Hard Bop

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Cool jazz's reign as the prevalent jazz style after bop's demise was short lived as many jazz players, especially on the east coast, wanted to return to a style of jazz that had a little more grit and aggression. Hard bop was a return to some of the ascetics of bop, but also offered some new differences. Hard bop brought back the faster tempos of the bop era, but in hard bop the harmonic changes did not come in such rapid fire succession and musicians found themselves stretching out on longer modal style solos. The new emphasis on albums rather than singles also led to longer songs. Hard bop players also began to bring more influences from the church, blues and RnB into jazz which foreshadowed the coming of soul jazz. Despite an influx of avant-garde jazz in the 60s, hard bop remained the prevalent jazz style until the emergence of fusion in the late 60s. Hard bop has enjoyed many revivals over the years and remains one of the most enduring and popular styles in jazz. Miles Davis is considered an early innovator in the field of hard bop, but Art Blakey and the many musicians who played in his Jazz Messengers are considered to be the epitome of the style.

hard bop top albums

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

MILES DAVIS 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis) Album Cover 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis)
MILES DAVIS
4.85 | 26 ratings
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SONNY ROLLINS Saxophone Colossus Album Cover Saxophone Colossus
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4.81 | 20 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Giant Steps Album Cover Giant Steps
JOHN COLTRANE
4.77 | 44 ratings
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LEE MORGAN Search for the New Land Album Cover Search for the New Land
LEE MORGAN
4.92 | 8 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Live at Birdland Album Cover Live at Birdland
JOHN COLTRANE
4.88 | 9 ratings
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LEE MORGAN The Sidewinder Album Cover The Sidewinder
LEE MORGAN
4.78 | 18 ratings
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4.73 | 35 ratings
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ART BLAKEY Free For All Album Cover Free For All
ART BLAKEY
4.83 | 11 ratings
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LEE MORGAN Cornbread Album Cover Cornbread
LEE MORGAN
4.90 | 7 ratings
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4.82 | 11 ratings
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ART BLAKEY Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers (aka Moanin') Album Cover Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers (aka Moanin')
ART BLAKEY
4.74 | 20 ratings
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hard bop Music Reviews

ARCHIE SHEPP Tray of Silver

Album · 1979 · Hard Bop
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snobb
Late seventies were the time when world is turned over for all generation of yesterday adventurous jazz stars who became famous in late 60s and continued to enjoy success in early 70s. Musical fashion has been changed dramatically and one morning many of them woke up jobless,sometime even homeless and as rule - useless.Not so many of them survived these and upcoming years successfully, fortunately Archie Shepp did. To pay his bills he just started to record music on request,playing what labels wanted him to be played. During second half of decade Shepp released lot of albums of varied quality and even more varied stylistic, but what helped him to survive that difficult time was good old hard bop (not so obvious choice for Shepp who didn't come to late 60s avant-garde jazz from hard-bop scene, as many others,though).In some European scenes and more important - in Japan hard bop just displaced rapidly disappearing avant-garde jazz for some years, Archie Shepp found his new listener here.

From impressive amount of Shepp releases coming from mentioned era there are some still very adventurous albums,lot of hard bop based music with still his freer touch here and there and few very straight works, "Tray Of Silver" is one of them.

Four quite long compositions, three of which are Horace Silver originals, acoustic boppish quartet with Yusef Lateef and Horace Silver himself drummer Roy Brooks,one-time Art Blakey Jazz Messangers pianist Mickey Tucker,Gil Evans tuba/baritone player Howard Johnson and Japanese bassist (who released album with Herbie Hancock on same Denon label two years ago).Recorded in Tokyo's studio, album has characteristic warm,deep and clear "Japanese" sound. All musicians are high-class so the music is well played but biggest surprise, at least for old Shepp's fans is how safe he plays here. If on many his other hard bop - based albums from the same time he doesn't avoid risky improvisations and even some dissonant,explosive soloing, on "Tray Of Silver" he plays extremely straight,note by note. Fortunately,album is not a collection of late night smokey bar - type nostalgic ballads, there are some mid-tempo quite energetic numbers, and included ballads themselves don't sound too sticky.But being extremely safe,all music becomes quite faceless, just another tunes played by skilled but not very original band.

Hardly an interesting addition for those loving adventurous Shepp, it's still better-than-average hard bop album,not all that inspired, but well played and recorded.

