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

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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.82 | 88 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Empyrean Isles Album Cover Empyrean Isles
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.75 | 23 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.72 | 18 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P. Album Cover V.S.O.P.
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4.81 | 8 ratings
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GARY BURTON Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence Album Cover Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence
GARY BURTON
4.76 | 8 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Song for My Lady Album Cover Song for My Lady
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HERBIE HANCOCK Speak Like a Child Album Cover Speak Like a Child
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.62 | 16 ratings
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ENRICO RAVA The Plot Album Cover The Plot
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ENRICO RAVA Easy Living Album Cover Easy Living
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4.88 | 4 ratings
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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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4.71 | 7 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
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CHRIS POTTER The Sirens Album Cover The Sirens
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4.85 | 4 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

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Extrapolation

Album · 1969 · Post Bop
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js
John McLaughlin, much like his contemporary and sometimes band mate, Chick Corea, started his career with a very distinctive style, only to abandon that approach and tone things down for the rest of his career. Interesting to note that both were influenced by guru types when they changed their way of playing. “Extrapolation” is McLughlin’s first album as a leader and features a young guitarist willing to take crazy chances while plying with a fierce intensity that never totally returns on subsequent albums. Don’t get me wrong, John had many more great performances and recordings throughout the rest of his career, but he never again played with the freedom and abandon he does here. This McLaughlin has a rough approach that is both avant-garde and rootsy at the same time, especially compared to the po0lished sheen of many of his later albums.

The music on “Extrapolation” is all McLaughlin originals that combine bop, blues, free jazz, RnB and Indian music. Besides John, the next star of the show here is the versatile and energetic drumming of Tony Oxley, who is right at home playing anything from bluesy grooves to all out free onslaughts. John Surman’s gnarly baritone fit’s the gritty music perfectly as he adds his solos that combine RnB riffing with soaring free jazz. Brian Odges is an anchor on bass, and his well recorded input adds strength to the mix. Many of the tunes are very short and eclectic ranging from ballads to avant-garde bebop, but the best tracks are the longer ones where the band is given time to build their intensity. Listen to John’s intense note bends influenced by Indian music. Along with dropping the freer tonality, McLaughlin never recorded as much in that style again. Indian note bends have always been a part of his playing, but on this first album he merges this with a soulful blues flavor that adds so much bite to his solos. Some of John’s subsequent work with Miles Davis also features his earlier approach to the guitar.

MAX ROACH Deeds, Not Words (aka Conversation)

Album · 1958 · Post Bop
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js
If you are looking for a midway point on that line that runs from ‘out there’ bebop to free jazz, Max Roach’s “Deeds not Words” would be a good place to start. Max is one of those young guys in the 1940s who helped invent the new radical style that became known as bebop. As time moved on, Max always stayed involved in what was happening, making him the perfect musician in the late 50s to craft a sound that bridged that short gap from Yardbird to Ornette. His crew on here share a similar vision, particularly trumpeter Booker Little, who eschewed the bluesier sounds of Miles and Lee Morgan for a busy and angular bop approach much like his frequent band mate, Eric Dolphy. Although the hectic energy on here is east coast, Max’s use of a three horn front line to build complex arrangements and intertwining contrapuntal lines is more like the west coast innovators of the day. Along with Booker, the front line includes George Coleman on tenor and Ray Draper on tuba.

Most of the tracks on here fall in the up tempo range, plus there is one ballad, and one odd sort of Latin groove titled “Filide“. “Filide” is a Draper original and it features the tuba prominently. Tuba can not be an easy instrument to solo on and Ray does about as good as anyone could hope to. The ballad, title track “Deeds not Words”, gives Little a great vehicle to show off how much he can do with and to a melody. Its interesting to note that Max’s drumming foreshadows the way drummers play today. Instead of just keeping time on the ride cymbal, Max is all over the kit and quite free in his approach as he maintains a constant interchange with the soloists. Although the original version of this album probably carries a hefty tag, the vinyl re-issue titled “Converstion” can be found at a very reasonable price.

GEORGE RUSSELL George Russell Sextet Featuring Don Ellis & Eric Dolphy ‎: 1 2 3 4 5 6extet

Boxset / Compilation · 1969 · Post Bop
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js
“George Russell Sextet” is a compilation album that pulls from three of Russell’s albums from the early 60s, “Ezz-thetics”, “Stratus Seeker” and “the Outer View”. Much of what goes on in today’s jazz world can be traced back to George Russell and his sidemen such as Eric Dolphy, Don Ellis, Dave Baker and Steve Swallow. Listening to these tracks you can hear today’s abstract approach that walks a thin line between post bop and the avant-garde. Much like today’s players, sometimes Russell and his crew are in the pocket, and other times quite free. Likewise, they have room to play both inside and outside the chord changes. This is creative music that avoids clichés or expectations.

