A history of Jazz Music

by Piero Scaruffi
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(These are excerpts from my book "A History of Jazz Music")

Hard Bop

TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Eventually, some black musicians reacted against the intellectual cliches of bebop by advocating a return to jazz music's original spontaneity and energy. A stronger rhythmic emphasis (derived from gospel and rhythm'n'blues), catchier refrains and more forceful solos revitalized the fundamental innovations of bebop (that were not refuted but simply recast in a more accessible format). Thus bebop mutated into "hard-bop" (mainly on the East Coast). Hard bop was also a reaction of sorts against cool jazz: cool jazz was (mostly) white, hard bop was black; cool jazz was (mostly) West Coast, hard bop was East Coast; cool jazz was brainy, hard bop was spontaneous. Despite the aesthetic claims, both composition and arrangement were more emphasized than ever by hard bop musicians, perhaps a sign of the influence of cool jazz even on its critics.


The genealogy of hard bop begins with drummer Max Roach, who had cut his teeth with Charlie Parker (1945-49), and who in 1954 formed a quintet with trumpeter Clifford Brown (plus tenor saxophone, piano and bass). Clifford Brown and Max Roach (august 1954), containing Brown's Daahoud and Joy Spring, In 1956 Sonny Rollins became their tenor saxophonist but Brown died shortly afterwards. The new line-up continued to evolve Roach's vision of hard bop via Plus Four (september 1956), that contains a nine-minute version of George Russell's Ezz-Thetic, and Jazz in 3/4 time (march 1957), devoted to 3/4 waltz rhythms (Blues Waltz) and occasional forays into modal improvisation. Rollins departed before Deeds Not Words (september 1958), that features Booker Little on trumpet and Ray Draper on tuba.
Roach cut his masterpiece Freedom Now Suite (september 1960), a seven-movement suite that featured vocals (written by lyricist Oscar Brown and sang by Abbey Lincoln), with a nonet that marked a clear break with his past (trumpeter Booker Little and trombonist Julian Priester. two tenors including Coleman Hawkins, three external percussionists).
Percussion Bitter Sweet (august 1961) featured another "subversive" line-up (Little, Priester, Eric Dolphy on alto, bass clarinet, and flute, Clifford Jordan on tenor, Mal Waldron on piano, Art Davis on bass, plus a section of percussionists) and was again entirely devoted to Roach originals. He had something to say and clearly wanted to say it through his music (Garvey's Ghost, Praise For A Martyr).
As the politicized season faded, Roach got even more absorbed by his drumming. Drums Unlimited (october 1965) contained three solo-drum pieces: The Drum Also Waltzes, Drums Unlimited and For Big Sid. Birth And Rebirth (september 1978) was a concept album inspired to primitive beliefs and made of seven duets with Anthony Braxton framed by Birth and Rebirth, followed by One in Two Two in One (august 1979) that contained just one long album-size improvisation. Roach's percussion orchestra M'Boom debuted on M'Boom (july 1979). His main vehicle remained his quartet (Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet and Odean Pope on tenor, flute and oboe), documented in Pope's Mwalimu, off Pictures In A Frame (september 1979), Bridgewater's 40-minute suite Scott Free (may 1984), and Roach's 21-minute Survivors, off Survivors (october 1984). Roach's last experiment was with the format of the double quartet on Easy Winners (january 1985) and Bright Moments (october 1986). To the Max was a testament to his experimental life, containing a three-movement suite Ghost Dance (june 1991) for M'Boom and a 21-minute A Little Booker (june 1991) for double quartet. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The epitome of hard bop's hard pulse was drummer Art Blakey, who already had impeccable credentials (Mary Lou Williams, Fletcher Henderson, Billy Eckstine from 1944 till 1947) when in 1954 he and pianist Horace Silver decided to form the Jazz Messengers, destined to become the premiere incubator of hard bop musicians. Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (february 1955) featured the quintet of Blakey on drums, Silver on piano, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor and Doug Watkins on bass, and contained seven Silver compositions: due to its popularity, The Preacher was the piece that started the hard bop revolution. Nica's Dream (april 1956), with Donald Byrd replacing Dorham on trumpet, was highlighted by Silver's twelve-minute Nica's Dream. When Silver left, Blakey became the sole owner of the band and further increased the rhythmic intensity of his performances. By the time Hard Bop (february 1957) was recorded, all the other members had changed as well, with Jackie McLean joining on alto (and contributing the best piece, Little Melonae). Blakey's emphasis on rhythm increased dramatically through Drum Suite (february 1957), one of the earliest recordings that focused on drumming (two drummers and three percussionists performed on a couple of pieces), Ritual (february 1957), containing the ten-minute solo-drum piece Ritual, Orgy In Rhythm (march 1957), an African-sounding album (de facto a "world-music" album ante litteram) that featured several percussionists, Herbie Mann on African flutes, shamanic chanting and a program of captivating Blakey originals (Buhaina Chant, Toffi, Abdullah's Delight), and Cu-bop (may 1957), a Latin album featuring a conga player (as well as a new recruit, tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin). Blakey's third quintet, with tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, pianist Bobby Timmons and trumpeter Lee Morgan, the stereotypical trumpet of hard bop, debuted on Moanin' (october 1958), with Timmons' nine-minute Moanin' (perhaps their most popular number) and Blakey's seven-minute The Drum Thunder Suite. Drums Around the Corner (november 1958) drowned trumpet and saxophone into percussions (drummers Philly Joe Jones and Roy Haynes, conga player Ray Barretto) for performances of Blakey's originals Blakey's Blues and Drums in the Rain. After scoring the film soundtrack Les Liaisons Dangereuses (july 1959), Blakey introduced his fourth trumpet-sax-piano-bass-drums quintet with The Big Beat (march 1960). The only change was in the tenor saxophone, but it was a change that dramatically altered the sound: Wayne Shorter not only introduced a different approach (slicker, less oriented towards rhythm'n'blues) but also provided compositions such as Cheese Players and Lester Left Town that better suited the dynamics of the quintet.
After Freedom Rider (february 1961), Blakey changed the line-up one more time keeping Shorter and introducing trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Curtis Fuller and pianist Cedar Walton, Blakey's sextet for Mosaic (october 1961) and Buhaina's Delight (december 1961) now featured four formidable composers, who contributed Walton's Mosaic, Shorter's Children of the Night, Fuller's Arabia and Hubbard's Crisis to the former, and Walton's Shaky Jake, Fuller's Bu's Delight and Shorter's Reincarnation Blues to the latter. Three Blind Mice (march 1962) added Freddie Hubbard's Up Jumped Spring to the repertory. With Reggie Workman on bass they recorded Caravan (october 1962), highlighted by Shorter's This Is For Albert and Sweet 'N' Sour, Ugetsu (june 1963), containing Shorter's One by One, Ping-Pong and On the Ginza, as well as Walton's Ugetsu, and Free For All (february 1964), that included Shorter's memorable Free For All and Hubbard's The Core
Lee Morgan replaced Hubbard on Indestructible (may 1964), but real news was Fuller's promotion to main composer (The Egyptian and Sortie, both substantially more "modal" than the average of the group), although still balanced by the more traditional Walton (When Love Is New) and Shorter (Mr Jin, another gem) material. But it was the beginning of the instability that slowly marginalized the group, despite the torrential flow of recordings and the numerous talents that Blakey kept discovering, such as Wynton Marsalis on Album of the Year (april 1981) and Terence Blanchard on Oh By The Way (may 1982).


