In the 1940s, the younger generation of jazz musicians created a new style that came out of the 1930s' swing music. They partially strove to counter the popularization of swing with non-danceable music that demanded listening. Minton's Playhouse in New York served as an incubator and experimental theater for early bebop players. Part of the atmosphere created at jams like the ones found at Minton's Playhouse was an air of exclusivity: the "regular" musicians would often reharmonize the standards in order to exclude those whom they considered outsiders or simply weaker players.
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers. The music itself seemed jarringly different to the ears of the public, who were used to the bouncy, organized, danceable tunes of Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller during the swing era. Instead, bebop appeared to sound racing, nervous, erratic and often fragmented. While swing music tended to feature orchestrated big band arrangements, bebop music highlighted improvisation. Typically, a theme (a "head," often the main melody of a pop or jazz standard of the swing era) would be presented together at the beginning and the end of each piece, with improvisational solos based on the chords of the tune. Thus, the majority of a song in bebop style would be improvisation, the only threads holding the work together being the underlying harmonies played by the rhythm section.
Pioneers of bebop jazz included musicians like Dizzy Gillespie (tp), Charlie Parker (as), Thelonius Monk (p) and Budd Powell (p), who were influenced by the preceding generation's adventurous soloists, such as pianists Art Tatum and Earl Hines, tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young and trumpeter Roy Eldridge. Another bop pioneer neglected by hardliners and almost forgotten today was sax player Charlie Ventura, who attempted to popularize bebop for a larger audience by naming one of his 1940s ensembles Bop For The People.
|Charlie Ventura (1916-1992)|
|Gene Krupa and Charlie Ventura|
|Jackie Cain and Roy Kral|
|Euphoria, recorded 1946 for National|