The Bebop is a style of music that replaced the early 1940s in jazz swing style as the main direction and thus formed the origin of modern jazz.


Key elements are greater rhythmic freedom for drums and bass, fast tempos and complex harmony schemes. Composer of bebop often used existing musical themes and harmony sequences. Essential to the Bebop are also the improvisations on long formal routes.

With the bebop, the jazz adopted as an entertainment and music is stylized gradually to art music. This is due to the rejection of bebop through large parts of critics and audiences as well as a new understanding of the record as a medium. The volatile improvisations of the musicians are stored by the record and bring a collector and expert knowledge produced - especially in the white middle-class American and European intellectuals. With the improved recording technique of the soloist is more pronounced than ever out as an individual and artist. Never again, however, the Jazz added to the picture, which had been previously made ​​by him, in the image of a popular culture accessible to all.


Probably a concatenation of several factors has led to the emergence of this new style. At the end of the 1930s, swing had become a big business. The creative zenith of many Swing Orchestra was exceeded, and the music threatened to freeze in formulaic. Bored with the routine as " orchestra employees " began numerous musicians - often " after hours" after they had done their job in the big band - to meet for informal jam sessions. Here was played and sought after musical forms beyond the Big Bands. A focal point of this development was Minton 's Playhouse in Harlem and not 52nd Street in Manhattan, as is often mistakenly claimed. Among the most important musicians of this circle included Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke. It is also suspected that the product relative to the USA entered the war in 1941 tax increase on dancing the economics of Big Bands gradually undermined, so that the demise of the Swing accelerated and fostered the development of the new style in the form of an autonomous art music.

The small bands that developed the new jazz style, were not considered dance or entertainment bands and these were in their self- understanding does not, which is why the owners of the night clubs were not occupied with war-related special charges if they hired young bebop musicians with their combos. Ban because of the recording, there are no studio recordings from the development phase of this style; there are only a few private, technically very poor live recordings from " Minton 's Playhouse " and " Monroe 's Uptown House ".

It is also said that the Bebop was built as a response of the African American population of the white-dominated swing.

The name Bebop

The origin of the word " bebop " is, as so often, is not entirely clear in jazz and there are many legends about the origin of this term. It probably goes back to the onomatopoeic scat syllables "be", "re", "de" and " bop ", with the help of musicians accustomed to each other sing complicated lines in fast tempos. The term bebop represented also in particularly the dubiousness of such generic names in jazz. This is probably the most likely of all offered explanations that there is; with this name, as so often comes in the music, not by the musicians themselves, but by the press.

Is the context clearly, is also spoken by Bop. However, the designation Rebop arose from a lack of understanding of the swing musicians of the time compared to the bebop out and called the Bebop maybe not. Also, in many cases, no scatting bebop, but only syllabic singing, which lacks the peculiar turns of bebop.

Characteristics of bebop

  • More complicated than the swing, more solos, more improvisation.
  • The third Blue Note: The flatted fifth, which appears in different places.
  • Saxophone and trumpet play in unison ( the same).
  • Return of the big band swing of the Combo
  • Phrasing torn, ragged melody
  • No riffs
  • Complicated harmonies
  • Excessive or diminished seventh chords
  • Each note in the chord can be lowered and raised
  • Is often played "harder"
  • Is played lightning fast, works frantically

Standard Cast

Quintet: Trumpet, Saxophone ( alto or tenor mostly ), piano, bass, drums. Big bands were rare (an exception is the orchestra of Dizzy Gillespie ).

Important albums

  • Charlie Christian: Swing To Bop ( Dreyfus, 1939-41 )
  • Dizzy Gillespie: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings ( Bluebird, 1937-49 )
  • Howard McGhee: On Dial - The Complete Sessions 1945-1947 ( Spotlite )
  • Thelonious Monk: Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1 & 2 ( Blue Note, 1947-48 )
  • Fats Navarro: The Complete Fats Navarro on Blue Note & Capitol ( Blue Note, 1947-49 )
  • Charlie Parker: The Charlie Parker Story ( Savoy, 1945), The Complete Savoy And Dial Studio Recordings ( Savoy, 1944-48 )
  • Charlie Parker: Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol 1 ( Savoy 1947 /48)
  • Charlie Parker: The Bird Returns ( Savoy, 1948/49; recordings of his performances at New York's Royal Roost )
  • Charlie Parker: Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve ( Verve, his recordings for Mercury 1947-54 )
  • Bud Powell: The Amazing Bud Powell ( Blue Note, 1949/51 ) ( Quintet with Sonny Rollins and Navarro, trio and solo recordings )
  • [( Horace Silver )]: '' [ ( Six Pieces of Silver ) ] '' ( Blue Note, 1956)