An alumnus of Bud Powell (1949), Miles Davis (1951) and Max Roach (1955-57), having contributed the compositions Airegin, Doxy and Oleo to Davis' Bag's Groove (june 1954), tenor saxophonist Theodore "Sonny" Rollins started out as a leader with the confusingly titled Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet (october 1953), that contained his Mambo Bounce (recorded in december 1951 by a quartet with Kenny Drew on piano, Percy Heath on bass, Art Blakey on drums). His Quintet (saxophone, trumpet, piano, Heath, Blakey) recorded Moving Out (august 1954), that contained four Rollins compositions (Movin' Out, Swinging for Bumsy, Silk 'n' Satin, Solid).
The quintet on Plus Four (march 1956) was nothing but the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet (a piano-based quintet with Clifford Brown on trumpet and Max Roach on drums). Two eight-minute Rollins originals, Valse Hot (in 3/4 meter) and Pent-Up House, elevated the album above the stereotypes of hard bop.
Tenor Madness (may 1956), that borrowed Davis' quintet (Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Philly Joe Jones on drums), offered a twelve-minute duel between Rollins and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane in Tenor Madness.
A quartet with Tommy Flanagan on piano and Max Roach on drums recorded Saxophone Colossus (june 1956), the real launching pad for Rollins' career as a leader, containing two of his most celebrated composition: the calypso St Thomas and Blue Seven, the manifesto of his "thematic" improvisation, This was improvisation based on melody, not on chords, as bebop was, or on modes, as Davis' modal jazz was. Unlike the traditional kind of melodic improvisation (that was basically an embellishment of the original melody), Rollings' "improvisation" was a process of recursive variation and therefore of melodic reinvention.
Tour De Force (december 1956), for a quartet with Drew and Roach, introduced Rollins' Ee-Ah, B. Quick and B. Swift.
Volume One (december 1956), for a quintet with Donald Byrd on trumpet, Wynton Kelly on piano and Max Roach on drums, delivered powerful performances of Rollins' Decision, Bluesnote, Plain Jane, and especially Sonnysphere. Volume Two (april 1957) was emblematic of the transition from bebop to hard bop: both Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver play piano on Monk's Misterioso, but elsewhere (e.g., Why Don't I) Rollins' quintet (Silver, trombonist James "J.J." Johnson, Chambers and Blakey) rips bebop apart.
Rollins found the ideal vehicle for his thematic improvisation in the sax-bass-drums trio of Way Out West (march 1957), although the material was odd at best (his own Way Out West excepted) to the point of sounding like a parody of the originals. Rollins was now regarded as the greatest tenor of his generation, a status confirmed by It Could Happen to You, his first unaccompanied solo, off The Sound of Sonny (june 1957), and even by mediocre albums such as Newk's Time (september 1957), but especially by the second album for piano-less tenor-saxophone trio, A Night At The Village Vanguard (november 1957), featuring drummer Elvin Jones.
Every aspect of Rollins' art culminated in the the 20-minute title-track of Freedom Suite (march 1958), the first piece of jazz music (with Max Roach on drums and Oscar Pettiford on bass) to successfully wed politics and music.
After a mostly disappointing experiment with a large ensemble, documented on Big Brass (july 1958) and Brass and Trio (same sessions), Rollins retired from music in 1959, but promptly returned two years later in a quartet featuring Jim Hall: The Bridge (february 1962). Its follow-up, What's New (may 1962), featured two trio numbers, Jungoso and Bluesongo, that resumed his favorite format and wed it to his passion for Latin rhythms. But the real comeback was Our Man in Jazz (july 1962): a quartet with bass, drums and Don Cherry on cornett performing colossal versions of Oleo (25 minutes) and Doxy (15 minutes). Rollins repeated that exploit with the dissonant 20-minute East Broadway Run Down (may 1966), a bold thematic improvisation on the riff of Lionel Hampton's Hey Baba Rebop featuring Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, off East Broadway Run Down (1966). Then he retired again.
Few players summarized and embodied the history of jazz saxophone as well as Rollins, whose solos harked back to the classics as well as extending towards the avantgarde (and whose compositions were simply designed to maximize this ability). His art never truly progressed: he assimilated the innovations of his age only to the extent that they had become of the jazz tradition. In a sense he kept refining the shape of the "ideal solo" the same way that renaissance architects kept refining the concept of the ideal city: by continuously ad recursively reinterpreting the connection between past and future. Unlike the experiments of many contemporaries, Rollins' style was not a tribute to himself but a tribute to jazz music. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Horace Silver was the main hard-bop pianist, influenced by both African and gospel music. On his first major recording, Trio (november 1953), with Art Blakey on drums and several bassists, he already displayed the essence of his exuberant style with his own compositions Safari (october 1952), Quicksilver (october 1952), Horoscope (october 1952) and Opus De Funk (november 1953). The latter also gave a name to his solid beat influenced by gospel and rhythm'n'blues. He formed the quintet with Art Blakey that started the bebop revolution by recording Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (1955), to which Silver contributed most of the tracks, particularly the hard-driving, gospel-ish The Preacher (february 1955), but also Doodlin' (november 1954) and Room 608 (november 1954), as well as Nica's Dream (april 1956), containing his catchy, propulsive, Latin-tinged twelve-minute Nica's Dream. Then he launched his own quintet of piano, trumpet, tenor saxophone, bass and drums, to concentrate on what he liked: a bluesy piano style and a sound that borrowed as much from rhythm'n'blues as from jazz. The foundations of the line-up of Silver's Blue (july 1956) was the Jazz Messengers without Blakey, jamming fluently in Shootin' Out and Silver's Blue. The line-up evolved via Six Pieces of Silver (november 1956), containing Senor Blues (that became a hit) and featuring tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, Stylings of Silver (may 1957), featuring Art Farmer on trumpet and Hank Mobley on tenor saxophone, and containing Home Cookin' and Metamorphosis, Further Explorations (january 1958), featuring Clifford Jordan on tenor sax and containing the eleven-minute jam Moon Rays, Safari and Melancholy Mood, Finger Poppin' (january 1959), that established the partnership between trumpeter Blue Mitchell and tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, and contained Swingin' the Samba, Juicy Lucy, Come on Home and Cookin' at the Continental. Blowin' the Blues Away (september 1959) contained another exotic number, Baghdad Blues, and a wide stylistic excursus, from the ballad Peace to the driving Break City to the gospel-y Sister Sadie. The playing got even tighter on subsequent releases, that boasted the twelve-minute jam Sayonara Blues, off Tokyo Blues (july 1962), and the nine-minute jam Silver's Serenade, off Silver's Serenade (may 1963). This quintet peaked on the exotic Song For My Father (october 1964), that included Calcutta Cutie, but the most famous tracks from that album, the bossanova Song For My Father (his signature tune), Que Pasa and The Natives Are Restless, were already recorded by a new quintet with Joe Henderson on tenor sax. Woody Shaw on trumpet (who was much more compromised with the avantgarde than previous Silver members) and James "J.J." Johnson on trombone featured on The Cape Verdean Blues (october 1965), perhaps Silver's best album, that further enhanced his fusion of soul, funk and Latin music while adopting a more experimental stance, especially in The Cape Verdean Blues, but also in Nutville, Bonita, The African Queen, the waltzing Pretty Eyes. Unfortunately, The Jody Grind (november 1966), with Shaw, Tyrone Washington on tenor sax and James Spaulding on alto sax (and flute), did not continue in that experimental direction but retreated back to Silver's trademark party-oriented funk-soul-jazz with The Jody Grind, Mexican Hip Dance and the aggressive Grease Peace. Serenade to a Soul Sister (march 1968), with new line-up fronted by trumpeter Charles Tolliver, was even more upbeat, indulging in the funk hyperdrive of Psychedelic Sally, the exotic grooves of Rain Dance and Jungle Juice and the Serenade to a Soul Sister. Trumpeter Randy Brecker and drummer Billy Cobham on drums joined for You Gotta Take A Little Love (january 1969), but Silver's music was now rather outdated. In 1970 he inaugurated a series of recordings under the moniker "The United States Of Mind" that included his own spiritual lyrics. The decade ended with a double LP that summarized the whole concept: The Music of the Spheres (december 1979), a five-movement suite for his quintet (featuring fluegelhornist Tom Harrell and tenor saxophonist Larry Schneider), a string orchestra, harp and four vocalists. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

The myth of Charlie Parker spawned the careers of several alto saxophonists in the hard-bop era.


Alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, who had played with Miles Davis (1957), made a number of interesting recordings in 1958 (Somethin' Else in march with the supergroup of Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Sam Jones and Art Blakey; the nine-part four-movement suite on folk themes for jazz quartet Alabama Concerto in august 1958; Things Are Getting Better in october with Milt Jackson on vibes, Wynton Kelly on piano, Percy Heath on bass and Art Blakey on drums) and 1959 (Cannonball and Coltrane in february, that featured the Miles Davis Sextet minus Davis) before forming his own quintet in 1959 with his younger brother, cornetist Nat, bassist Sam Jones and pianist Bobby Timmons. After a couple of hits, Bobby Timmons' This Here (october 1959) and Nat Adderley's Work Song (march 1960), the additions of pianist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist/flutist Yusef Lateef turned it into a sextet, that debuted with In New York (1962) and had two more hits, Nat Adderley's The Jive Samba (february 1962) and Joe Zawinul's Mercy Mercy Mercy (july 1966), besides pioneering jazz-funk in Roebuck Staple's Why Am I Treated So Bad (july 1967). Influenced by Charlie Parker and faithful to the blues, Adderley was a transitional player who tried to find a sense of balance in a (stylistically) turbulent age. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Phil Woods, a white alto saxophonist, made several recordings in a shamelessly Parker-ian vein before organizing the octet (including trombonist Curtis Fuller, baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab, French horn player Julius Watkins, pianist Tommy Flanagan) that performed his five-movement suite Rights Of Swing (january 1961). Another experimental project, the European Rhythm Machine, a piano quartet influenced by free jazz, debuted with The Birth (june 1968). But mostly Woods kept the bebop tradition alive with tracks such as Petite Chanson (december 1980), in a quintet with Lew Tabackin on flute, Jimmy Rowles on piano and Woods on clarinet, and Goodbye Mr Evans (january 1981), in a trio with pianist Tommy Flanagan and bassist Red Mitchell. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The most original of the hard-bob tenors might have been also the least prolific: Harold "Tina" Brooks, who died at 42 in 1974, recorded only one album as a leader, True Blue (june 1960), an electrifying session with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (on one of his earliest sessions), pianist Duke Jordan, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Art Taylor (Good Old Soul, True Blue). Minor Move (march 1958), unreleased for many years, was a straightforward hard-bop effort, counting on pianist Sonny Clark, trumpeter Lee Morgan, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Blakey ("Nutville, Minor Move). He played as if he hated every single note he played. Also an excellent composer, Brooks contributed both in style and in content to countless recordings of the hard-bop era. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


After stints with Max Roach (1953) and Dizzy Gillespie (1954), tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1955), where he soon became one of the most recognizable "sounds" of hard bop, neither torrential like Coltrane's nor mellow like Stan Getz's. A skilled composer who focused not so much on melodic themes but on thematic development (not on sudden bursts of emotion but on quiet fire), his pieces were almost always supported by top-notch ensembles. A hard-bop supergroup of vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist Horace Silver, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Blakey accompanied him on the five original compositions of All Stars (january 1957), including the ten-minute Lower Stratosphere and the lyrical Mobley's Musings. Another supergroup (Blakey, pianist Horace Silver, trumpeter Art Farmer, bassist Doug Watkins) played on the Quintet (march 1957) that contains Funk in Deep Freeze. Other formative tracks were: Hi Groove Low Feed-Back (april 1957) for a sextet with Donald Byrd on trumpet; Double Exposure (june 1957) for a sextet with Sonny Clark on piano, Bill Hardman on trumpet, Paul Chambers on bass and Art Taylor on drums; the 12-minute Gil-Go Blues, off Peckin' Time (february 1958), for a quintet with trumpeter Lee Morgan and pianist Wynton Kelly. His personal masterpiece was Soul Station (february 1960), recorded with Blakey, Chambers and pianist Wynton Kelly, containing the nine-minute title-track and Dig Dis, fluid and warm performances. Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard joined that quartet for Roll Call (november 1960) and introduced a discontinuity in the amalgam that somehow energized the ten-minute Roll Call and the nine-minute A Baptist Beat. A new quintet (with guitarist Grant Green, pianist Wynton Kelly, Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones) recorded Workout (march 1961), his second masterpiece, highlighted by two ten-minute "workouts", Workout and Uh Huh. The quintet remained his favorite format for a while, yielding the piece with his most famous solo, East of the Village (march 1963), with Donald Byrd on trumpet and Herbie Hancock on piano, No Room for Squares (october 1963), with Lee Morgan on trumpet and Andrew Hill on piano, the 18-bar blues The Turnaround (february 1965), with Hubbard, The Vamp (june 1965), with Morgan. These recordings marked a progression towards funk and soul music, a journey that reached its destination on the sextet release A Caddy for Daddy (december 1965), with trumpeter Lee Morgan, trombonist Curtis Fuller and pianist McCoy Tyner (A Caddy for Daddy, The Morning After). Mobley began experimenting with different formats, while the music was becoming more linear: Chain Reaction (june 1966), with Morgan and pianist McCoy Tyner, Bossa For Baby (may 1967), with trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Higgins. High Voltage and Bossa Deluxe, off Hi Voltage (october 1967), by a sextet with altoist Jackie McLean, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist John Hicks, were emblematic of Mobley's subtle soul-jazz fusion. As his compositions turned more austere, for example Lookin' East (january 1968), by a sextet with Woody Shaw on trumpet, Lamont Johnson on piano, George Benson on guitar, the touching Feelin' Folksy (july 1969), and the three-movement suite Thinking Of Home (july 1970) he seemed to reach for an inner dimension, but suffered a devastating physical collapse. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The slow rise to prominence by tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson coincided with the rise to popularity of the musicians whose style he assimilated. His first quintet featured trumpeter Kenny Dorham and pianist McCoy Tyner. The highlights of Page One (june 1963) were Dorham's Blue Bossa and La Mesha, besides Henderson's Recorda Me and Jinrikisha. Tyner stole the show on most tracks, but was replaced by Andrew Hill for Our Thing (september 1963), a rather uneven collection, partially rescued by Dorham's Escapade. The quality of musicianship increased dramatically on In 'n Out (april 1964), with the piano again in the hands of McCoy Tyner and with Elvin Jones on drums (both Coltrane sidemen): Henderson's In 'N Out, Punjab and Serenity were flawless hard-bop feasts enhanced with a strong Coltrane factor. That factor was even more prominent on Inner Urge (november 1964), containing Henderson's moody Inner Urge and atmospheric Isotope, and boasting spectacular saxophone and piano solos. Henderson's style had evolved towards a relatively free and somewhat incoherent interpretation of time and tone, that often resulted in jarring sequences of sounds and disorienting distortions of tempo. Almost as successful was Mode For Joe (january 1966), featuring a supergroup with trumpeter Lee Morgan, trombonist Curtis Fuller, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Joe Chambers, and containing two gems such as Henderson's A Shade of Jade and Walton's Mode For Joe. Henderson became more famous as a sideman for Horace Silver (1964-66) and Herbie Hancock (1969-70), but continued to assemble top-notch line-ups, slowly transitioning towards electric fusion: a sextet with trumpeter Mike Lawrence, trombonist Grachan Moncur III, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Louis Hayes for The Kicker (august 1967), but wasted on rather poor material; a trio for Tetragon (september 1967); a quintet with pianist Herbie Hancock, trumpeter Mike Lawrence, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Jack DeJohnette for Power To The People (may 1969), that contained Black Narcissus and the three-movement suite Foresight and Afterthought; synth-man David Horowitz, Swedish guitarist Georg Wadenius, Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira pianist George Cables, bassist Dave Holland and DeJohnette for the Miles Davis-influenced and heavily overdubbed Black Is The Color (april 1972); a quintet/sextet with guitarist James Blood Ulmer, electronic keyboardist Larry Willis, bassist Dave Holland and DeJohnette for the funky Multiple (january 1973); a sextet with violinist Michael White, bassist Charlie Haden, percussionist Kenneth Nash, an Indian table player, Alice Coltrane on piano, harp, harmonium and tamboura for the four-movement cosmic/spiritual suite The Elements (october 1973), one of his most abstract works with haunting treated saxophone; a small ensemble for Canyon Lady (october 1973), in the vein of Herbie Hancock's funk-jazz fusion with a Latin touch; Patrick Gleeson (Herbie Hancock's synthesizer) and a smooth rhythm section led by pianist Joachim Kuhn for Black Narcissus (october 1974); a synthesized string section (by producer George Duke) and a horn section, plus guitarist Lee Ritenour, bassist Ron Carter and two percussionists, for the quasi-disco Black Miracle (february 1975); a quartet with pianist Chick Corea, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Higgins for Mirror Mirror (january 1980), that contains his Joe's Bolero. He finally became a star with the live trio performances of The State of the Tenor (november 1985), on which he sounded more like Sonny Rollins. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

