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
4.86 | 67 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner 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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post bop Music Reviews

TOMASZ STAŃKO Polin

Album · 2014 · Post Bop
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snobb
I spent bigger part of my life in regions influenced by Slavic culture(all - Eastern,Western and Southern Slavs)and as result together with deep understanding what it is learned one thing - how much I hate that over-exalting "Slavic spirituality". That sweet-and-sour dreamy sadness with no reason,painful melancholy,anxiety,continuing awaiting of something what probably happens (combined with intuitive knowledge that nothing really happens ever)... Some strangers even see it attractive but it only means they never lived aside of that twilight zone of irrationality, fatalism and sensual mysticism.Just get me right - I mean exactly overdosed spiritual sensuality which is far different from Slavic culture in whole.

Trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is with no doubt leading Polish jazz musician and probably one of the best European jazz trumpeter. His international fame came mostly after ECM contracted him, soon he became label's trade mark and leading voice (personally I really like his early adventurous albums coming from early 70s; they are mostly released domestically in Poland and are almost unknown abroad). Success of his music comes from his great, quite free Miles Davis post-bop period influenced techniques combined with strong European chamber tradition and above mentioned "Slavic soul". On his best albums Tomasz finds only his own unique proportions between all three components making music close to masterpiece. On not so successful recordings he loses that balance and magic almost disappears.

Being a real fan of Stanko's early albums,I'm quite critical towards many his ECM releases - all of them are technically perfect, but far not every is real musical joy.Some Stanko most current releases were all quite disappointment (knowing how great music he can play), probably with "Wislawa" being a real disaster. Stanko reclocated to New York from native Poland and formed his New York quartet with really great local artists (incl, pianist David Virelles and drummer Gerald Cleaver, plus ECM bassist Thomas Morgan). New collective debut work (released on ECM in 2013) is dedicated to late Polish poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska. Working with lyrical,soulful and very Slavic material Tomasz recorded studio double-CD album with American band who simply didn't find right place in all that sensitive balladry.

Next on line Stanko album came on the last days of 2014 and was full of surprises. First of all, it was released by Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews (being their first ever musical release). It's not a first Stanko work of such kind - one of his albums ("Wolność w sierpniu")has been already released in co-operation with Warsaw Uprising Museum some years ago. Than,being recorded in New York,in Sear Sound Studio, it is free from ECM high but very predictable sound standard.And at the end - Stanko seriously reformed his American quartet for this recording: only Cuban pianist David Virelles stays from his classic New York Quartet, new rhythm section contains Dezron Douglas on bass and drummer Kush Abadey, plus all team is improved with sax man Ravi Coltrane.

So, I listen this new album again and again and the main bad thing here is how short it is!Less than 38-minutes long - that's quite a common size for old vinyl but in digital age we are often expecting at not less than twice more. And the music - it's excellent! For the first time ever Stanko plays real groovy jazz with all-American band! Sound is full,warm and tasteful(and here one can ensure how different some ECM artists sound when their music is recorded without that drug-store sterility in sound). Stanko demonstrates excellent collection of catchy tunes - rare event in modern jazz, and surprisingly enough he plays here one of his most straight music for years. If on European releases his freer digressions were all blood of his music, here he somehow founded a right decision - he plays tuneful,groovy post-bop without useless embellishment and it works perfectly.

Since all album is dedicated to holocaust theme ("Polin" means "Poland" in Hebrew) it contains some ballad-like elements and chamber moments,but in all it's a small magic how Tomasz(generally known by his sensitive tunes and melancholic compositions)avoids sentimental melancholy or even dramatic notes here. Muscular and lively,this music sounds more like a hymn to life.

The only sad news is it's announced that album will be distributed by Museum direct sales only so I afraid such a great work will stay unnoticed by many listeners. If by any chance you'll find "Polin" - don't have any doubts,it's Stanko at his very best.

TOM HARRELL TRIP

Album · 2014 · Post Bop
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Matt
It has been a “Trip’ for Tom Harrell after commencing his professional career playing trumpet in Stan Kenton’s band in 1969. He recorded his first album as a leader in 1976 and currently has 27 albums under his belt including “Trip” His site claims that he has participated in 260 recordings but perhaps they may include arranging as well which is just another bow from Tom’s talent. Since 2007 Tom has been working primarily with a Quintet excepting the previous release to “Trip” which was “Colors Of A Dream” where a 2 Bass Sextet were the band’s make up with the regular, saxophone, piano and drums included. With “Trip” he has chosen a Quartet comprising saxophone, bass, drums and Tom’s trumpet comprising the band’s line up with the piano being dropped..

The quartet comprises Mark Turner on saxophone who himself has released his own album currently on ECM, “Lathe Of Heaven” within the same year of this release and he is considered one of today’s top saxophonists in Jazz with a list of musical associations that could fill this page. Ugonna Okegwo is on bass and the only surviving member from Tom’s previous Quintet albums and prior to Tom Harrell primarily worked with Jackie Terrasson . Adam Cruz is on drums and another highly experienced musician having played with Chick Corea, Chris Potter, Steve Wilson, David Sanchez and been a member of The Danilo Perez Trio.

