j. michael howard
visual artist
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What is BeBop

When did BeBop evolve? Who were the players?

"Monk's Groove" acrylic painting
"Monk's Groove" acrylic painting
Jazz Works by  J. Michael Howard


Roughly: 1940-50

"Technically, bebop was characterized by fast tempos, complex harmonies, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that laid down a steady beat only on the bass and the drummer's ride cymbal. Bebop tunes were often labyrinthine, full of surprising twists and turns. All these factors - plus the predominance of small combos in bebop - set the music apart from the Swing bands of the 1930s."

- from David H. Rosenthal's book, Hard Bop, published by Oxford Paperbacks, New York, 1992

And coming out of bebop, with the assistance of Miles Davis, and a few other cats, came Cool, and, following closely on its heels and borrowing the suffix, Hard Bop.

The following is an preliminary listing of important figures in BeBop, under their primary instruments:


Ray Brown, Charles Mingus


Tadd Dameron


Art Blakey, Max Roach, and Kenny Clarke


Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell


Charlie Parker, Jackie McLean, Sonny Stitt, and Dexter Gordon


J.J. Johnston


"Dizzy" Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, and Kenny Dorham

For more detail on these legends and others:

Visit my Jazz History Links Page




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