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)
KEITH JARRETT
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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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

YUSEF LATEEF The Golden Flute

Album · 1966 · Post Bop
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Sean Trane
I believe this is Yusef’s last album for the Impulse label, and he’s in a quartet formation with Lawson on piano, Wright on bass and Brooks on drums. With an “iffy” title of Golden Flute (sounds like a compilation of Zamfir or something like that) and an OK sleeve, the album features a bunch of covers of 40’s standards, which IMHO don’t exactly fit with the Impulse “New Thing” image – so allow me to take the “!” away from this review.

Opening with the “standardy” Road Runner (written by Yusef about life on the road), Lawson’s piano and Lateef’s sax bounce over each other to make it vibrant and even swingy. Some more gentile swingy-bop is coming up with the following Straighten up is a reprise of Nat Cole, and it will be joined a little later by Lester Young’s slow ballad Ghost Of A Chance and a bit later Exactly Like You (with a rare oboe). The album’s title only starts to fulfil its promise with the Yusef-penned Oasis, which features the flute and a light and slightly mysterious eastern (Arabian) ambiance.

The flipside opens on the promising Yusef-penned Golden Flute, built on a JS Bach inspiration, where the flute returns with a haunting mysterious aura. That aura is destroyed by another 40’s reprise of Rosetta. Lawson’s Head Hunters is a brilliant piano-dominated piece and the closing 7-mins+ Brooks-penned Smart Set is an outstanding modal piece with all members cruising along, just interrupted by a short drum solo, only to return to its haunting pace.

Unfortunately, while the album contains a few magic pieces, it’s rather clear that most (if not all) 60’s jazz label still didn’t know how to build an Album (yes, with a big “A”), as would be shown in the next few year by the “rock crowds”. This writer kind of wishes that all the covers of this album would’ve been grouped on one side; while the quartet’s original composition (much more interesting – and not just IMHO, I believe) would’ve made the flipside. Oh, yeah: this album’s major flaw is that it doesn’t feature enough of the instruments it draws attention to: two tracks only, even if they’re the best two of this slice of wax, it’s a little too few for my tastes.

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. The reprise Why Do I is your standard 50’s stuff .

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. Always Be In Love is one of those 3AM syrupy jazz ballads, including soft piano and oversweetish sax. 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”.

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.

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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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