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 | 77 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
4.84 | 56 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.80 | 34 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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4.87 | 7 ratings
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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)
KEITH JARRETT
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

JOE HENDERSON Barcelona

Live album · 1979 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
If you're a Joe Henderson fan, his 1980 (re-released twice since) trio album Barcelona can be recommended but with one caveat. Let it be known this album is nothing like the string of tribute albums he released in the 1990's that resurrected his career. While casual listeners might immediately dismiss it as avant-garde, Barcelona is actually an improvisatory, exploratory statement that might best be described as THORNY. Simultaneously, it is also an experiment in minimalism (just sax/bass/drums), yet one that will repay repeated listening, especially for those who are already familiar with Joe's style.

The 28-minute title track is divided into two parts (to accommodate its original pressing on vinyl) and was recorded at Wichita State University in 1977. It opens with a long, occasionally abrasive duet between Henderson and bassist Wayne Darling, who arco playing summons a Vitous-like fury. Drummer Ed Soph soon joins in, and this sprawling track moves through a variety of moods, including a very rhythmic section at the 13-minute mark. Part 2 is fast and ferocious, and includes Soph's solo. The audience seems mesmerized until the very end, and occasionally Joe will stray from his mike, but otherwise the sound is good for a not-very-high-profile live recording.

The album's other two tracks, "Mediterranean Sun" and "Y Yo La Quiero" both run about five minutes each, and are much more accessible. Recorded in a German studio in 1978, these showcase Joe at his minimalistic best: no drums, just Joe's wonderful soloing backed by Darling's bass.

Once again, this album is definitely not for first-timers, nor is it background music. The extended title track may be rough going at first, but speaking for Joe's fans we can be thankful these dates were saved for posterity. Free? No, it might set you back a bit (especially if you're looking for the original cover with Gaudi's architecture), but well worth the time and effort spent tracking it down. Every time I listen to this album, I like it more.

FREDDIE HUBBARD Outpost (aka Freddie Hubbard -Amiga Jazz)

Album · 1981 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
As most Freddie Hubbard fans know, his discography can be divided into two distinct categories: 1) his highly acclaimed pre-1975 recordings, and 2) his far-less-acclaimed post-1975 recordings. What happened in 1975? He signed on with Columbia and released a string of albums that can best be described as soul/funk/disco rather than jazz (and I'm attempting to be diplomatic here). Visit any good used record store and you will find truckloads of these albums carefully filed behind Freddie's name.

Then suddenly, in 1981, he released Outpost, his only album on the Enja label. This recording harks back to his classic sound, almost as if those Columbia albums had never happened. With Kenny Barron on piano, Buster Williams on bass, Al Foster on drums, and a very ECM-ish cover, Freddie declares in no uncertain terms that he is back (even if he never really left).

Outpost opens with "Santa Anna Winds", a brooding yet turbulent Hubbard composition with an exploratory center section that highlights his fiery trumpet tone. The flugelhorn ballad "You don't know what love is" will not make anybody forget his performance of "Here's That Rainy Day" (from 1970's Straight Life) but is still far above the crowd. The straight ahead "Outpost Blues" features Freddie at his swinging best. The uptempo "Dual Force" gives composer Buster Williams a chance to shine on the bass. Eric Dolphy's "Loss" closes the album with Freddie putting his own virtuosic stamp on some challenging material.

And now for the disclaimers: 1) the credits on this album clearly read "Freddie Hubbard: trumpet", but the man is very obviously playing the flugelhorn on both "You don't know what love is" and "Dual Force". 2) piano master Kenny Barron gives a fabulous performance throughout this album, but is sadly buried far too low in the mix. At the same time, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Al Foster are almost too loud, and many times are drowning out Barron's piano work (credit: producer Horst Weber, engineer David Baker). If you can overlook these faults, you should have no problem enjoying this album. With a back-catalog like Freddie's, it's easy to condemn with faint praise, but I can definitely recommend this album even if it's not one of his Blue Note/Atlantic/CTI classics.

TAD BRITTON Black Hills

Album · 2007 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
There I was, minding my own business and listening to my local jazz radio station (remember jazz radio?) when suddenly I heard a very gifted piano trio playing a bopish cover of James Taylor's quintessential hit "Fire & Rain". Why hasn't anyone else done this before? I wondered in stunned amazement, completely forgetting about Hubert Laws' version on his 1971 album Afro-Classic. Only later was I to discover that this trio was led by drummer Tad Britton, with pianist Marc Seales and bassist Jeff Johnson, and had recorded this outstanding album for Seattle's Origin Records in 2007.

"Fire & Rain" was unavoidable if you lived in the USA during the 1970s, even if you didn't regularly seek out the music of what came to be known as "the singer-songwriters". Clocking in at 10:46, this version is an absolute show-stopper. Starting slowly, the trio moves through four verses and choruses. Each time around, Seales picks up the tempo and ranges farther and farther from the famous melody line. Then Johnson takes his best solo on the album, and the group runs through one more repeat of the verse and chorus. An extended coda follows, and suddenly you'd swear Keith Jarrett is sitting in, bluesily vamping it up like never before. Finally there's a quiet fade, and all one can say is, "WOW!"

