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
4.83 | 99 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
4.97 | 9 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.72 | 21 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
4.64 | 29 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Song for My Lady Album Cover Song for My Lady
MCCOY TYNER
4.74 | 10 ratings
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GARY BURTON Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence Album Cover Gary Burton / Chick Corea ‎: Crystal Silence
GARY BURTON
4.67 | 12 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
KENNY WHEELER
4.72 | 7 ratings
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CHRIS POTTER The Sirens Album Cover The Sirens
CHRIS POTTER
4.79 | 5 ratings
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MANU KATCHÉ Neighbourhood Album Cover Neighbourhood
MANU KATCHÉ
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

ALLAN PRASKIN Encounter

Album · 1971 · Post Bop
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Igor91
I stumbled upon this obscure Three Blind Mice release not too long ago and it has fast become one of my favorite jazz albums. Saxophonist Allan Praskin is kind of a "dark horse" in jazz. He recorded very little under his own name, and not much in general. Apparently, he spent most of his career living in Europe, playing gigs with various musicians on the live circuit there. Praskin is a fantastic saxophonist and deserves some accolades for his Japan-only release, "Encounter."

Praskin's prowess is on full display on this 1971 release. Joining Praskin are some of the great Japanese players of the time: Kiyoshi Sugimoto on electric guitar, Yoshio Ikeda on bass, and the great Motohiko Hino on drums. This is an exhilarating dose of hard bop with avant-garde/free jazz tendencies. The album consists of three originals by Praskin and two covers. The musicians play together wonderfully, and skillfully paint outside the lines without going too far-out for too long. "The Height Of Spring" ventures into fusion territory, with Sugimoto delivering a stinging, slightly distorted guitar solo. Closing the album is a fine rendering of Ornette Coleman's "Blues Connotation."

All four musicians shine on this date, and Praskin's soloing is mind-bending in its intensity, skill, soul, and stamina. The man is simply on fire here. This one should really get more recognition than it does. A near masterpiece of edgy jazz from the 70"s.

JORGE GARCIA Dedicated To You

Album · 2022 · Post Bop
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js
Guitarist Jorge Garcia has worked with many top names in jazz and pop, including Tony Bennett, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Jon Faddis and many more. The reason that his name is not better known has to do with the fact that his current album, “Dedicated to You”, is only his second album as a leader. Jorge is a top notch guitarist who may remind some of rugged boppers like Joe Pass and Barney Kessel, but he is also adept at playing the nylon string acoustic in Brazilian style settings as well. “Dedicated to You” brings out all the styles that Jorge enjoys as this album is put together from many different recording dates and groups.

The album opens with smoking hot bebop with Richie Cole on alto sax. Richie is no longer with us, but he was a master of the Charlie Parker sax-speak, with a dose of springy Eric Dolphy exclamations. Its too bad Richie is only on two tracks, because these are the album’s highlights. After these openers, Jorge moves into more of a Brazilian vibe, including an imaginative remake of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” featuring vocalist Wendy Pederson. Harmonacist Hendrick Meurkens supplies a solo on the Bossa Nova flavored Jorge original, “With You Always”. In a Bossa setting, the harmonica almost takes on an accordion flavor for a European café jazz vibe. Recorded in a trio setting, “S’Wonderful”, brings back Garcia’s blazing bebop chops. The album closes with a beautiful original ballad on which Jorge is backed by Phil Banman on the string synthesizer. Jazz guitar fans need to check out Jorge, he’s a great player and also an excellent writer as well.

ROY HARGROVE Roy Hargrove/Christian McBride/Stephen Scott Trio : Parker's Mood

Album · 1995 · Post Bop
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Steve Wyzard
DRUMMERLESS YET TIMELESS

This trio album was first announced to the world in the September 1995 issue of DownBeat, in a cover story with Roy Hargrove and Kenny Garrett. Naturally, it was one of those "young lions of jazz" stories that mentioned Parker's Mood would be released to celebrate Charlie Parker's 75th birthday. While the three performers (Hargrove, trumpet, Christian McBride, bass, and Stephen Scott, piano) would all move on quickly to other projects, and while there is a multitude of Bird tribute albums out there, this one is different and deserves to be heard again and again.

First, look at the track listing. While many people have covered "Yardbird Suite", "Parker's Mood", "Steeplechase", and even "Dewey Square" (I'm thinking of you, Mr. Redman) over the years, these three really dug deep into the Parker catalog for material. Heard any versions of "Laird Baird" recently? How about "Cardboard" or "Bongo Beep"? The opener "Klactoveedsedsteen" is an almost unknown masterpiece of bebop writing that, were there any sensitivity toward such things in the world today, this recording would have restored to rightful prominence. (Of course, the song's title alone has probably scared off most of the potential audience.) For those who want to investigate further, the CD booklet lists the original Parker recordings with dates and record labels.