RED GARLAND At the Prelude

Live album · 1959 · Hard Bop
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Matt
Granted as one gets older, hence the more music one has heard, especially if like myself you just love to hear some great music every day, it does become harder to find quality reissued albums that one has not heard at some time or another but early this year Jazz Wax records released “Red Garland At The Prelude” and what an absolute joy to hear some beautiful Bop from a trio that sounds as fresh “as a loaf of bread straight out the oven”. Why this Red album, did he not do those ones with Coltrane and other luminaries including Coleman Hawkins for Prestige? Not to mention that Quintet that Miles Davis lead. For myself perhaps it was Red was just in absolute sparkling form on the night with this album’s numbers being the jewels picked from the entire evenings recordings, or was it Rudy Van Gelder doing the actual recording? Another factor could be we do not have the usual Rhythm Section of Paul Chambers and Art Taylor or Philly Jo Jones who appeared on many of his studio Trio Recordings which seems to give this a slight different feel. The added addition of the album being, it is a beautiful Live Recording for that period in time (1959, first for this type of venue) by Rudy Van Gelder.

The Trio or Band comprise Red Garland on piano, who needs no introduction but it is the Rhythm section that is not as well known as Red’s usual above three that was mentioned, being Jimmy Rowser on bass and Specs Wright playing drums. Jimmy Rowser had originally been the house bassist at Philly’s Blue Note from 1954 to 56 and then did an approximate two year stint with Dinah Washington and then another two years with Maynard Ferguson which brings us to this point in time with Red’s trio. Specs Wright on drums had “been around the block” musically to say the least by working with so many other great musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, Howard McGhee, Earl Bostic, Cannonball Adderley and also being a member In Carmen McRae’s trio. Both musicians are a joy to hear with their input throughout the recording.

The sparkle and stride seem to be coming out of Red’s piano and band as soon as the needle hits with the first composition “Let Me See” coming in with a beautiful bounce applied to this Basie, Edison, Hendricks tune. The Rhythm section feature prominently with Red’s piano hitting that stride and with the call and response used by the band throughout the composition’s input even the drum solo keeps us right on bouncing along with this wonderful opening number. “Prelude blues” follows which is one of Red’s own compositions and sure he hits hard with that percussive technique that he played with but this lovely slow Blues is full of a glorious piano technique and if one wants to hear ivories tickled this is right up your alley. One of the two Ellington compositions within the album “Just Squeeze Me” is up next and that sparkling Red piano sound is all around on this mid tempo number. “Cherokee” comes next and it is a bonus track for this reissue followed by Basie’s “One O’Clock Jump” with another bonus take of this thrown in to finish the album on the B Side. “Satin Doll” the other Ellington composition is first up on the record’s flip with “Perdido” following with more of that Ellington presence felt and both are played beautifully by the trio. The album’s ballad “There’ll Never Be Another You” is played in a mid tempo range with more of that great timing coming from the Rhythm section with Red’s piano seeming to dance right across them and is just another highlight as the rest of the numbers seem to be contained within this lovely trio recording. “Bye Bye Blackbird” is the original album closer and it sounds wonderful here from the trio with that necessary jaunt within the songs chorus and it is for me a nice stripped take of that version he did with Miles Davis from his “Round Midnight” album.

Red Garland unfortunately has been labelled a cocktail bar pianist but to us fans we know that is from people who have not bothered to take the time and concentration to listen to his many Trio recordings because sure Red had a wonderful hard hitting technique with also having that knack to always keep a string on the tune right throughout, including solos. No wonder Miles wanted him. Very Highly recommended from this old boy. Sure it ain’t Bill Evans but that is what is so nice about the difference.

CANNONBALL ADDERLEY The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco (aka Spontaneous Combustion)

Live album · 1959 · Hard Bop
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js
:”The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco” was one of Cannonball’s first albums with his new group, coming after his successful work with Miles Davis, and features some of the best recorded solos of his career. Prior to this recording, Adderley had joined with Miles to record hallmark jazz albums such as “Kind of Blue” and “Something Else”. Needless to say, his career was on fire at this time, and his new quintet did not disappoint with his brother Nat supplying high register trumpet flights and Bobby Timmons pounding out bluesy rhythms on the piano along with Sam Jones on bass and the innovative and under-rated Louis Hayes on drums.

Side one features two lengthy blues based workouts in a hard bop style that borders on soul jazz, pretty much what you could expect from Julian at this point in his career. Side two opens in a similar fashion, but then "you Got It" veers into a slightly more experimental direction foreshadowing some of the things that would soon be coming from Miles’ new quintet, and "Bohemia After Dark" is classic high speed bop. Throughout this entire album, Cannonball’s playing is on fire and features his strong devotion to Charlie Parker, particularly on the two closing cuts. In addition to the Parker influence, Adderley also shows an interest in the new style jazz/blues soloists like Stanley Turrentine. As mentioned earlier, the rest of Julian’s band is stellar, with honorable mention going to drummer Louis Hayes and his work on “You Got It”, a track that features interesting drum breaks that foreshadow much of what Tony Williams would be doing in a few years.

