Bop

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Bop, or be-bop in its full name, was a young jazz man's answer to the more conservative prevailingly swing music of the time. Developed in New York City during the early 40s, bop hit the international scene in 1945 and took everyone by surprise with its energetic and radical approach to swing jazz music. In the hands of innovators such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, the old swing music was given much faster tempos and more spare accompaniments from the rhythm section which opened up space for rapid fire pyrotechnical solos. Still a favorite genre in jazz music schools around the world, many clubs still feature be-bop to this day, but today's bop sounds tamer and calmer than the original item.

bop top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

THELONIOUS MONK Monk's Music Album Cover Monk's Music
THELONIOUS MONK
4.84 | 13 ratings
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THELONIOUS MONK Misterioso Album Cover Misterioso
THELONIOUS MONK
4.95 | 4 ratings
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CHARLIE PARKER Bird And Diz (aka The Genius Of Charlie Parker #4 aka Une Rencontre Historique) Album Cover Bird And Diz (aka The Genius Of Charlie Parker #4 aka Une Rencontre Historique)
CHARLIE PARKER
4.89 | 4 ratings
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THELONIOUS MONK Brilliant Corners Album Cover Brilliant Corners
THELONIOUS MONK
4.71 | 13 ratings
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JOE PASS Virtuoso Album Cover Virtuoso
JOE PASS
4.93 | 3 ratings
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THELONIOUS MONK Monk's Dream Album Cover Monk's Dream
THELONIOUS MONK
4.66 | 13 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Davis All Star Sextet (aka Walkin') Album Cover Miles Davis All Star Sextet (aka Walkin')
MILES DAVIS
4.69 | 8 ratings
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SONNY STITT Constellation Album Cover Constellation
SONNY STITT
5.00 | 2 ratings
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SONNY STITT Tune-Up! Album Cover Tune-Up!
SONNY STITT
5.00 | 2 ratings
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ARTURO SANDOVAL Swingin' Album Cover Swingin'
ARTURO SANDOVAL
5.00 | 2 ratings
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BEN WEBSTER The Consummate Artistry of Ben Webster (aka King Of The Tenors) Album Cover The Consummate Artistry of Ben Webster (aka King Of The Tenors)
BEN WEBSTER
5.00 | 2 ratings
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THELONIOUS MONK Genius of Modern Music Album Cover Genius of Modern Music
THELONIOUS MONK
4.84 | 3 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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bop New Releases

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Complete Parisian Small Group Sessions 1956-1959)
Boxset / Compilation
LUCKY THOMPSON
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.. Album Cover
The Complete Recordings 1947-1962
Boxset / Compilation
TEDDY EDWARDS
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Live in Cologne 1970
Live album
OSCAR PETERSON
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.. Album Cover
The Early Years 1945-52
Boxset / Compilation
MILT JACKSON
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.. Album Cover
Nice Jazz 1978
Live album
EDDIE "LOCKJAW" DAVIS
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European Jazz Sounds
Live album
MICHAEL NAURA
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Composes-Arranges-Plays Modern Music
Boxset / Compilation
JERRY COKER
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New York City 1955-1958
Boxset / Compilation
OSCAR PETTIFORD
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.. Album Cover
4 American Jazz Men In Tangier
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IDREES SULIEMAN
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Intégrale Volume 13, I remember you, 1953-1954
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CHARLIE PARKER
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Classic Albums Collection 1957-1963
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SONNY STITT
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bop Music Reviews

DIZZY GILLESPIE Dizzy Gillespie - Stan Getz Sextet : More Of The Diz And Getz Sextet

Album · 1954 · Bop
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The late 1953 recording session that brought us “The Dizzy Gillespie-Stan Getz Sextet” yielded enough top notch material that the folks at Verve quickly followed that one with “More of the Diz and Getz Sextet”, which was made up of four more tracks from that initial recording session, plus one newer track that Dizzy recorded with a different band. The quality of the tracks on “More of Diz and Getz” is fairly comparable to the first album, if they are slightly lesser tracks, it isn’t by much.

This album opens with a high speed blues-bop jam that builds in intensity as the solos are passed from Oscar to Herb, then Stan and finally Dizzy. When Gillespie hits his ride, Herb Ellis’ loud ferocious comping pushes Dizzy to new heights in a wonderfully chaotic buildup. This track is followed by a mellow blues original by Dizzy which he recorded with a different lineup from the all-star cast that makes up the rest of this album. This doesn’t mean there is a drop off in the quality of the playing though, Oscar Peterson may be a technically brilliant player, but Wade Legge’s more lyrical approach may be more interesting. The third cut, “Girl of my Dreams”, continues with the mellow vibe, this time with the all-star support group back on board. The final two cuts are two different versions of “Siboney”, first played as an up-tempo bop number, and secondly, in a Latin jazz style. These final two tracks are probably the highlight of the album as Stan and Dizzy both turn in inspired solos. Its also interesting to note that Stan and Diz will continue their interest in Latin jazz, with Diz going in an Afro-Cuban direction, while Stan will pursue the Bossa-Nova fad.

