Jazz Music





Jazz Music


The end of World War II brought a great twist to the music world with the creation of mind-blowing Jazz Music scene. Usually, the music at the time was made by use of saxophone, horns, trumpets, pianos and drums among other instruments that could be played mostly on the road (Ake 2). Due to the small group of musicians at the time, the concentration was greatly averted from the complexities of today, and the sounds made were based on acoustic improvisation. For this reason, Bebop and Cool Jazz were the resultant music performances.

Bop Jazz Music and Musicians

Bop Jazz music is short of ‘Bebop’ that refers to a tune that consisted of a number of sections. There was the main theme, the solos that were much more extended after the head’s harmony made in the main theme, and lastly, there was the final statement of the same. Over time, musicians that were of the Bebop genre continued to complex much more complicated melodies and most of them were just varying chord progressions. Due to the reliance on acoustic improvising, the Bebop musicians would throw in an aspect of their own innovation that would make them stand out among their peers. Thanks to the experimental music played, a great number of music instruments were incorporated various musical swings imported, among them triplet-based swing, and proclivity.

The musician responsible for the experimentation and growth were Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Art Tatum, and Roy Eldridge to name but a few. Others however took the industry to another level starting with Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. Charlie Parker played in many swing bands and he developed a lyricism that has an unmatched command of both great harmony and skill. With time, more musicians came up and his style was continuously imitated making him one of the studied Jazz musicians to date. On the other Hand, Thelonious Monk unique harmonies as well pushed further the limits of Jazz music. He had a great influence by the James Johnson Harlem stride styles. These Harlem club musicians were prominent in the 40’s with experimental pushes as well.

Cool Jazz Music and Musicians

The jazz music in this time, (1950-1955), was without doubt greatly influenced by the Bebop musicians but with different style both in terms of sound and band movement. The beginning of this music took off in New York and in 1949, the record referred to as The Birth of the Cool was produced. The cool sound produced therefore lacked any major vibrations and was a much low volume. This is to say that the tone was much darker with avoidance of high-pitched sounds and variations.

Various musicians were dedicated to this genre of Jazz, among them Gerry Mulligan, Lennie Tristano Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Most of the Musicians in this era were of the white race that exposed the patterns of a much calmer and subdued Jazz style. The Modern Jazz Quartet enabled the spread of the music that traveled westward eventually. Moreover, there was a black Musician among them Miles Davis who with his album the Birth of the Cool also spread the popularity of the style.
Comparison of the two periods: Differences

The two genres of jazz music, that is Bebop and Cool music, had quite a number of differences by the end of 1955 (Handyside 14). For instance, in terms of the musical formulation and structure, the cool jazz sound continued with the lack of a strong vibrato and with the lower volumes and pitches compared to Bebop. This is to say that the melody lines used in cool jazz are reserved and highly based on lyrics other than improvising as it was in Bebop. This therefore created a noticeable tension in the performance, as well as, a great deal of contrast in the musical structure.

In addition to the above, cool jazz created a stereotypical boundary whereby, this time the key musicians were of the white race and of a more classical and European audience. This was the same case perhaps with the Bebop genre because most of the jazz musicians then were stereotypically black. The spread of the Bebop music was slower especially when compared to the progress that was observed in this era perhaps due to the racial preferences of the audiences.

Another reason for this is the interpretation given to the West coast jazz making it appear like it was used to interpret other popular songs that were done in this era. Furthermore, there were a number of unique traits in the spread of Jazz to the West, which appeared to link the music back to the regional definition of what the audience found familiar. In the process of adaptation of this genre to get a personal sound and foundation, the west cool music at this point incorporated Latin American Music, which gave the genre a very strong influence. All this shows that the Cool jazz sound a better audience and opportunities to spread compared to the Bebop genre.


Bebop music was a somewhat rowdy music scene, one that made music and melody had to grasp to most untrained years. The use of the tough chords and the vibrations made the music scene quite complex and thus attracted only the artists that could adapt to the melody and improvise their own tunes. Likewise, in the cool jazz setting, there are varieties of styles especially many that follow particular lyrics that also make thriving into this music scene complicated (Krenfeld 10). This is because, to understand fully the melody and the structural make up, there is need to first comprehend the customs and the norms of the American middle and upper class to which the target audience is based.

In addition to this, both the genres of Jazz music have achieved an appreciative and autonomous ideal regardless of their close proximity in the eras of individual popularity. Likewise, the two music genres were responsive to each other such that Cool jazz explored a much upper harmonic and structural as it is represented in Bebop jazz. Bebop musicians on the other hand developed an interest in incorporating the westernized and European classiness in the West cool jazz that gave it a more modernized approach suitable to a modernized society.


It is evident therefore that the Bop jazz was primarily prevalent within the black Americans at the time the musicians started to sing. From the swing in the melodies to the expressions seen from the variation of chords shows that this was indeed a time when segregation and Racism were at their peak in America (Ramsey 17). In the case of the Cool Jazz, the American attitudes too at the time was beginning to gain a quiet and a collected control that had then become a valued sense in the American society. Overall, the two music genres coexist in the jazz genre and today, all these styles are still being performed and new artists are coming in everyday.


Works Cited

Ake, David A. Jazz Matters: Sound, Place, and Time since Bebop. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. 1-5 Web 22 April 2015

Handyside, Chris. Jazz. Chicago, Ill: Heinemann Library, 2006. 12-14. Print.

Krenfeld, Barry D. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. New York: Grove, 2005.10-15. Print.

Ramsey, Guthrie P. Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.17-20. Print.

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