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

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 5 min. caching

CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
CHARLES MINGUS
4.88 | 52 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.86 | 72 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.97 | 12 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.78 | 31 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings Album Cover At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings
KEITH JARRETT
5.00 | 5 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS Oh Yeah Album Cover Oh Yeah
CHARLES MINGUS
4.79 | 14 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Speak Like a Child Album Cover Speak Like a Child
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.77 | 13 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Song for My Lady Album Cover Song for My Lady
MCCOY TYNER
4.95 | 5 ratings
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DAVE HOLLAND Dave Holland Quintet ‎: Extended Play - Live at Birdland Album Cover Dave Holland Quintet ‎: Extended Play - Live at Birdland
DAVE HOLLAND
4.87 | 7 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT Inside Out (with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette) Album Cover Inside Out (with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette)
KEITH JARRETT
4.87 | 7 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT Whisper Not (Live in Paris 1999) (with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette) Album Cover Whisper Not (Live in Paris 1999) (with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette)
KEITH JARRETT
4.94 | 5 ratings
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MILES DAVIS E.S.P. Album Cover E.S.P.
MILES DAVIS
4.72 | 15 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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post bop Music Reviews

JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme

Album · 1965 · Post Bop
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liontime
In my own experience, I have never known an album to have as much replay value as this one. I know that this experience isn't exclusive to myself and I believe that that can be attributed to the true genius of this album.

Not only is Trane at his best during this session, but this album is a high point for McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison. The classic quartet never sounds better than on these four tracks.

Jimmy Cobb said that Kind of Blue must have been made in heaven. If that's true, then A Love Supreme must have been made somewhere beyond that.

MICK GOODRICK In Pas(s)ing

Album · 1979 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
ATMOSPHERIC MAGIC

Guitarist Mick Goodrick first appeared as a sideman in Gary Burton's band playing on such classic albums as The New Quartet (1973) and Ring (1974). After recording In Pas(s)ing (1979), his first as a leader, he never again recorded for the ECM label. While he has recorded occasionally for other labels since then, he has mostly devoted his time to teaching at the Berklee College of Music. His influences include everybody from Jim Hall to Jimmy Page and can be heard to their best advantage on this fabulous album that ranks among the best ECM releases of the decade in a very crowded field.

In Pas(s)ing is an album that takes you by surprise. It's not an intense, in-your-face recording, but rather something much more subtle, understated, and introspective. Every time it goes into the player, I think it can't be as good as I've remembered it, only to find myself amazed again. The general criticisms leveled against the album are the usual "ECM pastoralism" and "it's too slow and/or quiet". This is definitely not a loud album, and while the first two tracks can be described as bluesy, the album's tempo and pace pick up from there before closing with the frantic title track. In spite of the album appearing under his name, Goodrick never dominates the self-composed material. Listen to his mellow opening phrases on "Feebles, Fables, and Ferns", or his moody opening solo on "Pedalpusher". Often compared to fellow Burton alumnus Pat Metheny, Goodrick's playing is more abstract and disjointed, his tones less lyrical and more atmospheric.

The real story of this album, however, is the saxophone playing of John Surman. This is his second ECM recording (after 1976's Mountainscapes by Barre Phillips), and shortly after this session he would join the Miroslav Vitous Group. His baritone performances ("Feebles, Fables, and Ferns" and "Pedalpusher") range from wistful and haunting to groaning and rumbling. The other three tracks feature his wild soprano work. "In the Tavern of Ruin" showcases searching, high-pitched squeals and howls, and climaxes with a stuttering trade-off solo with Goodrick. "In Passing" (improvised, perhaps?) includes Surman's best fluttering avian tones, impressionistically depicting a high-speed chase scene over miles of open highway.

Drummer Jack DeJohnette and basist Eddie Gomez (both at that time in the group New Directions with Lester Bowie and John Abercrombie) also make strong contributions to the music. Gomez's sharp soloing tone is on display throughout the album, and he vocalizes almost as much as Keith Jarrett does, but it never becomes a major distraction. No one will ever consider this to be one of DeJohnette's strongest sets, but his fiery flourishes on "In the Tavern of Ruin" and his motoring, lumbering double bass-drum work on "In Passing" are true highlights. He smacks his drums with fierce resolve on "Summer Band Camp", the shortest yet liveliest track. His cymbals are recorded especially well, and the album signs off with one final DeJohnette splash.

And now for the bad news: this "far away places" masterpiece is now no longer in print and very hard to find. Much bigger names than Goodrick's have been passed over for re-release, so this is no surprise but truly regrettable. If you can find this album before it completely disappears into the mists of time and are familiar with the players involved, do not hesitate to buy it. Brilliant, thought-provoking jazz as good as this is always hard to find. And remember, the second "s" is parenthetical.



BRAD MEHLDAU Where Do You Start

Album · 2012 · Post Bop
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js
In 2012 the Brad Mehldau trio released two albums, “Ode” and “Where do You Start”. With its lineup of all original tunes, “Ode” seemed like the heavier album compared to “Where do You Start”, which consisted of a mish-mash of modern pop tunes, hard bop standards and a couple originals that are mostly jam sessions. But its worthwhile to give “Where do You Start” a timely re-listen though, because although “Ode” may still be the stronger album, there are plenty of gems on “Start” as well. As mentioned earlier, this is an eclectic album, with about four moody pop ballads, a couple hard bop standards, two Latin jazz tracks and a couple of excellent Mehldauish modal grooves. Most of the songs are good, but fans of Brad’s ‘jass’ playing could probably use a few less of the pop tunes.