So what of the rest of the album? In spite of a well-rounded variety of moods and tempi, there's almost an ECM Records-like aura to these performances. Britton (who originally hails from South Dakota - thus the album title) does an excellent job in choosing material and allowing Seales and Johnson to continuously steal the show. This is not a typical "drummer's album", and Britton is content to let each song dictate the necessary percussion. There's a rousing, rambunctious version of Bill Evans' "Time Remembered", a more leisurely take of George Duke's "Love Reborn", and an uptempo cover of Steve Swallow's "Falling Grace" that strays very far from more familiar versions. A brief run-through of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" is sure to bring a smile.

There are some recording/engineering issues with this album that prevent it from being an out-of-left-field (left coast?) masterpiece. On Jeff Johnson's ballad "Dark Kiss" and the peaceful closer, "The Windmills of Your Mind", Britton's brushes are miked too closely and are far too loud: it sounds like there's a windstorm or crashing ocean just outside the studio. On Britton's one brief solo piece, "Red Drum", the toms are overly resonant to the point of distraction. Throughout the album, Johnson is not recorded to his best advantage, and even when soloing seems buried too far low in the mix.

Some might complain this album is too short (48:35), but this is just the outstanding discretion of not overworking a good studio session. In spite of its minor imperfections, Black Hills is definitely a keeper and worth your while if only for "Fire & Rain", and for resisting the obvious temptation to cover Vince Guaraldi.

BILLY CHILDS Rebirth

Album · 2017 · Post Bop
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Carmel
Since his first recordings of the 1980s, Billy Childs has developed into a individual and notable composer. An accomplished symphonic writer, he has also created a career’s worth of jazz originals that speak volumes for themselves.

Recently signing onto Mack Avenue’s roster, this marks his debut with the label. His album Rebirth, finds Childs reaching back to the start of his almost astoundingly varied musical career.

“Tightrope” features a immediate recognition of Child’s innate love of classical music. While Childs devotees will recognize three tunes from his Windham Hill tenure of the 1980s: “Stay,” “Backwards Bop” and “Starry Night.” All are featured with a freshened recasting to reflect his continued journey as an exploratory artist. While his compositions and orchestrations have taken Childs into a realm that transcends jazz venues, still in nature Childs is the total sum of his experiences all rooted in jazz.

The rhythmic expression of “Backwards Bop” and “Dance of Shiva” tap into his jazz pedigree developed by J.J. Johnson and Freddie Hubbard as a young member in their groups for his musical upbringing. Childs expands “When Eric Harland’s drums not only push the ensemble along, but fire back at the players in challenging ways, it’s not hard to imagine the creative tension of the Hubbard and Johnson performances.”

"The Starry Night" sets up with a dreamy piano foray, while Steve Wilson’s soprano sax blasts off into the stratosphere like an exploding star of sound. His solo is divinely keen and Childs and Wilson set the tone for a profound journey, as exhibited in "The Windmills Of Your Mind" an intense composition filled with deep colors and textures While Horace Silver’s “Peace” settles the listener into a duo take of piano and saxophone, for a serene moment.

What is so unique about Rebirth is it allows the listener to see the full picture of Childs abilities, whether attracted by his composing, his arranging or his sheer command on piano, the listener is treated to a Rebirth. A long look at a continued journey, and one that is taking a turn towards all of his talents in one release. Truly his tour de force in his immense discography.

CHICK COREA Origin: Live At The Blue Note

Live album · 1998 · Post Bop
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snobb
Renown pianist Chick Corea started his career in jazz highest league playing in Miles Davis band in 60s. After few mainstream solo albums as leader he co-founded technically superior (if short-lived) all-star avant-garde jazz quartet Circle (with bassist Dave Holland, sax player Anthony Braxton and drummer Barry Altschul) and then moved to stardom with his fusion band Return To Forever.

Still from mid 70s, when his successful fusion formula experienced dramatic decline under pressure of myriad of clones and and army fuzak players, Corea lost direction for decades unsuccessfully trying to find new inspiration (or another formula of success).Recorded few quite interesting fusion albums as leader,he started series of repeating changes of bands and genres with only very limited success trying everything from pop-jazz to chamber jazz,revitalizing electric fusion formula and returning back to mainstream jazz.

The only thing is obvious with no doubt - starting from late 70s Corea's best bands/albums all are post-bop. His acoustic sextet with young Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen (which opened to Cohen doors to best jazz scenes),drummer and reeds section is probably his Chick's best band for two decades. There are two releases only documenting Origin music, "Live at the Blue Note" debut (later released as box set incl. hours of unreleased material) and studio album "Change", released year later with different drummer (Jeff Ballard replacing Adam Cruz).

"Live at the Blue Note" contains material,selected from a week-long gig in December 1997,recorded in New York club. Sextet plays Corea's new originals with one exception (album's closer "It Could Happen To You"). Musically the album contains quite conservative post-bop with lot of brass/reeds, often sounding as bigger orchestra. Rhythm section is groovy and warm/physical recalling recordings from 60s, Corea plays his trademark tuneful moody piano,often with Latin touch and his old fans can easily hear some citations recalling early Return of Forever Latin scented music. He smartly adds few more complex and freer moments which work as tasteful spices making Origin music more delicious.

For sure, nothing is new here. Starting from mid 70s Corea's music is usually more or less quality, but always safe. Still great musicians interplay and technical excellence makes his best albums (incl. Origin recordings) a pleasant listening. A few years later Corea will establish another short-lived project with bassist Avishai Cohen - the New Trio (with drummer Jeff Ballard). In new Millennium Chick will continue playing with acoustic post-bop trios releasing his better recordings and enjoying moderate success (partially in Japan)

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
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A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Post Bop
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Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Post Bop
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