In later years, these two different albums of material by this sextet will be combined into one album under various re-issue titles. Whatever the title, any of these albums are highly recommended for fans of high quality be-bop.

DIZZY GILLESPIE The Dizzy Gillespie - Stan Getz Sextet

Album · 1954 · Bop
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“The Dizzy Gillespie-Stan Getz Sextet” may not seem like a particularly imaginative album title, but when this album came out in the early 50s, grouping those two artists together was all it took to grab people’s attention in anticipation of what they may come up with. In those days, Dizzy was the master of east coast high energy be-bop, while Getz was the king of west coast cool, this may have seemed like an unlikely pairing at first, but when they recorded together, they meshed and pushed each other to come up with a sum that was even greater than its talented parts. Adding to the attention grabbing aspects of this record, the backup band is an all-star one with Max Roach on drums, Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass, and Herb Ellis on guitar.

The album opens on fire as they take on a high speed bopped out version of Ellington’s “It don’t Mean a Thing…”, Getz shows he can hang with some of the best high speed soloists of the time as his fiery solo is sandwiched in between Dizzy and Oscar’s euphoric rides. This number is followed by the recognizable melody of Ellington’s “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart”, which finds the band in a more relaxed mode. This swing groove will also carry over to the following track, “Exactly Like You”. On both of these numbers Dizzy often plays in a softer mode, possibly a nod to Stan’s west coast sensibilities. Throughout the entire record, Stan and Diz engage in creative interplay, often both will state a melody at the same time in their own style which then comes together in unexpected ways. Max Roach’s interesting and unorthodox approach to the drums also adds to that element of surprise. The album closes with the ballad, “Talk of the Town”, on which Getz’s main talent shows through as he was already becoming known as one of the smoothest ballad players since Lester Young.

This is an ‘album’ from the early days, which means a 10” record and about twenty minutes of music. In later years, this record, plus other material that was recorded that day, will come out on various LPs, often with tiles such as “Diz and Getz”. This session features some of the best jazz musicians of all time in a one time only get together, and they don’t disappoint as they work together as if they had been together a long time. Its the relaxed and creative musical conversation that takes place among the participants that puts this album on the 'genius' level.

ILLINOIS JACQUET Illinois Jacquet (aka Banned In Boston)

Album · 1963 · Bop
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Illinois Jacquet may no longer be a household name, but in the 40s and 50s he was considered one of the top saxophonists of the early bop, and later swing eras. His sound was often purposefully brusque and rough with a tendency toward piercing extreme’s in register that foreshadowed the strong over the top approach of 60s free jazzers like Albert Alyer and Archie Shepp. When 1963 rolled around, bop was becoming somewhat of an anachronism, in fact Illinois spent the first part of the year with a foray into the new soul jazz sound, but when he cut the self-titled “Illinois Jacquet” for Epic later in 63, it was for playing classic be-bop with some influences from the new hard bop sound and crowd pleasing jump blues. This record may have been somewhat out of step with 63, but removed from its time period, it now sounds like another classic bop record recorded by the originators of the sound who knew how to play it right. Like most musical genres, from country to punk, be-bop sounds best when played by those who made it up, modern players just don’t capture that enthusiastic, somewhat flippant and informed sly attitude that gives the music its main appeal.

“Illinois Jacquet” (later titled “Banned in Boston”) opens with the jump blues of “Frantic Fanny”, and then proceeds through a variety that includes bluesy swing grooves, ballads and some up-tempo be-bop fire. The ballads range from the lovely “Stella by Starlight”, to the borderline corniness of “Imagination”, but possibly the top ballad number is Jacquet’s direct and understated reading of Ravel’s “Reverie”, one of the finest versions of this popular classic that you will find. Of the be-bop numbers, nothing tops the high energy of “Indiana (Back Home Again)”, once again played by folks who know how to play this right, making this album less of an anachronism in today’s world, but more of an important time capsule. This album does not contain some of the more exuberant and fierce playing of Jacquet’s early career, but its still a good solid bop recording, albeit recorded in 1963.

