Post Bop

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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 the pinnacle 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, but 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. Take recent tracks by Branford Marsalis as an example, some are clearly Hard Bop, some are Post and yet others fall somewhere in between. 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.

post bop top albums

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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.87 | 64 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
CHARLES MINGUS
4.84 | 48 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.94 | 11 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.83 | 28 ratings
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MILES DAVIS E.S.P. Album Cover E.S.P.
MILES DAVIS
4.82 | 14 ratings
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DAVE HOLLAND Extended Play: Live at Birdland Album Cover Extended Play: Live at Birdland
DAVE HOLLAND
4.92 | 7 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS Oh Yeah Album Cover Oh Yeah
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4.77 | 14 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Song for My Lady Album Cover Song for My Lady
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KEITH JARRETT At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings Album Cover At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings
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5.00 | 4 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)
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4.86 | 6 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Nefertiti Album Cover Nefertiti
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4.64 | 26 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Expansions Album Cover Expansions
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4.82 | 6 ratings
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post bop Music Reviews

CRAIG TABORN Chants

Album · 2013 · Post Bop
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js
I saw a recent critic’s poll in a major jazz magazine that had listed Craig Taborn as today’s top pianist. That is really saying a lot considering how many incredibly gifted pianists there are these days. I’m not sure if Taborn is the best, he certainly ranks near the top, but he may very well be the most original. Its hard to come up with a truly new approach to jazz piano, so much has already been covered by others, but on “Chants”, Taborn shows he is definitely taking some paths less chosen.

Like so many other modern pianists, there is a background in Bill Evans’ extended harmonies and Keith Jarret’s strong right hand melodic-ism in Taborn’s playing, but then there is so much that belongs only to him. On the first two tracks, Craig reveals one of his major techniques which involves repeating ostinato figures that twist and intertwine somewhat like a minimalist composer’s piece, but Taborn makes it just rhythmic enough that somehow it fit’s a post bop jazz rhythm section. At this point it should be pointed out that drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist Thomas Morgan do a great job of interacting with Taborn’s unique vision and act as mediums to bridge Taborn’s ideas to the rest of today’s post bop musical language. Both of these tracks also feature freer sections where Taborn drops the obstinate patterns and plays in an intense style somewhat similar to some of Herbie Hancock’s more aggressive outside playing.

On the third track, “In Chant” , we find another Tabornism, quiet tense space that lets time float with a sense of impending consequence. Track four opens with more interlocking rhythms, this time with a distinctly African complexity. Later tracks like “All True Night/Future Perfect” and “Silver Ghosts” reveal one more Taborn technique, the building of massive note clusters that slowly descend like a glacier. These sections can recall sound oriented composers such as Ligeti or Penderecki.

Well I’ve done my best to describe what is almost impossible to describe. Like a lot of modern jazz musicians, there is at first what seems to be an almost formal approach to this music, but as you listen further, jazz’s African roots are definitely intact and Taborn can be quite funky in his own abstract sophisticated way.

CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

Album · 1963 · Post Bop
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siLLy puPPy
Simply one of the greatest recordings ever released. CHARLES MINGUS took on the unsurmountable task of putting out an album that was structured like one long track that contained four suites. On these suites he utilizes an 11-piece big band and creates the perfect fusion of classical music mixed with jazz and ethnic traditional music. Throughout this epic journey we encounter the strange intersections of big band jazz and Spanish guitar, gypsy dance themes and brilliant piano runs. This album doesn't give you one chance to be bored in it 39:26 running time.

With this much going on you can only imagine the difficulties of putting something like this together in the early 60s but MINGUS was a perfectionist and engaged in painstaking overdubbing techniques to ensure everything came out just as he wanted it. The result is one of the most celebrated recordings in human history which not only pulls every musical heart-string in its breadth of emotional content but fulfills the highest potential of the possibilities of what a big band can accomplish. MINGUS would go on to create even more progressive big band albums but none of them would quite outdo what he so magically wove together so perfectly as on this one. The absolute best of the best here.

JOE FARRELL Joe Farrell Quartet (aka Song Of The Wind aka Super Sessions)

Album · 1970 · Post Bop
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Sean Trane
In between his Elvin Jones Trio participation in the late 60’s and his Return To Forever era in the early 70’s, Joe Farrell started his own solo career, signing with Creed Taylor’s CTI label, which might sound a bit of an oddity, since Farrell’s music is not really along the soft-jazz fusion lines that the CTI was championing via George Benson, Deodato, etc… But what a line-up Farrell managed on his debut album: Corea, McL, Holland, DeJohnette. What a bunch of heavy friends, the whole thing recorded by RVG in his studio early July 70.