The trumpet counted at least five great innovators in the years between bebop and free jazz, starting with trumpeter Clifford Brown, who died very young but was a major influence on all the others with his simple, graceful phrasing that was the antithesis of bebop's jarring and convoluted phrasing.


The disjointed trumpet style of Woody Shaw was due to a deliberate strategy of employing between pentatonic scales/modes to mold solos and melodies. Shaw spent the best years of his life gracing the recordings of Horace Silver (1965) and Max Roach (1968). He had already composed Moontrane in 1965. He debuted as a leader only with the double LP Blackstone Legacy (december 1970), featuring two saxophonists, a pianist, two bassists and a drummer. The interplay in the 16-minute Blackstone Legacy, the 17-minute New World and the 14-minute Boo Ann's Grand bordered on bop, free and fusion. He changed format with every release: a sextet performed the four Shaw compositions of Song Of Songs (september 1972), a quintet accompanied him on Little Red's Fantasy (june 1976), a supergroup (Anthony Braxton on saxophones, Arthur Blythe on alto, Richard Abrams on piano, bass and drums) jammed with him in the 13-minute Song Of Songs off The Iron Men (april 1977), "concert ensembles" are featured on Rosewood (december 1977) and on the three-movement suite of Woody III (january 1979). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


During a brief association with Dizzy Gillespie (1957-58) and a long association with Art Blakey (1958-65) trumpet prodigy Lee Morgan had a chance to develop a fiery, bluesy style that came to be seen as the quintessence of hard bop. His performance on Candy (november 1957), when he was still a teenager, was hailed as a major event. Already a celebrity at 21, he could afford to cut Here's (february 1960) accompanied by a supergroup with tenor Clifford Jordan, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Blakey. That album contained his first significant compositions (Terrible T, Mogie). Suddenly, he had a hit with the lengthy title-track off Sidewinder (december 1963), one of the manifestos of soul-jazz. The album contained six Morgan originals, particularly Totem Pole. Search for the New Land (february 1964) was better, a sort of highbrow counterpart to the best-seller. Morgan's lighter side (the Sidewinder side) was overshadowed by three innovative compositions such as Search for the New Land, Melancholee and Mr Kenyatta, that took advantage of a stellar combo with tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist Grant Green, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Billy Higgins. Morgan had matured as a composer, but his recordings focused on the lighter side, such as Ceora, off Cornbread (september 1965), and Ca-Lee-So, off Delightfulee (may 1966), rather than on the experimental side (influenced by modal improvisation and free jazz). The latter was best represented by the eleven-minute title-track of The Gigolo (july 1965) and the nine-minute title-track of Cornbread (1965), that featured Hancock, Jackie McLean on alto and Hank Mobley on tenor. Some of his best recordings weren't even released, such as Infinity (november 1965) with McLean, pianist Larry Willis, Workman and Higgins, or the eight-minute The Procrastinator (july 1967) with Hancock, Shorter, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, pianist Ron Carter and Higgins. Morgan was killed in 1972 at the age of 34. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The natural heir to Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan was another prodigy, Freddie Hubbard, whose pedigree included Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz (1960), several albums with Art Blakey (1961-66), also composing Up Jumped Spring (march 1962), several albums with Herbie Hancock (1962-65), Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch (1964), and John Coltrane's Ascension (1965). His trumpet style wed crisp melodic outbursts and languid bluesy tones, making it a perfect instrument for the kind of slick fusion that became popular after Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. He had debuted as a leader at 22 with Open Sesame (june 1960), by a quintet with tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Clifford Jarvis that shone on Brooks' Open Sesame and Gypsy Blue and Hubbard's Hub's Nub (april 1961). Similar all-star groups had helped him out on Goin' Up (november 1960) featuring Hank Mobley on tenor, Tyner, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums, and contained Blues For Brenda, while Hub Cap (april 1961), a sextet session with tenor-saxophonist Jimmy Heath, trombonist Julian Priester and pianist Cedar Walton, had yielded Hub Cap. Ready For Freddie (august 1961) by a sextet with tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Tyner, bassist Art Davis, drummer Elvin Jones and Bernard McKinney on euphonium, had already displayed Hubbard at his best (Birdlike and Crisis), but more experimental compositions surfaced on the following, less famous, recordings: Bob's Place and Seventh Day (july 1962), off Artistry, by a sextet with trombonist Curtis Fuller, tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Art Davis and drummer Louis Hayes; Lament for Booker and Hub Tones (october 1962), off Hub-Tones, by a quintet with James Spaulding on alto and flute, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Clifford Jarvis; Aries and Thermo (march 1963), off The Body And The Soul, by a larger ensemble featuring Wayne Shorter, Eric Dolphy and Cedar Walton; Breaking Point and Far Away (may 1964), off Breaking Point, by a quintet with James Spaulding on alto and flute, pianist Ronnie Matthews, bassist Eddie Khan and drummer Joe Chambers; Blue Spirits and Outer Forces (february 1965), off Blue Spirits, for a septet with Spaulding, tenor Hank Mobley, euphonium player Kiane Zawadi, McCoy Tyner on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Pete La Roca on drums; Little Sunflower (october 1966), off Backlash; High Blues Pressure and For B.P., off High Blues Pressure (november 1967), with Spaulding, tenor saxophonist Bennie Maupin, pianist Kenny Barron, Kiane Zawadi on euphonium, Howard Johnson on tuba.
The conversion to jazz-rock began with The Black Angel (may 1969), particularly the 17-minute Spacetrack, a jam highlighted by Spaulding, Workman and Barron. The new, lush style was consolidated on Red Clay (january 1970), by a quintet featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lenny White, in lengthy, dynamic and fluid tracks such as Red Clay and The Intrepid Fox. The 17-minute Straight Life, off Straight Life (november 1970), featuring Henderson, Hancock, guitarist George Benson, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Jack DeJohnette, was the natural evolution of that chamber-jazz sound. The band (essentially the same line-up without Henderson and with Airto Moreira) for First Light (september 1971) played even more electric, and the sound, arranged for chamber orchestra by Don Sebesky, was even more baroque, but the material was inferior, with only First Light worthy of its predecessors. The 15-minute Povo, on Sky Dive (october 1972), retained only Benson and Carter, adding Hubert Laws on flute, Keith Jarrett on piano and Billy Cobham on drums (and a horn section to provide the lush ambience). The four jams of Keep Your Soul Together (october 1973), instead, were performed "only" by a septet of less prestigious players (Keep Your Soul Together, Spirits Of Trane). But mostly he recorded trivial fusion jazz for lounges. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Another hard-bop musician who eventually adopted Miles Davis' electric language was trumpeter Donald Byrd, who had started out with diligent hard-bop workouts such as The Long Two Four off Pepper Adams' 10 to 4 at the Five-Spot (april 1958), Down Tempo, on Off to the Races (1958), with altoist Jackie McLean, pianist Wynton Kelly, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor, the 11-minute Funky Mama, off Fuego (1959), Here Am I, off Byrd in Hand (1959), and Free Form, from Free Form (1961), in a quintet with tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock.
After the innovative A New Perspective (january 1963), for hard-bop septet (with tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Herbie Hancock) and gospel choir (Elijah, Beast of Burden), Byrd veered towards a funk-jazz sound that was heavily influenced by Miles Davis, and characterized by a prominent role for Duke Pearson's electric piano, longer (Byrd-composed) tracks and lush arrangements: Fancy Free, off Fancy Free (1969), Estavianco and Essence, off Electric Byrd (1970), The Emperor and The Little Rasti, off Ethiopian Knights (1971), perhaps the best of this phase.
However, Black Byrd (april 1972) was a commercial sell-out that opted for a more trivial format, with shorter songs (none composed by Byrd) and funky rhythms: Byrd's trumpet had become a mere ingredient in the stew concocted by producer, arranger and composer Larry Mizell. Mizell was the brain behind the concept album Street Lady (june 1973), that introduced a strong element of soul music, the ethnic and electronic Stepping into Tomorrow (december 1974), and the orchestral Places and Spaces (august 1975), that spawned the disco hit Change. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Richard "Blue" Mitchell, the trumpet of Horace Silver's quintet (1958-64), represented the "mainstream" version of hard bop with albums such as Big Six (july 1958), in a sextet with sextet with trombonist Curtis Fuller, tenor great Johnny Griffin, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Philly Joe Jones, featuring a ten-minute version of Benny Golson's Blues March, or Out Of The Blue (january 1959), in quintets with tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, pianists Wynton Kelly and Cedar Walton, bassists Paul Chambers and Sam Jones and drummer Art Blakey, highlighted by Golson's Blues on My Mind. He matured as an arranger and composer on The Thing To Do (july 1964), in a quintet with Chick Corea on piano. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


