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 | 60 min. caching

JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.86 | 75 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.96 | 14 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
4.85 | 54 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.78 | 32 ratings
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YUSEF LATEEF Eastern Sounds Album Cover Eastern Sounds
YUSEF LATEEF
4.86 | 11 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
4.84 | 9 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Speak Like a Child Album Cover Speak Like a Child
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.76 | 15 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)
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MCCOY TYNER Song for My Lady Album Cover Song for My Lady
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4.95 | 5 ratings
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MILES DAVIS E.S.P. Album Cover E.S.P.
MILES DAVIS
4.73 | 16 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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4.80 | 9 ratings
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DAVE HOLLAND Dave Holland Quintet ‎: Not For Nothin' Album Cover Dave Holland Quintet ‎: Not For Nothin'
DAVE HOLLAND
4.81 | 7 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

GARY PEACOCK Eastward

Live album · 1970 · Post Bop
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snobb
One of most respectable among living jazz bass legends,Gary Peacock quite surprisingly released his debut as leader in Japan, in 1970. After almost decade of playing in US as session musician and seven years after his recording debut (with trumpeter Don Ellis quartet), Peacock recorded "Eastward" in Japan,where in 1969 he stayed for two years for (non-musical) studies and investigation of Zen Buddhism.

Two other trio's members are still almost unknown local musicians pianist Masabumi Kikuchi and drummer Hiroshi Murakami. After very few month Kikuchi will rich his probably most successful point of musical career releasing series of Miles Davis-influenced fusion albums, but for the day of recording "Eastward" he was just rising young pianist with a few recordings behind.

Seven album's compositions are all rooted in post-bop (mostly because of quite straight drummer Murakami beat),but Kikuchi advanced piano playing and Peacock deep physical and quite free bass both push the music towards more modern sound than just ordinary mainstream jazz of the time.

Initially released in Japan only as vinyl LP, this album was true obscurity,but re-issued on CD in 2015 (in Japan only as well)now it is easier available for both Peacock and Kikuchi fans. Reissue sound quality and mix are excellent (as almost any Japanese jazz recording coming from 70s)and it's really a pleasure to hear how well this music sounds now, after 45 years.

Starting from his very first Japanese recordings and up to current time Peacock developed his signature Zen jazz sound - that unique atmosphere of calmness,well controlled passion and melodic meditativeness. He will play with Kikuchi and other Japanese jazz musicians quite often during his long career, and will co-found some successful projects with Paul Motian who's music fits perfectly under same aesthetic umbrella.

On his debut Peacock (and all trio) shows still very first,but already significant signs of musical style he will become famous for. Excellent example of creative modern jazz of early 70s, comparing with Peacock later more matured works for ECM music here is less chamber,less polished and more lively.

CHRIS ZIEMBA Manhattan Lullaby

Album · 2016 · Post Bop
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Carmel
The winner of the 2011 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, pianist and composer Chris Ziemba is becoming an active presence on the New York City jazz scene. He made his debut in the national jazz spotlight in March 2009 as a guest artist on Marian McPartland’s famed NPR radio broadcast, “Piano Jazz.” Since moving to NYC in 2011, he has been involved in a wide range of musical projects. He has performed and recorded with some of the leading voices on today’s jazz scene, including: Ted Nash, Ron Blake, Marcus Printup, Hans Glawischnig, and Ryan Truesdell’s Grammy-winning Gil Evans Project. Ziemba also leads his own trio and quartet to lend a voice to his own compositions.

The release of Manhattan Lullaby signifies a strong calling card for Ziemba, able to display sensitivity and harmonic depth and call upon ample dexterity when needed; Ziemba offers the listener a full-diapason listen. Opening the disc is a swinging original “Josie” this has all the making of monk-ish lines and driving be-bop rhythm to satisfy any bop aficionado. The decidedly modern “The Road Less Traveled” is harmonically rich and utilizes a flowing melody. Ziemba interacts with the ensemble in a strong conversational manner, each player has their distinctive role in creating the overall sound, and Ziemba’s solo cascades with notes that push and pull, all the while Glawischnig (bass), and Macbride (drums) create rhythmic complexities to elevate the tracks sound. This track was a highlight for me.

Another compelling cut is Ziemba’s original “Escher’s Loop,” the tune has a dark sound that stays with you long after the track is complete, the ensemble really shines on this cut in its interactive abilities. It is clearly evident each player takes great pride in listening and reacting. Ziemba creates a poignant piano interlude towards the end of the tune, before the entire ensemble joins in for a spacious improvisational ending.

Ziemba spins ample command and confident extensions of his creative ideas. His technical prowess is evident from the onset, and joined by an equally fearless ensemble, Manhattan Lullaby is beautifully reflective, not only of the beauty of New York’s Manhattan, but an enduring recording of a very special moment in time captured and documented for many years of enjoyment to come. In 2011 Ziemba was already an accomplished force to be reckoned with, now if 2016 – his maturity, and prescript is stunning. Highly recommended!

