 2003 11:33 am

Lawrence wrote: Who let John Cooper on this list? And how did he get Rueben's password?
Have you forgotten what a Cooper post is really like already?
Reuben Brown
Southern California

User avatar
main_stem
Posts: 349
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2002 9:01 am
Location: Seattle, WA

#10 Post by main_stem » Wed Mar 05, 2003 12:41 pm

Well, I grabbed this from all music.

Also known as bebop, Bop was a radical new music that developed gradually in the early '40s and exploded in 1945. The main difference between bop and swing is that the soloists engaged in chordal (rather than melodic) improvisation, often discarding the melody altogether after the first chorus and using the chords as the basis for the solo. Ensembles tended to be unisons, most jazz groups were under seven pieces, and the soloist was free to get as adventurous as possible as long as the overall improvisation fit into the chord structure. Since the virtuoso musicians were getting away from using the melodies as the basis for their solos (leading some listeners to ask "Where's the melody?") and some of the tempos were very fast, bop divorced itself from popular music and a dancing audience, uplifting jazz to an art music but cutting deeply into its potential commercial success. Ironically the once-radical bebop style has become the foundation for all of the innovations that followed and now can be almost thought of as establishment music. Among its key innovators were altoist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Bud Powell, drummer Max Roach, and pianist/composer Thelonious Monk. — Scott Yanow

Funny Monk is considered one of the key innovators. I guess Yanow for got to check with Lawrence about this. :P
"We called it music."
— Eddie Condon

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#11 Post by Lawrence » Wed Mar 05, 2003 1:08 pm

GuruReuben wrote:Have you forgotten what a Cooper post is really like already?
We'll discuss it off the list....
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#12 Post by Lawrence » Wed Mar 05, 2003 1:49 pm

main_stem wrote:Among its key innovators were altoist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Bud Powell, drummer Max Roach, and pianist/composer Thelonious Monk. — Scott Yanow

Funny Monk is considered one of the key innovators. I guess Yanow for got to check with Lawrence about this. :P
Yanow certainly knows more about it than I do. You could not have found a better source. :oops:

Monk and Diz were contemporaries (agewise), but I consider "Monk's Dream" (1962) as perhaps the seminal Monk recording, and it is not "Bebop." Diz and Bird's seminal recordings, in contrast, were in the 40s and early 50s: the heyday of Bop. Yanow's biography of Monk on Allmusic.com also paints a different picture than the above quote: that Monk's style was fully developed but never really accepted during the Bebop years because it fell too far from the Bebop paradigm. Yanow adds that Monk only developed respect when jazz musicians looked for something different than pure Bebop. (Hard Bop.) He also concludes that Monk's son "has helped keep the hard bop tradition alive with his quintet," which impliedly characterizes Monk as Hard Bop, not Bebop.

It might seem like splitting hairs, but Bebop and Hard Bop are significantly different even to my ears. Its like comparing Swing Era Big Band Swing to Jump Blues: sure, there are similarities, but I doubt that most of us would say that Louis Jordan and Benny Goodman published the same type of music at their peaks.

The Allmusic biography for Monk also lists the following styles as indicative of Monk's music:
Styles Modal Music, Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Bop.
Perhaps I overspoke when I wrote that Monk did not play Bop, but it is listed as the last in importance in that list, and probably included only because he was around and played with Bop players. (Charlie Parker's Bio lists "Bop, Big Band," in contrast). But the above explains why I consider him more post-bop or hard bop. I apologize for being so conclusory, but I did qualify it with "As I understand it...."
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

User avatar
djstarr
Posts: 1043
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 2:09 pm
Location: Seattle

Charlie Parker

#13 Post by djstarr » Tue May 20, 2003 1:06 pm

I liked the quote about "Fuck the dancers"....I love Charlie Parker, but it's hard to find stuff of his that is danceable; early Charlie Parker with the Jay McShann Orchestra is still good since he hadn't developed his mature style yet, but most of the stuff on the Ken Burns' Charlie Parker collection is not danceable (at least not by the majority of people on the floor!).

To me, that separates bop from swing or jazz; you can't really dance to bop.

There is a great track on Ray Charles artists' choice - "My Melancholy Baby" - with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillepsie; at a steady 130 bpm it's fun to dance to their beautiful solo lines.

User avatar
Mr Awesomer
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 10:21 pm
Location: Altadena, CA
Contact:

Re: Charlie Parker

#14 Post by Mr Awesomer » Tue May 20, 2003 1:45 pm

djstarr wrote:To me, that separates bop from swing or jazz; you can't really dance to bop.
Seperate Bop from Jazz? haha. Bop is Jazz, period.

Bop can swing, but yeah it's not Swing.

You can dance to Bop, sometimes even the Lindy Hop, but for the most part there are other forms of dance that fit it nicely... ones that are usually out of the scope of our little social dance "community" and of little interest to many.
Reuben Brown
Southern California

User avatar
funkyfreak
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:53 pm
Location: Dallas, TX
Contact:

#15 Post by funkyfreak » Tue May 20, 2003 1:59 pm


Locked