St Louis-based trumpeter Clark Terry, who had played with Count Basie (1948-51) and Duke Ellington (1951-59), revealed his joyful personality with the hard-bop romp of Clark Terry (january 1955), featuring drummer Art Blakey, pianist Horace Silver and cellist Oscar Pettiford among others. He matured as a composer on Serenade to a Bus Seat (april 1957), in a quintet with tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. He then shifted to the flugelhorn and crafted In Orbit (may 1958), in a quartet with pianist Thelonious Monk, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Eccentric combinations such as Top and Bottom Brass (february 1959), in a quintet with tuba and piano, led to his most sophisticated album, Color Changes (november 1960), for an octet with tenor saxophone, assorted reeds (Yusef Lateef), piano (Tommy Flanagan), trombone, French horn, bass and drums. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Mal Waldron, who had played, notably, on Charles Mingus' Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956), was a hard-bop pianist in the philosophical tradition of Thelonious Monk. His early recordings, Mal-1 (november 1956), Mal-2 (may 1957), accompanied by the likes of John Coltrane and Jackie McLean, with Potpourri, Mal-3 Sounds (january 1958), with trumpter Art Farmer and drummer Elvin Jones (besides flute, cello, bass), boasting longer and deeper compositions (Tension, Ollie's Caravan and Portrait Of A Young Mother, with wordless vocals), Left Alone (february 1959), with Minor Pulsation and featuring a quartet with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, Impressions (march 1959), with the three-movement Overseas Suite for a simple piano-bass-drums trio, slowly introduced his trademark: an intimate sense of anguish. Waldron reached his artistic peak with The Quest (june 1961), featuring alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy, tenor-saxophonist Booker Ervin and cellist Ron Carter (plus bass and drums), a cycle of seven pensive Waldron sonatas bookended by Status Seeking and Fire Waltz. After relocating to Europe in 1965, the prolific Waldron adopted an enigmatic and minimalist style that was hardly "jazz", both in his albums of piano solos, such as The Opening (november 1970), containing Sieg Haile, and in the numerous trio and quartet sessions, such as The Call (february 1971), with the side-long jam The Call for an organ-based quartet, the trio Number 19 (may 1971), the four solo improvisations of Signals (august 1971), the three improvisations for trio of The Whirling Dervish (may 1972), Up Popped the Devil (december 1973), perhaps the best of the period, thanks to bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Billy Higgins, and to the challenging material (Up Popped the Devil, Snake Out, Changachangachang), What It Is (november 1981), with tenorist Clifford Jordan, bassist Cecil McBee and a drummer (Charlie Parker's Last Supper, Hymn for the Inferno, What It Is), One Entrance Many Exits (january 1982), with tenorist Joe Henderson, bassist David Friesen and Higgins (Golden Golson, One Entrance Many Exits, Blues in 4 by 3), the solo Evidence (march 1988), with the two Rhapsodic Interludes, Crowd Scene (june 1989), two side-long improvisations for a double-sax quintet, Where Are You (june 1989), with the 22-minute Waltz for Marianne for the same quintet. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Los Angeles' trumpeter Art Farmer, a veteran of Lionel Hampton (1952-53), Oscar Pettiford (1956-57), Horace Silver (1957) and Gerry Mulligan (1958), had debuted as a leader with his Septet (july 1953), upon settling in New York. His favorite vehicle was the two-horn quintet, as on Farmer's Market (november 1956), featuring tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and drummer Elvin Jones, on the two 10" EPs of When Farmer Met Gryce (may 1954 and may 1955), both with alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce (who composed all the music) and the first one featuring the rhythm section of Horace Silver (piano), Percy Heath (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums), and on another quintet with Gryce, Evening In Casablanca (october 1955). Last Night When We Were Young (march 1957), arranged for string orchestra by Quincy Jones, and Portrait (may 1958), for a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, Addison Farmer and drummer Roy Haynes, led to his partnership with arranger Benny Golson, that began with Modern Art (september 1958) and Brass Shout (april 1959) for a tentet. After Aztec Suite (november 1959), containing Chico O'Farrill's 16-minute Aztec Suite for Latin big band, Farmer joined Golson's Jazztet, but continued producing music with his own quartets. Art (september 1960), with Tommy Flanagan on piano, was already ethereal by the standards of hard-bop, but the real breakthrough in sound came with Perception (october 1961) and Listen to Art Farmer and the Orchestra (september 1962), arranged by Oliver Nelson for big band, that emphasized his lyrical style at the flugelhorn. By switching instrument, Farmer had also changed the mood of hard bop. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Abbey Lincoln was the voice of this era. She was also one of the first explicitly political voices of jazz music. Her early collections of covers were mainly noteworthy for the cast of instrumentalists. That's Him (october 1957) featured tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, trumpeter Kenny Dorham, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer (and husband) Max Roach. It's Magic (august 1958) had trumpeters Kenny Dorham and Art Farmer, trombonist Curtis Fuller, tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones and others. Abbey Is Blue (march 1959) contained her first composition. Her voice and her message blossomed in the following years on Max Roach's albums. By the time she cut Straight Ahead (february 1961) with tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, flutist Eric Dolphy, pianist Mal Waldron, Roach and others, her voice had become one of the most sophisticated instruments or her era. After a long hiatus, she returned a more mature composer with People In Me (june 1973) and Golden Lady (february 1980), despite boasting much humbler casts. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The mellow tones and linear melodies of Indianapolis' guitarist Wes Montgomery were almost the antithesis of of bebop's aesthetic. Compared with Charlie Christian and Kenny Burrell, he had neither the dynamics of the former nor the ambition of the latter. His rare compositions were short and to the point: Jingles, off The Wes Montgomery Trio (october 1959), West Coast Blues and Four on Six on The Incredible Jazz Guitar (january 1960), by a quartet with pianist Tommy Flanagan, Twisted Blues, off So Much Guitar (august 1961), by a quintet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Ron Carter and the congas of Ray Barretto, Blues Riff, off Portrait (october 1963). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Bud Powell-influenced pianist Duke Pearson was one of hard-bop's main composers, thanks to Jeannine, off Bags Groove (august 1961), Cristo Redentor for Donald Byrd's A New Perspective (january 1963), the memorable Idle Moments and Nomad for Grant Green's Idle Moments (november 1963), Amanda and Bedouin for his own best album, Wahoo (november 1964). Pearson was shifting towards soul-jazz, albeit in a classy and brainy way, as proven by his mature albums of original compositions for larger ensembles: Sweet Honey Bee (december 1966), that featured a sextet with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, alto saxophonist James Spaulding and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, and The Right Touch (september 1967), for an octet with Hubbard, Spaulding and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Mingus


