Ever experience going into a cafe and hearing jazz music in the background? You know it is Jazz, but it has a distinctive style. It’s livelier, faster, and more percussive. Most likely, there is a big chance that you are listening to Bebop jazz music. Bebop music is the parent of all mainstream Jazz we hear today. It emphasizes improvisation, stupendous changes in keys, and fast tempo. Bebop was born around the 1940s and 50s.
The Bebop Jazz
Bebop jazz has a fascinating background and origin. It is also different due to several factors. Bebop leans on improvisation. It also draws influences from Blues music. The emergence of Bebop also lay the groundwork for modern Jazz.
During the 20th-century’s early part, swing music was played for young people. It was composed for entertainment. It was a vehicle for people to dance at a gathering. It was functional, which served as background music, rather than the focus of attention. Bebop, with all its lively tempo, was not for dancing. That’s how Bebop differed from swing music. It was art music, rather than entertainment music. It requires training and a deep understanding of music theory to play Bebop and all types of Jazz. You can say that swing was the bubble gum pop music of the time. Jazz was jazz music. Bebop, like all jazz music, had an African-American origin.
How It Differs From Jazz?
Before answering what Bebop music is, let us ask what is Jazz music? I wish there is one standard style that you can call Jazz. Yet, Jazz has many branches, sub-genres, and even new forms that fuse the new and the old, as well as other styles. Jazz is rooted in improvisation. It has a distinctive rhythmic style. It relies on key changes and scales. A listener can say that it has a certain ‘flavor.’ For those who are not well-versed in musical genres, Jazz is easy to tell apart from the rest. While the emphasis of pop music is more on catchy melodies with repetitive style, Jazz is rhythm-driven.
That is why one is required to go to school to play Jazz. And it takes superior talent to be the master of Jazz. This genre has a distinctive style because it has a fast tempo than most of the jazz music. It is also closely related to Blues. You can say that Bebop music is the ‘dance music’ of Jazz, yet no one wants to dance to it. It is art music. Thus, it requires your attention to appreciate it fully.
Bebop Jazz Musicians
Many musicians dabbled with the genre, but few musicians became stalwarts of Bebop jazz music. Charlie Parker dazzled the 40s and 50s crowd with his alto saxophone. Dizzy Gillespie pulled the trumpet from its classical origin into a primary jazz instrument. Pianist Thelonious Monk turned the piano into one of the major jazz instruments. More musicians emerged in this genre, and more are continuing the tradition.
If you haven’t listened to this genre, then I encourage you to listen today. You can check out the music via YouTube and Spotify. If you are into vinyl records, then you can hunt vintage music shops for Bebop music. It’s a refreshing listening experience. One that’s proven to be timeless and enriching.
Genres come and go. What’s new today might sound dated and tasteless twenty years from now. This type of genre has an enduring style. When you listen to it, you would wonder how such a style of music was born in the 1940s and 50s can still sound fresh today. That is the beauty of pure art. It is timeless, and it never gets out of style.