Chapter

The Beginnings

Thomas Owens

in Bebop

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106510
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853182 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195106510.003.0001
                   The Beginnings

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When bebop was new, many jazz musicians and most of the jazz audience heard it as radical, chaotic, bewildering music. However, time and familiarity softened and even eliminated the objections. Bebop, in fact, is now the lingua franca of jazz, serving as the principal musical language of thousands of jazz musicians. It also affects the way earlier jazz styles are played, and is the parent language of many action jazz and fusion players. During the 1930s and early 1940s the predominant jazz style was swing. Swing, a dance-oriented style, typically was played in ballrooms by big bands of fourteen or more musicians. The first bebop recordings, which appeared in the mid 1940s, offered striking contrasts to the norms of the swing style. The bebop “revolution” was primarily rhythmic; bebop rhythm sections produce a more complex, multilayered texture than their swing-era counterparts.

Keywords: bebop; jazz; musicians; fusion; swing; recordings; big bands; rhythm

Chapter.  3279 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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