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 | 63 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
4.86 | 46 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.84 | 27 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.94 | 11 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
CHARLES MINGUS
4.77 | 14 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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KEITH JARRETT At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings Album Cover At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings
KEITH JARRETT
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
MILES DAVIS
4.64 | 26 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Expansions Album Cover Expansions
MCCOY TYNER
4.82 | 6 ratings
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post bop Music Reviews

TOMMY PELTIER'S JAZZ CORPS The Jazz Corps (Featuring Roland Kirk)

Album · 1967 · Post Bop
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js
The general cliché about west coast jazz was that everyone sounded like Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan doing their ‘cool’ thing, and certainly folks on the left coast tended to play with a more relaxed feel, but the west coast was also very open to new ideas (Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry were far more welcome in LA than NYC) as well as influences from around the world, particularly Asia and Latin America. Its within this air of openess that we get this great jam featuring Tommy Peltier’s Jazz Corps and their special guest, the always brilliant Roland T. Kirk ( apparently not yet named Rahsaan at this point).

Peltier and his Corps were an ongoing local staple at the famous Lighthouse jams in Hermosa Beach CA. Often Tommy and his group would open for various headliners such as Cannonball Adderly and Yusef Lateef, which would give the Corps an opportunity to rub shoulders with the greats. I would imagine this is how they were able to secure a recording date with Kirk on board. The resultant album, “The Jazz Corps featuring Roland Kirk” would have been a solid recording even without Kirk, but having Roland on board helps raise things a notch or two. Not only does Roland bring his spectacular solo skills to the mix, but having an extra multi-horn man on board gives the Corps six pieces, including a three horn front line, which helps the band create fresh tone colors to make each tune unique. This is most apparent on the modern ballad, “Serenity”, where two flutes combine with a muted trumpet for a sound all their own.

The lengthy modal improvisations from India known as ragas had a strong influence on west coast jazz in the 60s as many an artist took up a beatnik flavored take on the raga sound with long jams that used one scale or mode, rather than chord changes, for soloists to work with. This modal approach to jamming runs all through “The Jazz Corps” , with an influx of Latin rhythms on many tunes adding even more of a west coast style international mix. Add to all that, this mini big-band ensemble’s use of interesting tone colors and their ability to weave more than one melodic line at once with improvised arrangements and you have a very imaginative record that holds up well to repeat listens.

As mentioned earlier, many of the tunes on here have a relaxed approach, but towards the end of side two the band’s expressed interest in the music of Ornette and Don Cherry kicks in and they move outside during a high energy ride called “Meanwhile”. This cut features Kirk’s most intense solo on the album, a furious assault on the stritch, a sax/clarinet hybrid from the early days of jazz. Overall this is a great album, very unique and featuring a sort of intricate sensitivity and creativity that will soon disappear from jazz for a while, bludgeoned by the heavy-handed conformity of the fusion fad.

JOHN SCOFIELD ScoLoHoFo: Oh!

Album · 2003 · Post Bop
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js
Oh!” is the only album put out by early 21st century jazz super group, scolohofo. Unlike other “super-groups” who don’t really connect as individuals, scolohofo had spent time on the road together before they recorded this CD and had already developed a strong sense of interplay. In fact, the best feature of this disc is the way lead soloists Joe Lovano and John Scofield interact. The music on here is abstract and intellectual post bop of the variety developed by the Miles Davis quintet, but just like Miles and his crew, this music may be complex and hi-brow, but its also bluesy and street-wise at the same time. The musicians definitely work up a sweat on a couple numbers, and aren’t afraid to move outside with their solos, but there is also a certain sense of modern cool that keeps a reign on too much indulgence. This is best typified by Lovano’s sax technique where he will peak off a solo with a ‘scream’, but it’s a sort of controlled whispered scream.

Some top cuts include “The Winding Way” , with its great funky melody, and “New Amstredam”, a lengthy number that features simultaneous solos from Sco and Lo. “Shorter Form” and the opening title cut are good and “Bittersweet” is a nice ballad. As this lengthy CD wears on, the playing remains top notch, but some tunes seem to be lacking in memorable melody or discernible differences in texture. Fortunately things close on a strong note with the bluesy “Oh I See”.

John Scofield has recorded a lot of great funky fusion records over the years, but fans of his jazz playing were happy to hear him take on some challenging chord changes for a change, while being accompanied by some of the best musicians available.

CHICK COREA Trilogy

Live album · 2013 · Post Bop
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snobb
Chick Corea is one of few jazz living legends who's Return To Forever fusion project opened stadiums for jazz in mid 70s. His early 70s collaborations with world leading experimental jazz artists as Anthony Braxton and Dave Holland (Circle and ARC projects,etc) were less successful commercially but found their place in jazz avant-garde classics hall of fame.His Latin fusion compositions are genre's classics as well.

