Post Bop

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Part I

Post Bop is a modern jazz style that continues the distinguishing characteristics that separate jazz from the world of pop and rock; swing rhythm and extended harmonies (9th chords 11ths, altered chords, etc). Post Bop grew out of the Hard Bop genre during the early to mid 60s as musicians such as Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock began to introduce more extended harmonies, abstract structures and looser rhythms in their playing and compositions. When Hancock and Shorter joined Miles Davis’ quintet in the mid-60s, that group became the perfect vehicle for extending the boundaries of what could happen in a Post Bop format. The Miles Davis Quintet albums, "Nefertiti" and "Sorcer", continue to be pinnacles of Post Bop composition and performance. Some styles of free modal jazz, such as Coltrane's "A Love Supreme", are also part of the Post Bop sound. Although there are still some musicians, such as Kenny Garret, who play in that style, mostly that sound has been fading since the early 70s.

While still in its infancy, Post Bop was pushed off the radar during the 70s as many of its early proponents pursued the far more lucrative fields of fusion and smooth jazz. As the fusion fad began to fade, musicians began to tire of three chord vamps and the limitations of rock/pop rhythms and yearned to work with sophisticated chord changes and jazz rhythms again. The stage was set in the early 80s for the “young lion” movement and a return to both Post Bop and Hard Bop for a lot of young musicians and their fan base.

Today’s Post Bop covers a wide variety, from radio friendly to borderline avant-garde, and it’s a genre that is still ripe for more exploration. Generally speaking, the difference between Post Bop and Hard Bop is that Hard Bop carries a stronger trace of the blues and a more straight forward driving rhythm, but when you are trying to analyze certain artists or pieces of music, that difference is not always clear. Much of Branford Marsalis's music is a good example of jazz that sits right between post and hard bop. With some music, arguing whether it is Post Bop or Hard Bop becomes pointless, since depending on perspective, either genre can be seen as a subset of the other. Although we use the genre term Post Bop to tag the music described above, in a more generic sense, post bop can be the name of any swing based jazz music created after the passing of the be-bop era.

Part 2 - Post Bop in the New Century

As jazz continues to grow and develop, the worlds of modern fusion and post bop have grown closer together as many musicians; such as Dave Douglas, Craig Taborn, Greg Osby and others, freely mix elements into new hybrids.

At JMA, the distinction between Fusion and Post Bop continues to be that distinctive African syncopation known as "swing". Generally Post Bop should swing, while Fusion, quite often does not. What has changed, as we move further into the 21st century, is the way in which modern drummers are 'swinging'. Inventive drummers such as Jeff "Tain" Watts, Rudy Roystan and others are no longer putting the swing beat solely on the ride cymbal. Instead, they are liable to use any, or all pieces of the drum set at once, while they swing the beat. Also, the swing feel itself is often a bit disguised in modern jazz, it may not be so obvious, and the drummer may move in and out of swing feel, sometimes even within one phrase.

post bop top albums

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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.82 | 86 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Empyrean Isles Album Cover Empyrean Isles
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.76 | 21 ratings
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GARY BURTON Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence Album Cover Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence
GARY BURTON
4.88 | 7 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.73 | 16 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P. Album Cover V.S.O.P.
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.81 | 8 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER The Real McCoy Album Cover The Real McCoy
MCCOY TYNER
4.68 | 22 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.61 | 39 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Song for My Lady Album Cover Song for My Lady
MCCOY TYNER
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HERBIE HANCOCK Speak Like a Child Album Cover Speak Like a Child
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.62 | 16 ratings
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JOHN SURMAN Brewster's Rooster Album Cover Brewster's Rooster
JOHN SURMAN
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ENRICO RAVA The Plot Album Cover The Plot
ENRICO RAVA
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TOMASZ STAŃKO Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet : Wisława Album Cover Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet : Wisława
TOMASZ STAŃKO
5.00 | 3 ratings
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post bop Music Reviews

DAVE RUDOLPH Resonance

Album · 2018 · Post Bop
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kev rowland
‘Resonance’ is the recording debut as a leader of drummer Dave Rudolph, who is based in Tampa, Florida. Rudolph is a veteran of the local scene for the last 25 years and is also currently the Professor of Contemporary Percussion at the University of Tampa. Inspired by his close friend Jessica Hiltabidle, who passed away recently, he realized that he was long overdue to record his own music. He has brought together a band of local musicians to bring his dream to reality, namely tenor-saxophonist Zach Bornheimer, guitarist LaRue Nickelson, pianist Pablo Arencibia and bassist Alejandro Arenas and together they perform nine of Rudolph’s originals. These are all instrumental, apart from the title song where be brought in Whitney James to provide vocals.

