Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Few Notes About Bop, Bebop, Hard Bop

Earlier this week I exchanged e-mail with a musician friend I've known since the late 80's. We got to chatting about jazz, something he knows WAY more about than I do. As part of this conversation I wrote something that, in retrospect, really sums up what I like about bop. Here it is.

It is interesting that you mention bebop because that is what I've been listening to. The blistering pace and density really turn me on. One of the albums I picked up from Emusic.com has Steve Allen introducing the Miles Davis Quintet. He says "They are not, as your grandmother might say, just blowing a lot of notes" and that each note can be mathematically justified. Funny! Anyway, I've been listening to that, Charles Mingus, Monk, Coltrane, Wes Montgomery...anyway, jazz. I think most of it is bebop. Then I picked up some fusion, Weather Report, Miles Davis Sextet and Carlos Santana & Wayne Shorter.

When I'm programming tonal stuff in my electronic music I try to give it that frenetic-bebop-solo energy while keeping it focussed. If it flys appart the energy goes with it so I have to make sure that on some level it makes sense, that there is something holding it together. I think that is the brilliance of the super dense bebop stuff. It has this veneer of chaos, but underneath it is supported by something very solid yet complex. I love it!

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