The album opens with “Sunday” being mid tempo with Ugonna’s bass right up front providing a wonderful time and structure with Adam’s drums supporting things beautifully and filling the composition which gives Mark Turner and Tom Harrell a wonderful layer to play over with their solo’s. Every composition included in the album is written by Tom Harrell and “Cycle” which follows is precisely that with the musicians seeming to circle within the tunes structure and reminiscent of ‘Orbits’ a Wayne Shorter composition but still it is Tom’s beast excepting for the circular pattern comprising the compositions make up. The album’s main focus is the suite that Tom Harrell has included, “The Adventures Of A Quixotic Character” which includes six different compositions of Tom’s interruption of the Cervantes novel. “The Ingenious Gentleman” is first and the suite’s longest piece running at just over 7 minutes with Adam Cruz up first on drums providing quite an interesting solo and opening to the number with Mark’s saxophone, Tom’s trumpet and a bass solo from Ungonna following. The arrangement is superb as the rhythm section drops volume with the horns and each solo is clear and distinct or stands alone from the drums and bass but all come back in a seamless manner for the following short pieces, “The Duke and the Duchess”, “Enchanted” comprising a beautiful solo bass from Ungonna, “Sancho and Rocinante” with the entire band as Mark Turner leads on saxophone with him still remaining for the fifth slowed down piece “The Princess” keeping the entire suite seamless with a marvellous up and down solo followed by Tom’s usual trumpet perfection. “Windmills” is the Suite’s last composition with a slight increased timing with the drums and a clarity of sound from Adam’s kit. Tom and Mark take a call and response with their input with the notes becoming higher and more frantic but they still hold quite a bit back for the last piece of the stunning suite. Things though do not drop all the same with the following, the beautiful “Coming Home” the album’s superb ballad. “Coastline”, After The Game Is Over” and “There” are the three remaining tracks from the album with all being enjoyable and exquisitely played compositions and all different.

I have heard quite a few new ones from 2014 with “Trip” being my personal favourite. Tom Harrell has created an absolute Jazz jewel with this one by dropping the piano which provides less clutter enabling the respective musicians to come through as clear as a bell with their various inputs. Not to mention the beautiful compositions, arrangements and superb trumpet playing from him. Great Jazz and highly recommended. Tom also appeared on Niels Vincentz’s, “Is That So” another of these piano less Quartets this year, if you are looking for something else from him in 2014.

TOMASZ STAŃKO Leosia

Album · 1997 · Post Bop
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Matt
Sublime music was created in January 1996 during the recording of “Leosia” by The Tomasz Stanko Quartet which comprised Tomasz Stanko on trumpet with Bobo Stenson, piano, Anders Jormin, bass and an absolute stunning display from the drummer Tony Oxley on this beautiful slow to mid tempo album with a myriad of Jazz influences from different styles played in a subtle manner throughout.

Tomasz Stanko has been playing since the early 1960’s and is best remembered during this period playing with the great Polish pianist and composer Krzysztof Komeda which has given Tomasz the grounding from which his Jazz emanates with “Leosia” having echoes from the Komeda collaborations back during this early period in Tomasz’s career. Miles Davis is the major influence within the tone that Tomasz brings forth from his trumpet being a beautiful low one which is superbly used throughout the album’s duration. Bobo Stenson is another musician with credentials as long as his arm and a band leader in his own right and it would be no surprise to see him in those top ten lists for pianists. Anders Jormin on bass is actually a member from Bobo Stenson’s Trio bringing a wonderful connectivity to the music within “Leosia”. Connectivity is also present with Tomasz and Tony Oxley as both at times played with Cecil Taylor bringing a slight Avante Garde touch within this album’s compositions and interruptions. Tony Oxley on drums gives us a master class with his minimal backing and different approaches for the Quartet with his sticks and brushes but it is when he uses his hands and just sounds that he obtains with even using the metal on the kit and not the skins.

“Morning Heavy Song” is the album’s first composition and is a beautifully played ballad with Tomasz’s low tone in a sparse stretched manner with a dream like quality with Bobo Stenson’s piano following Tomasz but it is the trumpet which takes the majority of play throughout on this Stanko composition. Tony Oxley’s drums opens the next “Die Weishert von Le Comte Lautremont” with a much higher note played by Tomasz for this composition with a near frenzy at the end of his solo which is followed by Bobo Stenson’s beautiful piano input but listen to Tony Oxley doing what he does with a minimal method within his drumming. “A Farewell To Maria” was a film where Tomasz Stanko wrote the score and is another of those sparse ballads with Andres Jormin providing a superb subtle bass solo. “Brace” is an Oxley/ Jormin composition with just Tony’s drums and Ander’s bass present which brings that Avante Garde dimension to within the album as with the opening on the following number “Trinity” with just Bobo Stenson’s piano and the rhythm section present on this contemplative but never boring composition. This is where the album’s magic lays with Tomasz not being present on all numbers which keeps it all lovely and variable helping to maintain interest in this superbly created modern Jazz album. Still things keep getting better actually with a quick mid tempo and some brilliant high points form Tomasz’s trumpet following on “Forlorn Walk” but “Hungry Howl’ for me is the album’s delight and the sound of metal scrapping at times (cymbals most likely) from Tony’s kit brings a stark feel to within this stunning composition with a simply gorgeous input from Bobo Stenson’s piano. “No Bass Trio” is precisely what the title implies and Tony is doing that scrap off and on here as well, “Eurofilla” and the beautiful title number “Leosia” finishes up this highly original album.