DARREN ENGLISH Imagine Nation

Album · 2016 · Post Bop
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js
Listening to “Imagine Nation”, its hard to believe that this is trumpeter Darren English’s first album, his playing and compositional skills sound far beyond a beginner. Darren has a well developed technique, and a bright clean sound reminiscent of Clifford Brown, or possibly Wynton Marsalis. When things get heated, he brings on a full brassy attack that recalls Freddie Hubbard or Lee Morgan. “Imagine Nation” opens up strong with an original rambunctious post bop workout that bears the title of the album. After this, Darren settles into a ballad rendition of “Body and Soul” and although it’s a nice version, it may seem like a non-sequitur after the opener, but that is the nature of this disc, its very eclectic. Whether or not this sort of eclecticism works is probably a matter of taste. I suppose you can’t blame Darren for using his first album as a leader to showcase the variety of skills he has.

If you are keeping score at home, here is the breakdown on the styles Darren presents on here; two high energy lengthy post bop numbers similar to Dave Douglas or Herbie’s VSOP, a couple of be-bop numbers that show English has a much better feel for this idiom than a lot of today’s players, a couple vocal numbers featuring Carmen Bradford, some rugged hard bop and a tone poem featuring the recorded voice of Nelson Mandela. It is a smorgasbord, but everything is handled with sensitivity to the style being played. Darren’s backup band handles the variety well too, with honorable mention going to Greg Tardy on sax, who really burns on the intense numbers, and unique pianist Kenny Banks Jr, who eschews pyrotechnics in favor of something interesting to say.

There is probably no harm in Darren presenting such a mish-mash on his first time out, his very polished technique comes through no matter what he is playing, but if he wants to grab more attention on future outings, he may want to refine his focus. His two original post bop numbers, “Imagine Nation” and “The Birth”, show the most promise for the future. Then again, if he ever wants to cut a retro album with his very be-bop sounding muted trumpet, it would probably be a blast too.

CHIHIRO YAMANAKA The Spheres: Live In Osaka!!

Live album · 2015 · Post Bop
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snobb
Everyone in the world knows who Hiromi is - Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara was played with Chick Corea in Tokyo when she was 17 and after graduation in Berklee College in Boston (under Ahmad Jamal) she took the world by storm playing high energy technical fusion influenced by Return To Forever legacy. Hiromi is most probably most popular internationally Japanese jazz artist of today.

Much less people outside of her homeland Japan know who is Chihiro Yamanaka, and it's a shame. She is Beklee graduated pianist who leads her own bands (usually trios as Hiromi does) from early 00's. Chihiro released her first album in 2001, two years prior to Hiromi, and in 2015 came with her first ever live release (and her 18th album at all). Being celebrity of sort in home country, she is relatively unknown in Western world. During last decade some her albums have been reissued in US and Europe though.

The main difference between two is Hiromi is a piano power trio leader,playing technical high energy fusion, oriented first of all on neo jazz-rock fans. She started with playing tuneful contemporary chamber jazz, but it was fusion that made her a true star. Each success has its price - trying to continue once reached success Hiromi for some years changes nothing in her music,which with every her new album becomes moreand more repetitive and predictable.

Chihiro Yamanaka played contemporary jazz for years - not polished anemic European chamber jazz,but groovy American one, closer to good pop-jazz.Her roots are all in bop, and there are no album where this influence isn't obvious. During last some years Chihiro turns more and more towards modern post bop, adding all her pop and rock legacy to it as well.

The Sphere is are electro-acoustic trio with electric bassist Dana Roth and drummer Karen Teperberg. Chihiro herself plays piano and some analog keyboards, their music varies from pop-ballads to chamber tuneful songs to groovy post bop and fusion with analog keyboards passages.

Played live in club in Osaka, all music is playful, shining, tuneful and full of joy.There are no really new things here, but the way how it is played will make you smiling. Nothing is repetitive or boring and that feeling recalls times when jazz was not a demonstration of techniques or ambitions,but the source of fan.

TERUMASA HINO Hino=Kikuchi Quintet

Album · 1969 · Post Bop
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snobb
Hino-Kikuchi Quintet was a short-lived project founded by two future leading artists of Japanese jazz pianist Masabumi Kikuchi and trumpeter Terumasa Hino. Current all-Japanese line up recorded and released only one album ("Hino=Kikuchi Quintet" is stated on cover as a confirmation of co-leading). In mid 90's the band will be reunited for live gig with Greg Osby on sax and different rhythm section, in 2007 Hino and Kikuchi will release two more collaborative albums as co-leaders, but generally speaking "Hino=Kikuchi Quintet" will always mean this only released recording in such important for development of jazz year of 1968.

Both Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi were Miles-influenced musicians introducing his kind of jazz to Japanese listeners. Trumpeter Hino already released some hard bop albums,but this work became to him the transition to more complex modal jazz.

Four Kikuchi originals sound exactly as if they are recorded under fresh impression of Miles band with Hancock,or better to say - close to Hancock's own albums, recorded in late 60s (before Mwandishi). Rhythm section is still conservative and anchors advanced Hino & Kikuchi's mainstream jazz building strict repetitive hard bop rhythm basis. Quite well played, tunes aren't memorable at all and main interest is exactly how both Kikuchi and Hino are leaving hard bop searching their new identities in more modern sound of upcoming era.

It's interesting that right after this release Kikuchi will switch to even more new Miles Davis influence - much more revolutionary fusion (and will become this genre leading pianist in Japan), Terumasa Hino future music will split between fusion and mainstream jazz. He will become leading Japanese jazz trumpeter very soon as well.

"Hino=Kikuchi Quintet" stays an important evidence where both them are started, and quite nice listening itself till nowadays.

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