The album cover promises the appearance of Don Ellis and Eric Dolphy, which is only partially true. While Ellis does appear on every track, Eric is only on three, but the other tracks feature brilliant saxophone work from under-rated horn men such as John Pearce and Paul Plummer. Possibly just as important, Steve Swallow is the bassist on every track and he turns in his usual powerful performance. Hearing the young Ellis is interesting as his playing changed a bit over the years. In his youth, his playing was very bright and extroverted, and displayed a very noticeable Dizzy Gillespie influence.

This is a great selection of tracks that flow together very well for a compilation album. The music ranges from a very out there rendition of Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave”, to a funky blues original by Russell called “Blues in Orbit”. Elsewhere on here, Dolphy turns in the most intense reading of “Round Midnight” ever, and altoist John Pearce breaks a few land speed records on “The Stratus Seekers”. As mentioned earlier, much of what goes on in today’s scene can be traced back to these albums. If you are not familiar with Russell, this compilation is a great place to start.

CHARLES LLOYD 8 : Kindred Spirits (Live From The Lobero)

Live album · 2020 · Post Bop
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snobb
Sax player Charles Lloyd, one of the few still active jazzmen from Coltrane era, made his name in mid 60s playing soulful hard bop and spiritual jazz, often beside rock musicians in arenas, not tiny jazz clubs.

In the eighties, he returned back on scene with slightly modified post-bop, adopted to more chamber-like ECM listeners. Not really grooveless as many European ECM recordings, his music was accessible, tuneful and enough safe to fit comfortably in label's catalog. In new Millennium, Lloyd moved to Blue Note again with some usual and some unorthodox recordings(as 2018's Vanished Gardens with Lucinda Williams). '8: Kindred Spirits ',recorded during his 80th birthday celebration gig on March 15, 2018 at his hometown venue, Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre,and released in early 2020,comes as a pleasant surprise.

Recorded with his slightly modified regular band from some last years (guitarist Julian Lage, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland), this album contains strong songs from different periods,but more important - for the first time for many years (if not decades)it leaves safely comfortable (some can say -'sleepy') zone of Lloyd releases from few last decades and music here really burns.

Depending on edition (the regular one contains just four songs plus DVD), the listener receives some well played, muscular and tuneful music, played with enthusiasm, spiritually and a touch of adventure. The opener,'Dream Weaver,'comes from Lloyd's glory day in mid sixties (most probably it is his biggest hit ever). Stretched till twenty-plus minutes, it has enough space for some extended improvisations still staying warm and framed at the end of the day. 'Requiem', the ballad originally released in 1992 on Lloyd's one of ECM album, sounds bluesy and 'organic' against more sterile original.

'La Llorona', a Latin trad tune, is elegant and only very slightly melancholic here.The closer,'Part 5: Ruminations,' is second longest album's composition, and besides of strong tune it has a lot of place for soloists improvs (some of which are quite free). Besides of Lloyd's regular pianist Gerald Clayton,in big part responsible for band's sound for years, there's a guitarist Julian Lage who makes this album so special. Lot of excellent guitars soloing refresh the sound a lot and makes all music sound very gracious.

Other editions can contain three vinyls+DVD and deluxe editions with full concert documented (12 songs). Strong choice of material and lively, inspired musicianship makes '8: Kindred Spirits' one of the better Lloyd release for some years,if not decades.

BRIAN SCANLON Brain Scan

Album · 2019 · Post Bop
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js
Brian Scanlon is one of those musicians who you have probably listened to before, but didn’t realize who you were listening to. A long time session saxophonist, Brian has recorded with stars like Bob Dylan and Randy Newman, appeared on TV soundtracks such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, as well as movies like “La La Land” and “Crazy Rich Asians”. After a 32 year career Brian finally decided to record his first album as leader and packed “Brain Scan” with mostly his original tunes. Brian counts Coltrane and Parker as major influences, and you can also hear a good bit of Sonny Rollins and some Eric Dolphy too. Scanlon plays both tenor and alto and is a bopper at heart, always swinging, but he also works in plenty of RnB and soul on his eclectic debut.

The album opens with two modern abstract post bop tracks with Latin and fusion influences. Brian’s son, Avery, turns in a Holdsworth flavored electric guitar solo on the opener. “Re-entry” follows with some funky soul jazz that sounds like an instrumental version of a classic Steely Dan track, particularly in the guitar scratching of Andrew Synowiec. After a well written melodic ballad the band goes full tilt bebop on “I Hear Something” and a major overhaul of “Harlem Nocturne”. Scanlon turns down the heat for the closing numbers, with “My Right Foot” providing some bluesy grooves.

I’m not sure why Brian waited so long to step out as a leader, this should have happened long ago. He is an excellent writer and his constant melodic invention recalls his favorite sax mentors, but Scanlon also provides his own very smooth delivery and relaxed sound that is unique to him.

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