Extremely highly recommended, needs a few plays but like all high quality music it just keeps getting better with every repetition. Of all his ECM output “Leosia” is the special one and for Tomasz’s next project “Litania” he covers his mentor’s music Krzysztof Komeda. Which was recorded the same year as” Leosia’s” release in 1997. Another highly recommended album is “From The Green Hill” released after “Litania” in 1999 with the piano dropped and Dino Saluzzi’s bandeneon used in its stead. All are on ECM Records.

MCCOY TYNER Sahara

Album · 1972 · Post Bop
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siLLy puPPy
As the jazz-fusion frenzy was taking place in the early 70s McCOY TYNER was adapting just a bit differently than his contemporaries. While many were going full-on jazz-rock-fusion, TYNER opted for a different approach. SAHARA takes on a whole new world of hard bop that gets lumped into the world of post bop. It seems TYNER was aiming for a new kind of fusion where he took the hard bop that came before and incorporated many Middle Eastern and African influences into the mix to create something really innovative and fresh. The title of the album and the album cover offer a glimpse into the reality of this album for the SAHARA desert is bleak and unforgiving as is the landscape depicted on the cover where an African-American is sitting in the midst of a seemingly devastated urban landscape and yet despite it all comes up with the inspiration to create one of the most revered jazz albums of all time. Not too shabby at all.

First of all let me say that this album eschews one of the things that turns me off most about jazz albums, namely the mandatory ballad. This is not, of course, strictly a jazz problem but one of music in general where the artist decides to throw on a ridiculously out of character slow number to appeal to an audience that doesn't really dig the whole scene of where they're coming from. Although the track “A Prayer For My Family” is supposed to be that slower number of sort, it is done with outstanding class and respect to the fact that this is a whole album that should flow from beginning to end and not take a breather to appeal to the “lesser appreciatives” out there. The sensibilities of continuity are flawless on this album and although there are major differences in tracks, there never is an incident of “OMG! WTF is that doing on here!.”

One of the unique aspects of this album emerges on track number 3: “Valley Of Life,” which sees TYNER going Japanese with this interesting inclusion of koto, flute and percussion playing in addition to his usual piano acrobatics. The true highlight of this amazing album is the finale title track which takes us on a true journey of jazz magnanimity. It is a 23 minute plus energetic delivery of awesome jazzitude that starts off with a very trippy intro that sounds like an elephant wailing through the mist with some Japanese instruments accompanying and some African drums providing some percussion but eventually showcases TYNER's virtuosic piano abilities in a hard bop energetic frenzy that ends up delivering the absolute best of jazz band sensibilities guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face in disbelief. All the instrumentations on this lengthy track are outstanding and it doesn't outstay its welcome for one tiny bit.

SAHARA has been deemed one of the best jazz album of all time for good reason. It doesn't leave a moment where you can be bored or ignore its absolute brilliance. This is one of those rare jazz albums where you can be blown away from the first playing but glean excellence from every subsequent listen. For me personally I have to rank SAHARA as one of my all time favorite albums PERIIOD and this is coming from a puPPy who likes a whole lot of different types of music.

MASTERPIECE!!!!!

CHARLIE HADEN Silence

Album · 1989 · Post Bop
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snobb
In September 1987 Charlie Haden recorded an excellent piano trio album with pianist Geri Allen and drummer Paul Motian called "Etudes". Released the following year on the Italian Soul Note label, it opened with Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" and continued with mostly originals by the band members, all boppish and swinging.

Three months after the "Etudes" sessions, Haden recorded more material in a Roman studio, but with a very different team this time. Billy Higgins replaces Paul Motian, lyrical Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi replaces Geri Allen, and even more, now there is a trumpeter on board, none other than Chet Baker. The end results became the album "Silence".

As one can expect, the music on "Silence" is different from "Etudes". With full respect to Baker's early albums, his participation on jazz albums in the 80s hardly adds a lot of pluses. His name and his voice can still attract nostalgic listeners, but his trumpet playing is hardly competitive compared with the artists he is working with. Even worse, there seems to be a rather pointless and commercial attempt to exploit Baker's past, you can't return the atmosphere back to the cool jazz era in the late 80s, added with Pieranunzi's melancholic mainstream slick piano sounds, its all quite artificial, out of time and place, a not too successful imitation.

This is still a product of classy musicians, so maybe it could attract fans of sentimental Italian jazz from the 70s, which, with varying success tried to combine American jazz traditions with Italian melodic lyricism and sentimentality.

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