Then there's the performances. Did I tell you these guys are awe-inspiring? Of the 16 tracks, 10 include the whole trio, including a speedy version of "Marmaduke", a poignant "Laura", a driven "Dexterity", and the Latin swing of "Repetition". The three duets are "Yardbird Suite" for trumpet and piano, "Laird Baird" for piano and bass (McBride's playing is unreal here), and "Chasin' the Bird" for trumpet and bass. And of course, everyone receives a solo spotlight: Hargrove on "Dewey Square", a blistering "Red Cross" by McBride, and Scott's freeish read of "April in Paris". The trio's closing "Star Eyes" will remain in your mind long after it's over.

The players address the challenges associated with playing these songs without a drummer in the liner notes, and the end results exceed everyone's expectations. That's to say nothing about not including an alto sax, but the compositions prove to be durable enough to handle these unique arrangements, which of course is the biggest tribute of all. The total program lasts 64:37, but flies by in seemingly 1/10th of that time. In spite of the seriousness of purpose, a good time was clearly had by all. Parker's Mood is highly recommended to both Bird acolytes as well as those who have not yet heard how powerful and far ahead of their time these compositions are.

MATT GORDY Be With Me

Album · 2022 · Post Bop
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js
Some jazz albums impress us with their extreme heat and energy, while there are others that go a different route and impress with how carefully everything is placed and just how ‘right’ the album sounds. Miles’ “Birth of the Cool” and Herbie’s “Speak Like a Child” are two albums that come to mind where everything just seems to fit and nothing extra is needed. Matt Gordy’s new album, “Be With Me” is another one of those albums where the players practice good taste and interplay and present music that hits a perfect balance. “Be With Me” also bears a resemblance to the other two albums in that it features a three piece horn section that adds colors to arrangements, much like a miniature big band. Matt is a drummer, but he also has classical level skills on the piano which he uses in arranging his tunes. Gordy is an in demand session drummer on the west coast so he rarely records as a leader, in fact this is his first album as a leader in over 20 years.

One of the best cuts happens at the very beginning as the band digs into the bebop of “Topsy”. This number is from the Count Basie songbook and its slinky noire chord changes recall the whole Basie/Ellington era, only played with a modern sensibility. There are more tracks on here that carry that minor key classic urban jazz-noire vibe, one of the best is the band’s excellent arrangement of Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes”, which references and quotes from the McCoy Tyner version of this well known song. Another top track is the Gordy original, “Camouflage”, which has pianist Alan Pasqua spinning an interesting and economical solo while backed by the horn arrangements. Once again, I am reminded of the aforementioned Herbie Hancock album. All of the soloists on here are excellent, but I think its Pasqua who really gets the flavor of this album and never gives into needless flash or histrionics. Two tracks feature vocalist Sherry Williams, who does a great job on "Sunny" and the original, "Be With Me". This is a great album for jazz fans, but because of its careful focus, it is also one of those albums that could appeal to those who don’t normally dig the jazz scene.

RON CARTER Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette & Gonzalo Rubalcaba : Skyline

Album · 2021 · Post Bop
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snobb
Super-trio album, "Skyline", reunites Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba with his American mentors - drummer Jack DeJohnette and acoustic bassist Ron Carter. Rubalcaba played with them in the late 90s, when he arrived to Miami from the Dominican Republic.

On "Skyline", all three musicians offer some of their previously played tunes. So, this album is more about collaboration and emotional colors than about really a new thing. The opener, "Lágrimas Negras"(traditional Cuban "Black Tears" from 20th) played as a bolero is an absolute winner. "Novia Mia" is another Cuban classic, dreamy and melancholic.

Still, the main album's flow is mainstream jazz, with swinging rhythm section and lots of groove. Ron Carter adds his "Gypsy" (originally released in 1979 on his album with Chick Corea) and “A Quiet Place” from his 1978 album, "A Song for You", (Jack DeJohnette played on the original version as well). DeJohnette offers “Silver Hollow”, originally recorded with his fusion project New Directions in 1978, and “Ahmad the Terrible” - his dedication to Ahmad Jamal. Rubalcaba's addition is “Promenade”, from his late 90s album, and “Siempre Maria” - another Cuban rhythm scented song, originally released by him in 1992. The album's closer, "RonJackRuba", is a bluesy improv, which was born right in the recording studio.

During the decades of the genre's existence, acoustic trio post bop experienced many ups and downs, and nowadays it is far not so noticeable and dominating as it was in late 60s or early 70s. Quite often new generations of jazz fans are more familiar with once widely influential fusion or more modern jazz sounds of the late 90s and New Millennium. Still it's post bop which is saving the jazz tradition till now, and sometimes it is undeservedly forgotten. "Skyline" is an album made by the genre's masters, reminding us how great this music can sound again.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
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