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. Sometimes referred to as 'spiritual jazz', this style has made a comeback with young musicians, especially in London and Los Angeles.

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

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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.84 | 102 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum Album Cover V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.96 | 10 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.72 | 22 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
4.78 | 9 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Empyrean Isles Album Cover Empyrean Isles
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.65 | 31 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Song for My Lady Album Cover Song for My Lady
MCCOY TYNER
4.70 | 11 ratings
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GARY BURTON Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence Album Cover Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence
GARY BURTON
4.66 | 13 ratings
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MANU KATCHÉ Neighbourhood Album Cover Neighbourhood
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4.82 | 5 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT After The Fall Album Cover After The Fall
KEITH JARRETT
5.00 | 3 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P. : Five Stars Album Cover V.S.O.P. : Five Stars
HERBIE HANCOCK
5.00 | 3 ratings
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KENNY WHEELER Double, Double You Album Cover Double, Double You
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CHRIS POTTER The Sirens Album Cover The Sirens
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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

WOODY SHAW Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard

Live album · 1978 · Post Bop
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Mssr_Renard
Woody Shaw is one of my favorite seventies and eighties post-bop trumpeteers. A great composer and bandleader aswell.

Almost all of his seventies albums are worth listening, but this live-album is where the magic really happens.

The lp- and cd-version of this album are almost completely different. My review is about the lp.

This livealbum (recorded on two nights: august 5th and 6th, 1978 at the Village Vanguard, New York) features five originals (three from Shaw, one from drummer Lewis and one from pianist Gumbs). The final song is only a theme so it doesn't really count.

The quintet featured, is a very steady one and the interplay is magnificent. Sometimes it reminds me a bit of Jazz Messengers during the Shorter/Hubbard/Walton/Fuller-days.

Shaw plays no trumpet, but only cornet and flugelhorn, wich he does mostly during these days.

The album kicks off in a nice uptempo fashion with the Shaw-original Stepping Stone

On the song In a Capricornian Way (a 3/4 waltz) Jefferson (saxophone) and Gumbs (piano) really show their worth. During the pianosolo, you can also hear how tight Lewis and Houston (bass) sound. A great rhythm trio. The basssolo is very nice aswell. Perhaps I A Capricornian Way is one of the most beautiful songs I know. I like jazz-waltzes very much, I guess.

Side two opens with the Gumbs-penned It All Comes Back to You with some tasty flugelhorn and soprano saxophone interplay. Jefferson and Shaw are a match made in heaven. Here you can also hear the splendid rhythmsection.

Seventh Avenue is an uptempo hardbopper, written by drummer Lewis. The theme of the song is unisono cornet and saxophone mimicking policesirens or something similar and the whole song is crazy and tries to capture the craziness ofcthe city. A wonderful composition.

The last song (improvisation) is dedicated to executive producer and manager Maxine Gregg and has a nice theme to end a perfect live-album, wich you keep turning over and over to play it again and again.

The line-up on this album is also featured on Rosewood and Woody Three.

The song Escape Velocity from these concerts is featured on Woody Three. Theme for Maxine is turned into a seven minute song with Joe Henderson on the album Rosewood (wich in fact came out a year earlier).

THE COOKERS Time And Time Again

Album · 2014 · Post Bop
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Mssr_Renard
I have to say; I really adore The Cookers. I like each member of this collective, I love the enthousiasm, the choice of songs (be it new or old songs) and I love the execution.

The Cookers are somewhat of a supergroup. All of the collective's members have a long list of albums as leaders and/or members of other bands or groups.

The music of The Cookers is somewhere between the hard-bop and post-bop, maybe closest to mid-sixties and early eighties Jazz Messengers, but The Cookers sound mostly as themselvers.

The heavy and sloppy drumming of Billy Hart, the growling saxophone of Billy Harper, the tight and bluesy piano of George Cables. All these ingredients make for an enjoyable almost old-school listening-experience.

On this album all songs are penned by the collective themselves, and I can't really remember if these songs were played before by the bandmembers on other albums, but at least 'Sir Galahad' appears on Capra Black from Billy Harper (released in 1973 on Strata East), aswell as 'Dance Eternal Spirits Dance' wich appears on Harper's Black Saint-album from 1975.