The recording quality of these tracks is quite good, the only slight problem being that the piano could be a bit louder at times, but its no big deal. The CD version has some bonus tracks, but the LP version that was used to write this review has that great unfiltered analog sound. This is highly recommended for fans of the Adderley Brothers and late 50s hard bop.

PEPPER ADAMS Out of This World

Album · 1961 · Hard Bop
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siLLy puPPy
This album was originally released in 1961 when HERBIE HANCOCK made his debut to the recording world. Although several re-issues have been released under his name, it was originally under the name PEPPER ADAMS AND DONALD BYRD QUINTET – Out Of This World.

This album not only exhibits one of the most cumbersome band names and titles of jazz albums throughout recording history but also is the perfect example of how a few recorded tracks that went virtually unheard at the time of release would go on to be repackaged, renamed under not only totally different track names and sequential order but also by completely different composers and artists! This album would have probably been a total obscurity in history had it not been for the the fact that it is the very first recording to feature HERBIE HANCOCK. Let me list all the differences simply as a place to sort out the dizzying variations.

Those released under the artist name PEPPER ADAMS & DONALD BYRD QUINTET

Original release: album: Out Of This World released in 1961 as Warwick W 2041 tracks: 1. Curro's 2. It's a Beautiful Evening 3. Mr. Lucky Theme 4. Bird House 5. Day Dreams

Second version: album: Out Of This World Vol 2 released in 1988 as Warwick 2041 - 2 tracks: 1. I'm An Old Cowhand (Unreleased) 2. Day Dreams (alt. take) 3. Out Of This World (alt. take) 4. Mr. Lucky (alt. take) 5. Curro's (alt. take) 6. Byrd House (alt. Take)

Third version: album: Out Of This World: The Complete Warwick Sessions released in 2010 on CD tracks: 1. Byrd House 2. Mr. Lucky 3. Day Dreams 4. I'm An Old Cowhand 5. Curro's 6. It's A Beautiful Evening 7. Out Of This World

Many of these tracks have also been released and put together in many ways as HERBIE HANCOCK album compilations as well. These album titles include: Voyager Jammin'(with Herbie Hancock!) And Rock Your Soul, which is technically a 2007 compilation of versions of these tracks They have been renamed as they've been repackaged: 1. Jammin' With Herbie = Curro's 2. Herbie's Blues = Bird House 3. Rock Your Soul = Mr. Lucky 4. T.C.B. With Herbie = Out Of This World 5. Soul Power = Day Dreams 6. Cat Call = I'm An Old Cowhand

Note that “It's A Beautiful Evening” is missing from this release. After all that, let me get to the music. Well what we get here is some nice pleasant hard bop fairly standard from the period. Nothing extraordinary yet nothing horrible either. It will neither excite nor offend and although this is Herbie Hancock's introduction to a recording, he does not yet have creative license to add too much of his signature sound to the music. This is safely delivered hard bop where PEPPER ADAMS plays some nice boppin' baritone sax replete with the long tumbling, double-time melodic lines trading off with DONALD BYRD on trumpet.

Although this album isn't exactly essential to my ears it is interesting to hear how Herbie Hancock contributes his piano playing skills as the underdog. Herbie also credits DONALD BYRD for giving him the most important advice of his career – namely not to relinquish his songwriting publishing rites, a mistake that many a jazz player of the day made only to forfeit many royalties of re-issues. I guess I would pick this up at a very reduced price but don't lose any sleep if you can't find it. One of those collector's items and a good example of how poorly some earlier jazz albums were re-released over the decades, which makes it EXTREMELY confusing.

JOHN BROWN Quiet Time

Album · 2012 · Hard Bop
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kev rowland
Some albums should come with health warnings, and this is one of them. Sadly this appears to be lacking from the cover so I’ll provide one for you instead “WARNING: DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT PLAY THIS WHILE DRIVING!” The last time I came across an album like this was Leon Redbone’s ‘Sugar’, which featured “So, Relax”, and here bassist John Brown leads his quintet though a selection of jazz standards and newer songs with the aim of moving “people to stand still; to stop to find private space to experience quiet time both alone and with someone.” While he provides the solid bedrock himself, he has brought together veteran trumpeter/flugelhornist Ray Codrington and young alto/tenor saxophonist Brian Miller, along with pianist Gabe Evens and drummer Adonis Rose.

I did make the mistake of playing this in the car the first time, but I actually switched to another album after a few songs as I found that I really was starting to drift into a world that was surrounding me like a warm blanket, and that really isn’t desirable when driving! Now, playing this at night with a suitably sized Bombay gin & tonic and it was another matter altogether. In this environment it becomes an album that is sadly way too short at a tad under 75 minutes long, and I found myself either hitting the repeat or promising myself that I would play it again the next night as well. Originally released in 2012, it was repromoted at the beginning of 2014 and I am so glad that I came across this as it truly is a delight. www.brownboulevard.com

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