Opening on the slow McL composition of Follow Your Heart, Farrell takes the spotlight with a lengthy and luscious sax solo, and once McL takes over, he avoids intelligently to try to top’s Joe’s intervention. Holland rules on bass, but Corea is absent. This first track is about as melodious as the album gets, really. The short and dissonant Farrell-written Collage For Polly sounds a bit like one, though, but it segues directly in the much longer “out there” Circle In The Square, where Chick pounds his keys like there is no tomorrow. Farrell switches to the flute in the more acoustic Molten Glass that opens more melodically the flipside. The following short Alter Ego also features some soft flute, though it’s dissonant. Next up, you’d swear you’re on a classical music (XXth century) album with the 6-mins Song Of The Wind, as Farrell and Corea (his composition) are certainly thinking in those lines for both the sax and the flute and Chick’s piano. The closing Motion is again a dissonant piece, closer to contemporary classical music than jazz and it ends the album on a strange and low unexpected note.

Whether this album might have given Corea a few hints as to his future RTF venture is possdible, but not likely I’m not sure McL and Chick crossed path in the recording rooms though, because I didn’t pick out any tracks where both of them play. In either case, don’t get any idea about this album being musically close to the EJT or RTF: it’s more of a near-avant-garde thing than some kind of JR/F album. A relatively surprising album from both Farrell and the CTi label.

BILLY HART One Is The Other

Album · 2014 · Post Bop
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snobb
It's no secret that during the last decade or so, most of the advanced ECM label releases all came from American jazzmen. Michael Formanek, Tim Berne and Craig Taborn are all among the label's forefront artists, always bringing some fresh air to the well refurbished ECM museum of chamber jazz.

Veteran drummer Billy Hart is another label newcomer. He has played with Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Hancock(1969-73), McCoy Tyner,and was Miles Davis' drummer on "On The Corner". Dave Holland, Eddie Henderson, Oliver Lake, Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Don Pullen and Dewey Redman all played on Hart's solo debut in 1977. With this sort of background, it would not seem that his energetic free, or even sometimes rock-influenced playing would have anything in common with the drier ECM aesthetics.

Two years ago, when Hart's long lasting project (Billy Hart Quartet), with pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Ben Street and sax player Mark Turner, released their debut on ECM, it looked like the label was just trying to improve upon their successful American artists team. A well-balanced, but sometimes directionless post-bop effort, "All Our Reasons" didn't become a sensation.

Now, two years later, "One Is the Other" continues the line of its predecessor, but it's an improved one. One can't find memorable songs or unusual moves here, but on the plus side, an almost telepathic relation between all the quartet's members, plus quite complex and even quirky compositions, groovy, bluesy (at least for ECM standard) sounds all make this album an attractive new release.

Placed in the ECM program somewhere in between European chamber jazz artists and the more adventurous New York "new avant-garde" musicians, Billy Hart's music is a good choice for who love the ECM sound, but are a bit bored with their too safe well-polished groove-less "classic" albums.

YUSEF LATEEF Psychicemotus

Album · 1965 · Post Bop
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Sean Trane
Between Yusef’s better known Prestige label era (where he recorded his most famous Eastern Sounds) era and his next Atlantic label days, Lateef spend a couple of years on the seminal Impulse label, and the present Psychicemotus is (I believe) his second last for the orange house. Released in 66, the album was recorded in the summer of 65 with the inevitable Reggie Workman on bass and more importantly Franco-Greek pianist Georges Arvanitas

The opening title track is a very interesting modal piece that can recall Trane’s Africa/Brass album with some Sun Ra-like percussions that give it a slightly dissonant flavour courtesy of Arvanitas’ piano. Bamboo Flute is (as you’ll guess) a slow blues with a bamboo flute. Logical enough, uh?? Semiocto is definitely more Trane-ian, and has Yusef going wild on his sax, while dummer Black solos briefly.

On the flipside, the jazzified Satie piece Gymnopédie features some quiet flute over gentle piano. The following Medula Sonata sounds like Yusef also listened to Debussy or Sibelius. Arvanitas’ piano dominates the closing reprise Ain’t Misbehaving.

While the present album has excellent moments, compared to what else was going on the Impulse label, Yusef’s album might not merit the “!’ on the label logo on the front sleeve. Indeed, the “New Thing” appears only as a “thingette”.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
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