Slipping and Sliding seem to have been released before on an album by The Leaders (another supergroup featuring McBee and Arthur Blythe amongst others).

The two Cables-songs (Double or Nothing and Farewell Mulgrew) were released on trio-albums by Cables as a leader, wich have a more grand arrangement here.

All in all, the Cookers deliver another great post-bop album which soars and can be considered an essential album. Maybe it is kind of eclectic but because of the great production and the talent involved it is a very enjoyable listen. All of the Cookers' albums have a high standard, though.

MCCOY TYNER Passion Dance

Live album · 1979 · Post Bop
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Mssr_Renard
Great live-album of McCoy with two trio-pieces (Song of the New World and Moment's Notice) and three solo-pieces (Passion Dance, Search for Peace and The Promise). Two compositions are from Coltrane and three from Tyner himself.

The trio-pieces are loud, maybe because of Tony Williams, but because there are no horns or other instruments, it's not disturbing. I think it's the most powerful trio I can think of. The heavy piano-playing and the heavy drumming seem to engage in battle while Carter (on bass) is the glue holding it together.

One of the lesser known live-albums, but surely a fine addition to any jazz-collection. One of the finer late-seventies post-bop albums in a musical landscape ruled by fusion and funk/disco.

CHARLES TOLLIVER Connect

Album · 2020 · Post Bop
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Mssr_Renard
This new album is a very seventies/late sixties sounding album. Post-Coltrane bop-music with older and younger musicians side to side. It reminds a bit of The Cookers (an all-star post-bop outfit with some great albums). The drumming of Lenny White is really restrained and nothing like what he does in Return to Forever. Great to hear Binker Golding guesting on this album.

The production of this album is very retro, and the compositions and solos are really great. It almost sounds like a lost post-bop-album than as a modern jazz-record, wich exactly what I like.

You can easily buy this album through Gearbox records (digital or physical) wich is great, because you can support the artists better, than just stream the album.

RICHIE BEIRACH Elm

Album · 1979 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
STARRING JACK DEJOHNETTE

Have you ever gotten rid of an album only to realize later you made a big mistake? That was my experience with pianist Richie (the album cover says Richard) Beirach's 1979 album Elm. Why did I get rid of it? Other than the usual "young and stupid" explanation, my best guess would be the gloomy Dieter Rehm artwork/design. Never-the-less I have thoroughly rectified my egregious mistake to where I am now an outspoken advocate of this hard-to-find and truly underrated album.

So with all due respect to Beirach for composing the album's five titles and leading the sessions, it is drummer Jack DeJohnette who steals the show and leaves the biggest impression. His continuously busy patterns throughout the album are downright awe-inspiring, and his ferocious solo near the end of "Snow Leopard" is enough to remind anyone that he belongs on the very short list of All Time Greats. Beirach's performances range from measured to blistering. Sometimes he elicits Bill Evans ("Sea Priestess"), and on the wandering "Ki", one is reminded of Joachim Kuhn. Bassist George Mraz contributes a wild bassline and solo to the previously mentioned "Snow Leopard" as well as the more angular "Pendulum". The title track has almost become a standard. Dedicated to Polish jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert, who died of cancer (age 32) shortly before this recording, the stately piano theme of "Elm" is backed by DeJohnette's shimmering cymbals and Mraz's bedrock support.

Released on ECM and produced by Manfred Eicher, Elm fits in well with the label's ethos, yet is not hindered by the ECM cliches/trademarks that are often cited. Don't take the bait of comparing this album with Beirach's 1975 debut album Eon on the same label with different support. That album was a stiff uppercut to the jaw and is even harder to find than Elm. (Cynic's response: "They're waiting for a post-mortem to re-issue as a box-set.") After Elm, Beirach would record only two more albums (with John Abercrombie) on ECM, but he has recorded prodigiously elsewhere in many different contexts ever since. If this album should ever cross your path, don't make the mistake I did and let it disappear. It's that good!

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Artists with Post Bop release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
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Blue Train Hard Bop
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My Favorite Things Hard Bop
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