Unfortunately starting from late 70s things weren't so successful though. In fact he didn't find a new inspiration or new direction and for decades got stuck trying to repeat previous success founding fusion bands when fusion was already old-fashioned thing (Elektric Band),flirting with third stream, new-age influenced contemporary jazz or just going more commercial. His music is always high professional and Chick released good dozen of strong albums during last three decades having large followers team till now, but even his hot fans usually speak about artist's "great seventies" with open nostalgia.

Being Corea's fan and follower for decades, I can only agree with that common opinion but there is one trick I learned (which works with many other great jazz musicians from early 70s who's music is dramatically changed influenced by the fashion of the day during 80s,90s and first decade of new century) if you want to listen best new music from your beloved musician - go Japan!

Japanese jazz market was always different from Western world's one and starting from late 70s some leading Japanese labels started regularly record and release leading Western jazz artists albums,oriented to Japanese market. The difference is far not only characteristic for Japanese recordings audiophile sound quality, main difference is music itself - in fact Japanese jazz scene stayed very conservative (probably for good in that case)and hard bop and post bop releases dominate there till now. Since late 90s it became obvious that speaking about post-70s recordings Chick Corea's best music is post-bop.His excellent techniques,great tunes and art of forming new bands all shine on his more mainstream works.Listen to Corea's post-bop album from any decade between early 80s and nowadays and almost always can be sure you're listening to his best music from that time.

Few years ago Chick released excellent series of acoustic post-bop recordings "Five Trios Series" on Universal label in Japan. It contains five albums of audiophile quality recorded by Chick with John Patitucci/Antonio Sanchez ("Dr.Joe"),Eddie Gomez/John DeJohnette ("From Miles"),Christian McBride/Jeff Ballard ("Chillin' In Chelan"),Eddie Gomez/Airto Moreira ("The Boston Three Party")and Hadrien Feraud/Richie Barshay ("Brooklyn Paris To Clearwater").Unfortunately these albums(Corea's best recorded music for years if not decades)were extremely expensive and stay almost unknown even for Corea's fans.

In 2009 Chick formed new acoustic trio with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade which during upcoming three years toured extensively US,Europe and Far East.Rooted in tradition of his previous trios from last decade, music played by this new formation is advanced groovy post bop with elements of Corea's half-century long musical legacy (Latin,avant-garde jazz,etc). Comparing with best trios,mentioned above, music played is slightly more slick and "contemporary", but the difference isn't significant, most probably it's just a small tribute to current time jazz fashion.

"Trilogy" is triple live set,collecting some material, played during 2010-2012 new trio European and Japanese tours.Chosen recordings are covering extremely wide areas what makes this (long and expensive again!) release far from being boring or overcrowded. First of three CD contains most accessible compositions,including "My Foolish Heart" and very unusual version of Corea's classics "Spain" among others.Two guests(Jorge Pardo on flute and Nino Josele on acoustic guitar) add lot of Latin flavor here. Second CD opens with Kurt Weill "This Is New" and is not so much different from the former, but besides of well known "Armando's Rhumba" contains ten minutes long Scriabin's "Op.11,No.9".Third CD is most unusual and contains only three compositions,varying between neo-classical and avant-garde jazz and including almost 30 minutes long Corea's own "Piano Sonata-The Moon".

Well completed,perfectly recorded and mixed this massive release probably contains few surprises,but for Corea's fans it's another extremely enjoyable example of great artist's music.

AHMAD JAMAL Saturday Morning

Album · 2013 · Post Bop
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js
At age 83 Ahmad Jamal has seen many musical styles come and go and has been a part of many of these changes, while also always maintaining his own personal sound. On his latest CD, “Saturday Morning”, Ahmad's piano solos seem to reflect this world of experience with musical quotes from earlier in Jamal’s career mixing with phrases from practically the entire history of music. 60s pop songs, Ellington, Chopin and others all mix with Jamal’s whirlwind of original ideas as each phrase always takes the unexpected turn. What we have on “Saturday” is eleven tunes (title track “Saturday Morning“ is played twice), nine are originals and two are standards given very Jamal makeovers. Two of the originals have appeared on previous albums, but with a totally different sound. The approach on here is typical Ahmad Jamal in that there are no pretentious gimmicks or trendy diversions, just one of the best pianists alive playing with a very responsive rhythm section that has a great feel for fusing modern rhythms with jazz.