This is an album which takes no work at all to relax into, and the very first time I played it I knew I was in for an enjoyable time. Some jazz albums are bloody hard work, some concentrate solely on the skills of those playing. None of that is the case here, as we are treated to a band who really do feel like a band. I wasn’t surprised to discover that Rudolph started on guitar before moving onto drums, as this really is a very melodic album, and not as heavily rhythmic as some where the leader is also the percussionist. Although they are a quintet it isn’t unusual for the band to be working as a trio, such as on “Lonely Train” where Arenas keeps it all together, Rudolph displays lots of different tricks and styles, and at the front we are treated to a masterclass in understatement from Nickelson who shows there really is no need to play 9000 notes to the bar if you have an affinity to what you are doing.

Fresh, full of space, full of class, this post-bop set is creative, enjoyable, and a damn fine listen. It is possible to hear the album by going to the website at www.daverudolph.net.

ERIC DOLPHY Musical Prophet : The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions

Boxset / Compilation · 2018 · Post Bop
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js
In early July 1963 Eric Dolphy went into the studio and recorded several new tunes as well as a couple of covers. He worked with a variety of ensembles ranging from mini big band to smaller combos, as well as several duets with bassist Richard Davis. Several tracks were selected from that session and released on the album that came to be known as “Conversations”. Several years after Eric’s death, more of the session was released under the title “Iron Man”. Recently the good folks at Resonance collected all these recordings together, plus some other odds and ends and a few alternate takes and released the whole thing as “Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet”, and needless to say, this sucker is bursting with goodness.

Its nice to have all these recordings in one place now because the previous albums were sometimes frustrating in what was kept and what was left out, now its all here in one package. The variety on this CD is admirable. For those who like Eric’s bebop side there’s “Jitterbug Waltz” and “Iron Man”. Dolphy displays his ultra modern compositional style with “Mandrake” and “Burning Spear” and his duets with Richard Davis show a deep meditative side that results in chamber music of concert hall quality. There is one track taken from a different recording session, and that is “A Personal Statement”, an avant-garde tone poem that features vocalist David Schwartz vocalizing lyrics about Jim Crow laws in the US south.

For Eric Dolphy fans and those interested in the more experimental side of 60s jazz, this collection is essential. Of most interest to many of us is how advanced many of Eric’s compositions were. Listening to how he shifts time signatures and tempos while playing both inside and outside of the chord changes we hear much of what is happening in jazz today. Eric was not really a ‘free player’, and he was also far from conventional, instead, Dolphy had unique takes on composition and tonality that were decades ahead of his time.

STAN GETZ Sweet Rain

Album · 1967 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
FIRST OF THE REST

Remember the bumper sticker that read "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"? Sweet Rain can be considered the first album of "the rest" of Stan Getz's career. By the time it was released in 1967, Stan had already played with Woody Herman and Johnny Smith, conquered Europe, introduced bossa nova to America, and recorded movie soundtracks, albums with strings, and albums with vocalists. While there had been previous hints of things to come, Sweet Rain would do nothing less than epitomize Stan's "sound" for the rest of his career: smaller ensembles, unassuming formats, and the wistful, ethereal tones that only he could produce.

Three phenomenal players accompany Stan on Sweet Rain: a very young (just short of 26) Chick Corea on piano, Ron Carter (doing some session work in between Miles Smiles and Sorcerer) on bass, and the immaculate Grady Tate on drums. This album features the first appearance of the now-standard Corea composition "Windows", and what a performance it is. No "easy-listening" album this, everyone is given ample soloing space, with Stan soaring above it all. Given his recent bossa nova success, one can't help but wonder if Verve Records "influenced" the inclusion of Jobim's "O Grande Amor" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma". Slight Latin inflections can be detected in the quartet's sound, but this never becomes even close to a bossa nova album. Corea's powerful "Litha" and the dreamy title track complete the set-list. With Creed Taylor and Rudy van Gelder behind the boards, one might expect a CTI Records prototype, but the wonderful performances prove that assumption mistaken (even if it does prove true with Stan's previous album, Voices).