The art of double bass player Charlie Mingus was rooted in the same general rediscovery of blues and gospel music as hard bop, but Mingus stood out for his highbrow studies on group improvisation and jazz composition. His music was schizophrenic in that it both harked back to the New Orleans roots of jazz and looked forward to progressive chamber jazz and "third stream" jazz. His compositions ranged wildly in mood and dynamics, from puntillistic counterpoint to massive Wagner-ian explosions. He rarely employed great soloists, preferring dedicated session-men to stars with a strong personality, another way of emphasizing the compositional versus the improvisational nature of his art. Mingus was the first jazz musician since Ellington who could compete with classical composers. A proud intellectual, he publicly despised the decadent habits of many jazz stars and even the barbaric attitude of the jazz audience (compared with the audience of classical music). A precursor of indie music, Mingus founded his own label (1952) to avoid the commercial pressure of the major labels.
Raised in Los Angeles, he was also a rare specimen in a jazz world that was increasingly centered around New York. A child prodigy, he composed a challenging Half-Mast Inhibition (1941) when he was just 19 years old. He cut his teeth with Louis Armstrong (1942) and Lionel Hampton (1947-48), but had little in common with the swing era. He first displayed his true persona in a trio formed in 1950 by xylophonist Kenneth "Red Norvo" Norville with guitarist Tal Farlow. Moving to New York, he mixed with the bebop avantgarde, playing a famous date with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Max Roach, immortalized on Jazz at Nassey Hall (may 1953). He also appered on records by Bud Powell (1953), Charlie Parker (1953) and Paul Bley (1953).
He established himself as one of jazz music's main visionaries with Pithecanthropus Erectus (january 1956), recorded by a quintet that featured Jackie McLean on alto sax, Mal Waldron on piano, a tenor saxophonist and a drummer. The highlight of the album was the ten-minute four-movement tone poem Pithecanthropus Erectus (partially free-form), that influenced the birth of free jazz, but the album also contained a 15-minute Love Chant, a moody and cryptic suite that confirmed his narrative gift, and an eight-minute version of Gershwin's A Foggy Day turned into a mini-symphony of city noises (all simulated by the instruments).
The quintet session of The Clown (march 1957) debuted Dannie Richmond on drums and Jimmy Knepper on trombone. The twelve-minute Haitian Fight Song was another tour de force of dynamics, albeit rooted in the polyphony of New Orleans' street bands (also a bassist's tour de force), matched by the closing The Clown, while Reincarnation of a Lovebird was an eight-minute tribute to bebop and to the tragedy of his greatest icon (Charlie Parker).
Tijuana Moods (june 1957), with even a vocalist and castanets, contained two ten-minute compositions that overflowed with intricate sonic events, Ysabel's Table Dance and Los Mariachis. And the list of extended experiments started growing rapidly: the ten-minute West Coast Ghost for a sax-trumpet-trombone-piano sextet, off East Coasting (august 1957), the eleven-minute Scenes In The City for jazz ensemble and narrating voice, off Scenes In The City (october 1957), the twelve-minute Nostalgia in Times Square for alto-tenor-piano quintet, off Jazz Portraits (january 1959).
Blues and Roots (february 1959) was, instead, a post-modernist tribute to the sound of New Orleans, an exercise in disassembling the cliches of a genre and rebuilding it from an analytic perspective (best the gospel-y Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and the bluesy Moanin'). None of the exuberance was lost, but the harmonic complexity was certainly not what the old New Orleans bands had in mind. Basically, it was an entire album of pieces similar to the previous Haitian Fight Song.
More tributes to his idols surfaced on another accessible set, Mingus Ah Um (may 1959), scored for septet. Better Get Hit in Yo' Soul was still in the gospel vein of its predecessor, while Goodbye Pork Pie Hat was a moving elegy for Lester Young and other pieces were dedicated to Charlie Parker, Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington. The longer Fables of Faubus was one of his first forays into politics.
After Dynasty (november 1959), that recycled the same ideas, Mingus formed a quartet with Richmond, trumpeter Ted Curson and saxophonist Eric Dolphy to record Presents Charles Mingus (october 1960). Folk Forms No. 1 expanded his revisitation of New Orleans into a dreamy and sometimes nightmarish twelve-minute jam, while the 15-minute What Love adopted the anarchic stance of free jazz and a "conversational" approach to the double bass. After all, Mingus' quartet was modeled after Ornette Coleman's quartet that had inaugurated free jazz.
Other experiments of these years were the 20-minute MDM for an eleven-piece ensemble (featuring Dolphy and Paul Bley on piano), off Mingus (october 1960), Peggy's Blue Skylight (november 1961), and especially Epitaph (1962), his most ambitious score, first documented on the Town Hall Concert (october 1962) but fully reconstructed (two hours long) only posthumously in 1989.
Oh Yeah (november 1961) explored a different facet of Mingus' persona: the dadaist joker. Scored for a sextet with Knepper, Richmond, Mingus on piano, Doug Watkins on bass, Booker Ervin on tenor sax and Roland Kirk on flute and other instruments, mid-size pieces such as Hog Callin' Blues, Devil Woman, Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me and Ecclusiastics took the postmodernist approach of Blues and Roots to an almost parodistic and paroxysmal extreme, while Passions Of A Man was again flirting with noise. It was a deviant form of traditional jazz, that kept intact the envelope while scientifically demolishing the interior.
The narrative dynamic typical of Mingus' extended works is the essence of The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (january 1963), ostensibly a six-movement ballet (divided into three "tracks" and three "modes") for big band (the three modes were squeezed into a single 17-minute track on the vinyl version), and one of the masterpieces of 20th century's music. Scored for an orchestra of two trumpets, trombone, tuba, flute, baritone sax, guitar, alto (Charlie Mariano), piano (Jaki Byard), bass and drums, and painstakingly assembled by Mingus (even overdubbing several passages), it was, by definition, an exercise in colors: Mingus juxtaposed groups of instruments to maximize the contrast of tones, while using a shifting dynamic to lure ever-changing textures out of that jarring counterpoint. The resulting music was highly emotional, bordering on neurotic, merging the ancestral frustration of black slaves with the modern alienation of the urban middle class. The sense of universal tragedy was increased by the facts that instruments were clearly simulating human voices, whether the joyful singing of Mariano's sax or the sorrowful murmur of trumpet and trombone or the ghostly howls of tuba and baritone sax. The story opens with the bleak Track A - Solo Dancer, slides into the orchestral Track B - Duet Solo Dancers (reminiscent of Ellington) and delves into the melodic fantasy of Track C - Group Dancers, with piano and flute sculpting the leitmotiv. The "modes", Mode D - Trio And Group Dancers, Mode E - Single Solos And Group Dance and Mode F - Group And Solo Dance, wed hard bop, classical music and flamenco.
After a work of so much depth and class, Mingus paid tribute to himself on Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (september 1963), a revisitation of his popular themes, and toyed with the piano on Mingus Plays Piano (june 1963). The 1964 sextet with Eric Dolphy (also Clifford Jordan on tenor sax, Jaki Byard on piano, Johnny Coles on trumpet) yielded extended live jams such as Parkeriana, Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress Then Blue Silk Meditations on Integration, and So Long Eric, all of them included on The Great Concert of Charles Mingus (april 1964).
Teo Macero helped Mingus assemble the orchestra for Let My Children Hear Music (october 1971), his most daring attempt at fusing two such antithetical forms of art as classical music and free jazz. The program (The Shoes Of The Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers, the intricate (albeit improvised) Adagio Ma Non Troppo, Don't Be Afraid The Clown's Afraid Too, the breathtaking Hobo Ho, The Chill Of Death with narrating voice, The I Of Hurricane Sue) was as frantic as a Charles Ives symphony and as massive as a Wagner opera.
His last major composition were: Opus III (october 1973) for quintet (George Adams on tenor, Don Pullen on piano), Sue's Changes (december 1974) for quintet (George Adams on tenor, Don Pullen on piano, Jack Walrath on trumpet), Todo Modo (april 1976) for large ensemble, Cumbia & Jazz Fusion (march 1977) for large ensemble.
As a bassist, Mingus had developed a style that turned the instrument into something like a piano, capable of playing both the bass rhythm and the countermelody. But his achievements as a virtuoso pale compared with his achievements as a composer. A brain that was both an encyclopedia of jazz music and a laboratory of genetic synthesis had yielded the first great postmodernist artist of jazz. Mingus died in january 1979. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