Its interesting how things can eventually come full circle. In the mid 50s Jamal was a pioneer in the “less is more” approach to music, an approach that found a place in popular culture with the 50s relaxed hip sounds of cool jazz and exotic lounge music. During the 70s and 80s Jamal got with the more extroverted and extravagant culture and often played in an aggressive post bop/fusion jam band style like many others. Flash forward to the mid-90s and the ‘lounge’ aesthetic has returned via trip-hop and chill room exoticism, and it would seem that this cultural return has not been lost on Jamal. Fortunately “Saturday Morning” is not some overly trendy misguided stab at trip-hop, but percussionist Manolo Badrena and drummer Herlin Riley’s use of laid back hip-hop beats and Caribbean dub grooves mixes well with Jamal’s return to a more relaxed approach to the piano and the end result is a nice blend between a modern chill room vibe and virtuoso piano playing that really gives you something to listen to. Jamal has returned somewhat to his early “lounge” sound in some respects, but the Jamal of today is much busier with wild flourishes and occasional hectic rapid fire sequences. There is a surprise lurking around every corner and when he cuts loose, Ahamd has no problem showing he can hang with the Tyners and Cecil Taylors of physical piano assault. Some tunes, such as “Firefly”, definitely work their way into more high energy territory.

There is no resting on his laurels for Ahamad Jamal, “Saturday Morning” is proof that he remains current and creative to the minute. Its great to hear him and his band incorporate modern approaches and rhythms in subtle ways. When the title cut “Saturday Morning” rolls around the second time, towards the end there is a section where Jamal plays a repeating floating chord over a sparse beat, sounds like he’s imitating a DJ manipulating a sample, either way, Jamal keeps his ear open to the present and the past.

BRAD MEHLDAU Ode

Album · 2012 · Post Bop
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js
Given jazz’s lengthy history of innovators, its hard to come up with a voice that is truly new and original. With so many universities now specializing in jazz studies and turning out virtuosos that can play anything from classical to McCoy Tyner, mere technical skills are not enough to stand out anymore. During the early part of his career, Brad Mehldau seemed to be like many other young talented contemporary acoustic pianists who combined Bill Evans and Keith Jarret with a modern art-pop sensibility, but over the years, Mehldau has eventually pulled ahead of today’s talented pool of pianists with a style of improvisation that has become increasingly difficult for others to assimilate or imitate. Mehldau may not be the obvious trailblazing firebrand of the Charlie Parker/Cecil Taylor variety, but he is the freshest thing to happen to jazz in a long time. Blessed with a remarkable ability to separate his two hands and sound like more than one pianist, Mehldau’s sense of rhythm and phrasing is a constantly shifting kaleidoscope where presented ideas quickly become mirages in a steady stream of unexpected changeups. Much credit should also go to Brad’s brilliant rhythm section of Jeff Ballard on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass. Their ability to not only follow Mehldau’s’s constantly changing rhythms, but to sometimes also lead, displays a supreme telepathic communication between the three.

For years I was aware of who Mehldau was and also knew he had a growing number of enthusiastic supporters, but I had not yet caught what was truly different about him. One night, an internet jazz station was playing in the background and I was barely paying attention while it played a wash of pleasant but unremarkable modern post bop when all of a sudden there was this piano solo insistently tugging at my attention. The pianist sounded like a precocious child petulantly playing melodies with the notes his fingers happened to have landed on. I hadn’t heard this sort of pure expression sense the heyday of Monk and Sun Ra and looking at the screen I saw it was Mehldau and I’ve been enthusiastically checking out his music since.

All of these tunes are great, some of the best ( “26”, “Twiggy”, "Days of Dilbert Delaney") happen when Ballard lays down a polyrhythmic Elvin Jones/Dejohnette free swing while Brad goes off against drone like two or three chord vamps. Much of the music on here mixes modern jazz with dreamy art pop in ways that make it difficult to separate the two. “Stan the Man”, on the other hand, is pure jazz with its high speed bop tempo and free atonal two handed solo from Mehldau. The one cut that stands out though is “Eulogy for George Hanson”, which opens with somber chords that slowly lead into an odd section where Brad and Larry freely improvise with Mehldaus’ fast scattering right hand contrasting with insistent simple melodies in the left. The effect is bizarre and hallucinogenic as they sound like way more than just three performers.

This is one of the better jazz records to come out in a while, truly original music played with inspired brilliance and sheer talent that others will not be able to imitate.

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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
CHARLES MINGUS
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In a Silent Way Classic Fusion
MILES DAVIS
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'Out to Lunch!' Avant-Garde Jazz
ERIC DOLPHY
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