The two best tracks,“Got Me Wrong” and “Jam”, are both superb modal jam sessions on which Mehldau channels a timeless early 60s coffeehouse groove with a modern fracturing in his solos. All through this album, Mehldau’s ability to spin original solos that grab your ears and don’t let go is in full effect. Brad’s elastic sense of rhythm, uncanny ability to separate his hands, plus his ability to play phrases that sound like no else continue to make him one of the most interesting musicians today. Elsewhere on this album, its great to hear Brad spin some original solos on hard bop standards by Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins, Brad doesn’t cover material like this all that often, but he can play a very intense Bud Powell flavored neo-bop.

A good portion of this album is taken up with the sort of moody pop playing that Brad is famous for. Certainly he is the master of this sort of languid phrasing and impressionist sounds, but with so many good energetic tracks on here too, sometimes you wish the more droopy numbers would move along and make way for another jam session. This isn’t Brad’s best album, but his playing on here is outstanding and there are enough good tracks that his fans will probably want to pick this up. Those who wish to hear more serious jazz playing from Brad and his trio may want to check out his “Art of the Trio” series.

CHARLES TOLLIVER Music Inc : The Ringer

Album · 1969 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
BRIGHT & BRILLIANT

For your consideration, we present yet another entry in the "Should-Be-Much-Better-Known-Than-They-Are" category of jazz trumpeters. Charles Tolliver, who has played with everybody from Jackie McLean to McCoy Tyner, from Max Roach to Louis Hayes, usually performs in much larger ensembles which have helped to ensure his relative anonymity. In mid-1969 he recorded The Ringer for Black Lion Records (it's been re-issued a number of times on different labels with different covers) with his quartet Music, Inc: Stanley Cowell on piano, Steve Novosel on bass, and Jimmy Hopps on drums. This album is a stand-out performance of its time: one listen will demonstrate why it demands a much-more accessible re-issue on CD.

"Plight" opens the proceedings with a bang: Tolliver's bubbly yet brassy tone on his long solo leaps out from your speakers, so monitor your volume control carefully. He eschews the flugelhorn entirely on this album, and makes no bones about dominating the self-composed material. Only Stanley Cowell from the rest of his group receives any substantial soloing time, but he is unfortunately buried in the right-channel of this recording (typical late-60s, early-70s engineering). The epic "On the Nile" starts slowly before Jimmy Hopps' busy percussion ignites the musical engines. This track must be in the running for Tolliver's greatest moment in a recording studio: big, spacious slabs of lyrical trumpeting, one blistering, stuttering solo after another. Too hot to handle! The upbeat brilliance of the title track ends suddenly before the album's first drastic change-of-pace. "Mother Wit" begins as a moving adagio, giving Tolliver a chance to play lugubriously. Steve Novosel's bass line (buried in the left-channel) pushes the group forward to a swinging crescendo before the original tempo is once again resumed. The light-hearted closer "Spur" gives everyone a chance to strut their stuff, with Tolliver joining in last of all.

One can only hope this fabulous album will someday be rescued from the dust of oblivion. If you can find The Ringer in any format, do not hesitate to snap it up immediately. One final mystery: the name-dropping liner notes (credit: Valerie Wilmer) state that this album was Tolliver's first under his own name. Yet just one year previously, Paper Man (featuring Gary Bartz, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Joe Chambers) was released on the exact same label, and is also well worth looking for. I realize the times were different, but how could this have been missed?

JOHN SURMAN Brewster's Rooster

Album · 2009 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2009

While I certainly haven't heard absolutely every jazz album released in 2009, all competitors will be very hard pressed to match the beautiful virtuosity of Brewster's Rooster. This is John Surman's first straight-ahead album in some time, and the all-star support should be enough to motivate any listener to buy it instantly. Drummer Jack DeJohnette has collaborated with Surman on numerous occasions dating back to the 1960's. Guitarist John Abercrombie had Surman guest on his 1993 November album, and both were heard on Barre Phillips' 1976 album, Mountainscapes. Brewster's Rooster is the first ECM recording for New York double-bassist Drew Gress, who has also played in Abercrombie's band. While the usual naysayers will grumble about the ages of the players or that the music is not intense enough, this album will undoubtably be among the best ECM releases of this decade.

Surman plays the soprano sax on only two of the nine tracks, the leisurely opener "Slanted Sky" and the album's longest track "Counter Measures". While I would have liked to hear more of Surman's thoughtful, airy soprano tone, his unparalleled work on the baritone sax is featured on the remaining compositions. The busy "Hilltop Dancer" has Surman and Abercrombie doubling the melody line. The slow grooving "No Finesse" (like "Slanted Sky") opens with a Gress solo, and Surman demonstrates that "delicate" and "baritone" really do go together. "Kickback" lays to rest any misunderstandings that this might be an easy-listening set: after a fluid Abercrombie solo, the fiery center section is a wild duet between DeJohnette and Surman. "Chelsea Bridge" is this album's ballad, while "Haywain" is a feather-ruffling free piece. The title track is driven by a tricky Gress bassline, and Surman and Abercrombie once again double the melody line. The unbridled joy of "Going for a Burton" brings the proceedings to a close, and there can be no doubt that everyone involved had great fun throughout the sessions.

The moods, textures, and atmospheres of Brewster's Rooster make for easy comparison with many of the performers' previous albums. All are still at the top of their games, with the added wisdom of experience and interplay. After releasing a number of less-accessible experimental projects, this almost feels like a comeback album for John Surman, but technically, it's not. Sorry, cynics and conservatives, Brewster's Rooster is proof positive that jazz is alive, well, and thriving!

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
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