Post-Bop


The post-bop period covered music performed by jazz musicians who continued in the bebop mold but who shied away from the experiments of free jazz, which developed during the same period of the 1960s. Also referred to as hard-bop, this form took the rhythms, ensemble structure and energy of bebop and combined the added horn, similar playlists and continued to use Latin elements. What made this post-bop music different was the added use of funk, groove or soul, tailored as it was for the changing times, as pop music was in its ascendancy.

Artists such as saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Horace Silver, drummer Art Blakey and trumpeter Lee Morgan actually started this music during the mid ‘50s, and helped usher in what is now the predominant form of jazz. With simpler melodies and a more soulful beat, the listener could hear traces of gospel and r&b mixed in. To some extent, this style met with some refinement during the ‘60s as compositional elements were added to create new textures. Saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist McCoy Tyner and even such stalwart beboppers as Dizzy Gillespie made music that was both hummable and interesting harmonically.

One of the most significant composers to emerge during this period was saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Shorter, who came up through the ranks with Blakey, recorded a string of strong albums under his own name during the 1960s. Along with keyboardist Herbie Hancock, Shorter helped Miles Davis’ ‘60s quintet (a more experimental version of Davis’ highly influential ‘50s post-bop group with John Coltrane) become one of the most significant groups in jazz history.

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May 2017
José James
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