White Hard Bop


Jackie McLean was the only alto saxophonist to create a personal style based on the spirit of Charlie Parker's accomplishments. After accompanying Sonny Rollins (1948), Miles Davis (1949), Charles Mingus (1956) and Art Blakey (1956), McLean refined his hard-bop style through a series of intriguing collaborations: his 13-minute composition Lights Out (january 1956), in a quintet with trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Elmo Hope, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor, an extended cover of Charlie Parker's Confirmation (july 1956), featuring a sextet with trumpeter Donald Byrd and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, his 10-minute piece Mc Lean's Scene (december 1956), in a quintet with trumpeter Bill Hardman, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and Taylor, Beau Jack (february 1957), with Mal Waldron on piano, Hardman, Watkins and Taylor, the 20-minute jam A Long Drink of the Blues (august 1957), featuring trombonist Curtis Fuller, trumpeter Webster Young, pianist Gil Coggins, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Louis Hayes.
McLean's style began to depart from standard hard bop on New Soil (may 1959), that displayed Ornette Coleman's influence in his Hip Strut and Minor Apprehension for a piano-trumpet quintet, on Jackie's Bag (september 1960), with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, pianist Kenny Drew, Chambers and Taylor, that included two exotic pieces (his Appointment in Ghana and Tina Brooks' Isle of Java, one of the few survivors of a legendary session for the Living Theater), and on Bluesnik (january 1961), in a quintet with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and pianist Kenny Drew, devoted to blues pieces composed by McLean (such as the title-track). The "crying" style of his alto on Let Freedom Ring (march 1962), accompanied by piano, bass and drums, was the direct link between hard bop and free jazz. Its four lengthy jams (including Melody for Melonae, Rene, Omega,) unleashed all the emotion and creativity that had been constrained on the previous albums. The even more atmospheric One Step Beyond (april 1963), for a quintet with trombone (Grachan Moncur) and vibraphone (Bobby Hutcherson), merged blues, hard bop and modal improvisation into a new kind of chamber jazz, particularly in Moncour's Frankenstein and Ghost Town and in McLean's Saturday and Sunday. The same idea and line-up (although with a different rhythm section) were repeated on Destination Out (september 1963), and at least Moncour's Esoteric and McLean's Kahlil the Prophet managed to further improve the disorienting sensation of musicians playing with no proper leader. McLean fully adopted the "free" idiom on It's Time (august 1964), in a new quintet with trumpeter Charles Tolliver and pianist Herbie Hancock, and Action (september 1964), with Bobby Hutcherson's vibraphone replacing the piano. Ornette Coleman in person played trumpet for McLean on the side-long four-movement suite Lifeline, off New and Old Gospel (march 1967), his most complex composition ever. The free-jazz period ended with Bout Soul (september 1967), with Moncur, Woody Shaw on trumpet, piano, bass and drums (Rashied Ali), because Demon's Dance (december 1967), without Moncour but with Jack DeJohnette on drums, was already a more traditional work. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Detroit's white baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams represented the more aggressive side of hard-bop, especially if compared with the other famous baritonist of the era, Gerry Mulligan. His recordings include: The Cool Sound (november 1957), in a quintet with piano, euphonium, bass and drums (Elvin Jones); 10 to 4 at the Five-Spot (april 1958), in a classic quintet with trumpeter Donald Byrd (the quintet's co-leader to whom all their albums were credited except this one), pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Elvin Jones; Stardust (1960), in a sextet with Byrd, guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers and a drummer; Encounter (december 1968), in a quintet with tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Ron Carter and Jones.


At the turn of the decade the quintet and quartet sessions of Philadelphia's tenor saxophonist Benny Golson introduced a number of hard-bop talents, who benefited from Golson's talent in composing bluesy ballads. New York Scene (october 1957), with the soulful Whisper Not, featured trumpeter Art Farmer, pianist Wynton Kelly and bassist Paul Chambers. The Modern Touch (december 1957), with the eleven-minute Blues On Down, had Kelly, Chambers, trumpeter Kenny Dorham and drummer Max Roach. The Other Side (november 1958) debuted trombonist Curtis Fuller and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Fuller remained for Gone (june 1959), with Blues After Dark, Groovin' (august 1959), with the lengthy My Blues House and Stroller and the stellar rhythm section of pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Blakey, Gettin' With It (december 1959), with the lengthy Bub Hurd's Blues and a new rhythm section of pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor, and the fascinating experiment of Take a Number from 1 to 10 (december 1960), whose ten numbers are interpreted by progressively larger groups, starting with a sax solo and ending with Time for a tentet (including trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and pianist Cedar Walton). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Propelled by Golson's compositions and arrangements, Benny Golson's major project, the Jazztet, became the mainstream hard-bop experience of the early 1960s. The line-up for Meet The Jazztet (february 1960), containing Blues March (already recorded in 1958 by trumpeter Blue Mitchell) and Killer Joe, featured three outstanding horn players, with trombonist Curtis Fuller and trumpeter Art Farmer, and a rhythm section with pianist McCoy Tyner. Big City Sounds (september 1960) retained only Farmer and Golson and replaced Tyner with Cedar Walton. Walton left and trombonist Grachan Moncur joined for Here And Now (march 1962) and Another Git Together (june 1962). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Detroit's white guitarist Kenny Burrell was the premiere hard bop guitarist, although his gentle, pensive style evolved towards a more abstract form of music. The sound was carefully calibrated on the combination of guitar style, line-up and original Burrell compositions: Fugue 'N Blues on Introducing Kenny Burrell (may 1956), with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Kenny Clarke conga player Candido; the 17-minute All Night Long on All Night Long (december 1956), with trumpeter Donald Byrd, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, flutist Jerome Richardson, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor; the 18-minute All Day Long on All Day Long (january 1957), with Byrd, tenor saxophonist Frank Foster, Flanagan, Watkins and Taylor. Perhaps his definitive testament was Blue Lights (may 1958), accompanied by trumpet, tenor, piano, bass (Sam Jones) and drums (Art Blakey), that contained Yes Baby and Rock Salt (with the addition of Tina Brooks on tenor) and Phinupi (without Brooks). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Hard Bop Big Bands


