By Scott DeVeaux
DeVeaux starts off with an exam of the Swing period, focusing really at the place of African American musicians. He highlights the function performed by means of tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, a "progressive" dedicated to a imaginative and prescient within which black jazz musicians might discover a position on the planet commensurate with their abilities. He then seems on the younger musicians of the early Forties, together with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk, and hyperlinks matters in the jazz global to different advancements at the American scene, together with the turmoil in the course of global conflict II and the pervasive racism of the period.
all through, DeVeaux locations musicians in the context in their expert global, paying shut consciousness to the demanding situations of constructing a residing in addition to of creating reliable track. He indicates that bebop was once concurrently an inventive move, an ideological assertion, and a advertisement phenomenon.
In drawing from the wealthy oral histories residing culture offers, DeVeaux's ebook resonates with the narratives of person lives. whereas The beginning of Bebop is a examine in American cultural background and a severe musical inquiry, it's also a becoming homage to bebop and to those that made it possible.
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Additional resources for The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History
This moment of glory was overshadowed, however, by the onslaught of bebop, and with it, his reputation as innovator vanished. He is now remembered as making only a brief appearance on the periphery of the bop revolution, despite having been very much on the scene. Even the comforting role of paterfamilias to the younger generation has been denied him. The swing tenor saxophonist universally acknowledged to have served as source and inspiration for the emergent idiom is not Hawkins, but Lester Young.
That’s where Be-Bop came from, beaten right out of some Negro’s head into those horns and saxophones and the piano keys that play it. . ‘‘That’s why so many white folks don’t dig Bop,’’ said Simple. ‘‘White folks do not get their heads beat just for being white. But me—a cop is liable to grab me almost any time and beat my head—just for being colored. ’ ‘‘Then I have to go into my whole pedigree because I am a black man in a white neighborhood. And if my answers do not satisfy them, BOP!
He seemed to be the most creative man of the era. ’’ This stature, however, did not long outlive bebop. After 1945 Hawkins’s influence declined, and his standing in jazz history automatically became problematic. Even in his last years, as he matched himself against John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Sonny Rollins, he was considered less a full participant in contemporary musical life than an icon—a living legend—of the art. Hawkins’s decline in status is not unexpected. A history of style usually boils down to a history of innovation: novel techniques that stand out against the background of common practice and can be shown, after the fact, to point to the future.
The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History by Scott DeVeaux