ADAM MAKOWICZ Adam Makowicz & George Mraz ‎: Classic Jazz Duets

Live album · 1982 · Bop
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Adam Makowicz started out his musical career as a classical piano student at the Chopin Conservatory in Krakow Poland. Sometime in the mid-50s, Adam became interested in the jazz music that he heard on underground radio broadcasts. Poland was under USSR domination at this time and jazz was mostly forbidden. Once it was learned that Adam was playing jazz, he was kicked out of the university and spent many years as a mostly homeless person. Despite the hardships, Makowicz continued to develop an outstanding technique as a jazz pianist. Interestingly enough, the style that Makowicz developed was an older style, one rooted in the physical demands of stride piano and artists such as Art Tatum and Earl Hines. Early jazz piano required that the pianist be like an orchestra by themselves, with both hands pounding out fistfuls of notes. This was quite different from the more minimalist style pioneered by Monk and Bud Powell that had become the popular style with most modern pianists. This older style that Adam leaned towards could have been caused by his cultural isolation, or it could have been the style he preferred, or maybe a bit of both of those causes. Still, it is also interesting to note that those early jazz pianists who developed the big two-handed stride style were also very influenced by the Chopin pieces they learned in their youthful piano lessons. It would not be too far off to say that Chopin may be the connecting factor between Makowicz and the jazz pianists he admired.

In 1977, famed producer John Hammond brought Makowicz to the US where Adam began to record many albums. Cut forward to 1982 and Adam enters a jazz club called Bechts with fellow European bassist, George Mraz, to record “Classic Jazz Duets”. Side one of the album contains four bebop standards played brilliantly by the two artists. There is a lot of creative interplay as the two effortlessly slip in and out of double time, or reel off precise unison passages at blinding fast tempos. This could have been an outstanding neo-bop album, but problems emerge on side two. This side opens with a blazing version of “Cherokee” which keeps the good vibes flowing, but then the duo decides to cover the cheezy 70s pop song, “If”, yes the song by ultra-cheezy soft rock group Bread. Unfortunately, Adam’s very busy technique becomes quite tacky in the hands of this very trite pop dead end. After this, the album closes with yet one more tune more associated with lounge music than bebop. Its unfortunate these two clunkers undermine what could have been a much better album.

Despite the two questionable tunes, this album is still worth picking up for fans of that sort of heavily technical playing featured by artists like Oscar Peterson, or the aforementioned Art Tatum and Earl Hines. Adam’s playing, and his interactions with Mraz are at times mind-boggling.

THELONIOUS MONK Paris 1969

Live album · 2013 · Bop
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This review is written using the double LP version of this recording. I would imagine when most Monk fans see the 1969 recording date on this album, they not only approach with caution, but probably assume this is one to avoid entirely. The previous year of 1968 had been one of Monk’s roughest, with more time spent in hospitals, rather than clubs. His long time rhythm section finally had to leave him for more work, and only saxophonist Charlie Rouse remained, who was also having problems of his own. Monk’s performances during this time had become spotty and many assumed his career was about over. So it was, in late 1969, Monk and Rouse set out for Europe with a young inexperienced rhythm section in an attempt to prove they still had something to say. “Paris 1969” was recorded on the last day of that tour, and the big surprise is that Monk and his young band sound great.

There are no big surprises on the first two sides of this four sided collection, on which Monk and his band play spirited renditions of well known Monk favorites. This is probably not the most exploratory playing from Monk and Rouse, but they aren’t exactly loafing either. The rhythm section is made up of two young unknowns, (Nate Hygellund on bass and Paris Wright on drums), who were never heard of much again outside of this recording, but they both turn in very strong performances. On side three things change up a bit when Monk plays a few numbers solo. The old school stride version of “I Love You Sweetheart of all my Dreams” is a real treat and must of sounded like a rare jewel during the heavy-handed musical environment of 1969. Also nice is Monk’s solo version of “Crespuscule with Nellie”, a tune that makes a lot more sense the way Monk plays it solo, as opposed to band versions which seem clumsy in comparison.

On side four things change again when Philly Jo Jones takes the drum chair for the last couple numbers. As mentioned earlier, Paris Wright is a solid and even inspired drummer, but Philly Jo is an absolute master of rhythm. Philly Jo’s drum solo on “Nutty” is a textbook example on how a good drummer can expand on the rhythms of the melody through increasingly imaginative variations. The concert closes with Monk and Philly Jo playing short versions of “Blue Monk” and “Epistrophy” that reveal what Monk’s music can really sound like. It’s a bit of a tease coming at the end of the album like it does.

Probably the biggest negative issue with this album is the sound quality. This concert was recorded for TV, and it sounds like a TV broadcast, which means it sounds much better than a bootleg, but not as good as a studio recording. Monk’s music is purposefully coarse and dissonant in the first place, so possibly a rough recording shouldn’t be a big issue.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
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Giant Steps Hard Bop
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