The format of the big band was kept alive in the hard-bop era mainly by black trumpeter Thad Jones, who had played in Count Basie's Orchestra from 1954 till 1963. He teamed up with white drummer Mel Lewis, who had played in Stan Kenton's orchestra from 1954 till 1957, and formed a big band in 1966. Jones provided their signature tunes and the arrangements: Mean What You Say (may 1966) on the first album, A Child Is Born on their best album, Consummation (may 1970), and Central Park North (july 1969) from the eponymous album. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The other major big band of the hard-bop era was led by Los Angeles-based white Canadian trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, a former member of Stan Kenton's orchestra. His Birdland Dream Band (formed in 1956) sounded like a simplified and less bombastic version of Kenton's orchestra, with music composed and arranged by tenor saxophonist Bill Holman.

Soul Jazz


A side-effect of hard bop was to legitimize the fusion of jazz and soul music. This sub-genre in turn opened the doors of jazz music to the most glorious of soul's instruments: the Hammond organ, with its rough, distorted sound (particularly the model introduced in 1955). The pioneer of jazz organ had been "Wild" Bill Davis, who in 1950 had organized the first of his organ-guitar-drums trios. In Philadelphia Jimmy Smith simply copied Bill Davis' style, but with one hand imitating the solos of horn players. After debuting with the spotty A New Sound A New Star (february 1956) and beginning to compose his material on The Champ (march 1956), Smith matured on The Sermon (february 1958), a tour de force that contained two monster jams: J.O.S. (august 1957), in a trio with altoist George Coleman and trumpeter Lee Morgan, and especially the 20-minute The Sermon (Morgan, altoist Lou Donaldson, tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, guitarist Kenny Burrell, drummer Art Blakey). Most of his recordings were lame collections of covers, but originals such as Open House (march 1960) and Plain Talk (march 1960), performed with altoist Jackie McLean, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, guitarist Quentin Warren and tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec, laid the groundwork for the new, improved sound of Back at the Chicken Shack (april 1960), featuring Burrell and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, and containing two more extended Smith gems: Back at the Chicken Shack and Messy Bessy. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Philadelphia soon became the epicenter of soul-jazz organ, Jimmy McGriffin being the most commercially successful.


After working with saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, notably in his hit In the Kitchen (june 1958), Shirley Scott, also based in Philadelphia, became one of the leading soul-jazz organists of the 1960s (with strong gospel and blues accents), overcoming the genre's limits at least in the eleven-minute Chapped Chops, off Workin' (may 1958) for a piano-guitar quintet, and the nine-minute Blues For Tyrone, off Soul Sister (june 1960) for a quartet with vibraphone. The quartet date of Hip Soul (june 1961) began the collaboration with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine (her husband) that would peak on Blue Flames (march 1964). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Pittsburgh's tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine worked with Jimmy Smith (1960) and his wife Shirley Scott (1961) before starting his own career with the soul-jazz jams of Let's Groove, off The Man (january 1960), in a quartet with pianist and drummer Max Roach Little Sheri, off Look Out (june 1960), in another piano-based quartet, Z.T.'s Blues, off Z.T.'s Blues (september 1961), in a quintet with guitarist Grant Green, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor. Turrentine also wrote several compositions for his wife, organist Shirley Scott: Hip Soul on Hip Soul (june 1961), The Soul Is Willing on The Soul Is Willing (january 1963), Deep Down Soul on Soul Shoutin' (october 1963), The Hustler, off Hustlin' (january 1964), in a quintet with Scott and guitarist Kenny Burrell, etc. Turrentine later veered towards to commercial fusion with groove-driven pieces such as Get It, off Another Story (march 1969), in a quintet with Thad Jones on flugelhorn and Cedar Walton on piano, the ten-minute Sugar, off Sugar (november 1970), in a sextet with guitarist George Benson, pianist Lonnie Liston Smith, and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and Don't Mess With Mister T, off Don't Mess With Mister T (march 1973). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


St Louis' guitarist Grant Green played with the pathos and lyricism of a saxophonist. Initially, he created a unique bebop, blues and soul fusion on Grant's First Stand (january 1961) for a drum-less organ-guitar-bass trio, Green Street (april 1961) for a guitar-bass-drums trio and containing the ten-minute Green With Envy, and Grantstand (jauary 1961), in a bass-less quartet with tenor saxophonist and flutist Yusef Lateef and organist Jack McDuff, and containing the 15-minute Blues in Maude's Flat. He then embarked in lengthy jams of modal improvisation on Idle Moments (november 1963), featuring pianist Duke Pearson, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and highlighted by Pearson's Idle Moments, Matador (may 1964), in a quartet with John Coltrane's pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones, and Solid (june 1964), that added James Spaulding on alto saxophone and Joe Henderson on tenor. He then joined organist Larry Young and Jones in a trio that debuted with Talkin' About (september 1964). TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


Larry Young had begun to play the electric organ in the soul-jazz manner pioneered by Jimmy Smith with jams such as the ten-minute Testifying, off Testifying (august 1960), and the 14-minute Gettin' Into It, off Groove Street (february 1962), but soon switched to a modal style on Into Somethin' (november 1964), by a quartet with tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers, guitarist Grant Green and drummer Elvin Jones, progressing via the inferior Unity (november 1965), with saxophonist Joe Henderson, trumpeter Woody Shaw, and drummer Elvin Jones, towards the trio with guitarist Grant Green and drummer Elvin Jones that represented the mature stage of his post-soul phase. After Of Love and Peace (july 1966) and Contrasts (september 1967), Young began another turnabout, this time towards fusion jazz on Heaven On Earth (february 1968) with a quintet featuring alto saxophonist Byard Lancaster and guitarist George Benson. After playing on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew (1969), Young was hired by Tony Williams for his Lifetime trio and turned to funk-jazz-rock fusion in earnest. Mother Ship (february 1969), unreleased till 1980, and Lawrence of Newark (1973), the first albums entirely composed by him, included elements of all his phases. TM, ®, Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


White organist Charles Earland was the heir to Philadelphia's school of soul-jazz in the era of jazz-rock due to his lightweight, poppy romps, such as Here Comes Charlie, off Black Talk (december 1969), for a sextet, Key Club Cookout, off Living Black (september 1970), featuring saxophonist Grover Washington, Cause I Love Her, off Intensity (february 1972), featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, Brown Eyes, off Leaving This Planet (december 1973), featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard.

Propelled by Bob James' string arrangements, the commercial success of saxophonist Grover Washington, who had moved to Philadelphia in 1967, was emblematic of the slide of soul-jazz into utter triviality. Soul Box (march 1973) even featured a symphony orchestra.

The legacy of hard-bop and its myriad sub-genres was going to be felt for a long time, long after its founding fathers had retired.


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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi. All rights reserved.