Retro-flashbacks and reunion albums aside, Sweet Rain, over 50 years later still proves to be a definitive recording of the Stan Getz "sound". This American life truly did have a "second act", and it started right here. And though it certainly can't be considered his best album over a very-checkered recording career, it made possible later masterpieces like The Master, Pure Getz, Voyage, and Blue Skies. Sweet Rain is short and (yes) sweet, yet simultaneously unforgettable and all-encompassing. Enjoy!

ERIC DOLPHY The Eric Dolphy Memorial Album (aka Conversations aka 1928-1964 aka Memorial aka Music Matador aka Jitterbug Waltz)

Album · 1963 · Post Bop
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js
Although its been known by many names over the years, the album that Eric Dolphy released in 1963 is mostly known by the title, “Conversations”, so that is the title we will use for this review. “Conversations” is a sort of pivotal album for Eric, coming after the expansive neo-bop of “Far Cry” and right before the avant-garde art jazz of 64’s “Out to Lunch”. “Conversations” does not possess the unity of those two, but instead is rather eclectic as it features both Dolphy’s bop side, as well as his more artsy ‘long haired’ leanings.

The album opens with the classic “Jitterbug Waltz”, played somewhat faithfully but with some decidedly ‘outside’ flourishes. Eric plays flute on here and turns in a dazzling solo. Woody Shaw also turns in a hot ride that toys endlessly with the original melody. Side one of the original LP closes out with “Musical Matador”, a rambling Caribbean number that features a rather large ensemble in joyous near cacophony. Side two features a lengthy duet with bassist Richard Davis that is neither free jazz, concert hall chamber music or relaxed post bop conversation, but contains elements of all of those. The album closes with Eric playing solo alto sax on a virtuoso and passionate rendition of “Love Me”.

The salient feature to “Conversations” is the second side on which Dolphy’s playing is isolated without a backing ensemble. It is on these tracks that his melodic skills are given free reign and the inventiveness of his playing achieves greater clarity.

KENNY WHEELER Double, Double You

Album · 1984 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
MASTERPIECE BLOWING SESSION

Don't expect an impartial review here: my enthusiasm for Double Double You knows no bounds. If I were making an "all-time top 20 jazz albums" list, three would come from the year 1984: Jean-Luc Ponty's Open Mind, Steps Ahead's Modern Times, and this album. Yet it's really Double Double You that has languished in undeserved obscurity for far too long and has only just recently been re-issued so everybody could finally hear it. Not only is this Kenny Wheeler's best album EVER, it's also among the best albums ECM released during the entire decade.

The line-up of musicians alone should tell you this will be a blowing session for the ages: Kenny Wheeler, trumpet & flugelhorn, Mike Brecker, tenor saxophone, John Taylor, piano, Dave Holland, bass, and Jack DeJohnette, drums. Yes, there is absolutely unbridled, ferocious soloing throughout by all the performers, without anyone dominating the proceedings. Some of Kenny Wheeler's recordings can best be described as avant-garde, but Double Double You emphatically leans toward the accessible end of the spectrum.

The unforgettable "Foxy Trot" (14:07) is carried by one of Dave Holland's greatest basslines, and is one of those compositions that everyone should know and cover. There is a brief respite from the intensity with "Ma Bel" (3:50), a duet between Wheeler and Taylor. "W.W." (7:48) is a showcase for the horns, and the side-long suite "Three for D'reen/Blue for Lou/Mark Time" (23:28) goes through a multitude of moods, and gives everyone a chance to stretch out without endless repetitions. And please ignore the famous Leonard Feather review that complained about DeJohnette's extended solo at the end: this is one of Jack's greatest moments EVER.

Let it be said right here that if you are familiar with any of the performers, you simply MUST add this recording to your collection immediately. Thank God this flawless album is now much more widely available, and if you love this art form, you really should give it a listen. Immaculate ECM recording, as always. I have no idea if these five were able to play this material in a live setting, but if they did, I have no doubt those in attendance must have been floored!

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