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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Post-bop is a genre of small-combo jazz that evolved in the early to mid-1960s.

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  • ✪ Post-bop Explained
  • ✪ Jazz Piano College 118 | Stolen Moments | post-bop cool
  • ✪ Post Be-Bop Improv | Juampy Juarez


Ok, so one thing you need to know about Post-bop, is that Post-bop is weird. By the mid-1960's the rise of Free Jazz had shaken the very foundation of Jazz. So mainstream jazz had to somehow find a way to respond to the avant-garde; and that response was a genre called Post-bop. Now, Post-bop mixes elements of Bebop, Hard-bop, Modal and Free Jazz without necessarily being any one of those styles. And Post-bop was more or less invented by Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet. So a lot of what I'm going to say here relates directly to this group. Now, I've got a separate video on Free Jazz which you can watch, but essentially Free Jazz was a reaction to Traditional Tonal Jazz, like Bebop. So Traditional Tonal Jazz used diatonic chords, functional chord progressions, and was in a diatonic key. So you had chord progressions like a 2-5-1, in a particular key, that use diatonic chords all from one particular key, and the dominant generally led down to the tonic chord. Traditional Jazz was also generally in 4/4 time and with a swing rhythm, and then used standard song forms like a 12-bar blues or 32 bar AABA song form. Or some other form that was generally a multiple of four bars, so 12 or 16 or 32 bar songs. It also used standard turnarounds like a 3-6-2-5 at the end of the song to bring you back to the start of the song for the next go round. And Traditional Jazz generally used a Head-Solo-Head overall structure. Where the Head is just the melody played over the chord progression; the Solo is an improvisation over that same exact chord progression just repeated; and then ending with the Head again, that is, with the melody over the chord progression. Now, Free Jazz was a reaction to Traditional Tonal Jazz. And Free Jazz often used no chords at all, and no chord progressions, and often used atonality. It was often also played in ameter, that is, not in any discernible or distinguishable time signature or meter. It was sometimes played rubato, that is, slowing down and speeding up however you liked. And it involved a lot of polyrhythms. And Free Jazz often didn't have a fixed form or structure; songs often had no discernible bar lines or no obvious structure, with no parts or sections that you could readily identify. And often it was pure improvisation, that is, it didn't have a Head, it was just pure Solo, like a lot of the collective improvisation that came out of Free Jazz. And so if Free Jazz was a reaction to Traditional or more Mainstream Jazz, then Post-bop was how the Mainstream Jazz responded to Free Jazz. And the way that Post-bop responded to this attack by Free Jazz was with ambiguity. Songs were written that were harmonically ambiguous, metrically and rhythmically ambiguous, and formally ambiguous. So Post-bop uses non-traditional or weird harmonies like a C Major 7 sharp 5 natural 5, or an A minor Major 7 on C sharp; which is the Major third; or a C Major 7 flat 7; or C Major 7 sharp 9. Right, those are all weird, non-traditional chords. So Post-bop chords were often very weird and not necessarily diatonic chords, they often used polychords, and used unavailable tensions over particular chords. Post-bop also made use of non-diatonic, non-functional chord progressions, that is, chord progressions with no obvious key and no obvious tonal centre. And it also made use of non-diatonic keys, for example writing a song in the key of the wholetone scale. Post-bop made use of irregular and mixed meters, for example, you could have a song that started in 4/4 but change to 5/4, or started in 6/4 but change to 4/4. It made use of polyrhythms and it made use of both swing and straight rhythms. Post-bop also used non-standard or irregular song forms. And moved away from that Head-Solo-Head structure. So it changed the Head by giving odd bar structures, like you could have an 11 bar song, or you can have a circular progression, where you can't tell where the song ends and repeats. It, sort of, just sounds like it keeps continuing on the straight line forever. It also suppressed the melody and the chords during the Head. And songs were often written without a written-out melody or without a written-out chord progression. Post-bop also changed how the Solo was performed, and as I said before, really moved away from that Head-Solo-Head structure. And it did this by changing the way the improvisation was integrated into the song. So you don't have clear sections where the melody is played here, the solo is played here, and the melody is played here again. It, sort of, mixed the melody and the solo in throughout the entire song, so it's no longest segregated bits. Its bits of melody and bits of improvisation, sort of, all over the place, just mixed into the whole song. And this was done by restating the melody between solos, or using fragments of the melody within the solo, and using a lot of motivic improvisation or motivic development. And, in fact, getting rid of improvisation all together, so that only the melody was played again and again and again, without any solo or improvisation in between. And they also altered the chord progression during the solo, so it wasn't just the same chord progression that you played during the Head, it was something different, it was something new. And they did this by doing things like adding sections or tags to the chord progression, or using a completely different chord progression unrelated to the Head, or changing the existing chord progression in certain ways, or using something called 'Time, No Changes'. So, in effect, Post-bop is halfway between Free Jazz and Tonal Jazz. So that, if Free Jazz was 'complete freedom', Post-bop is 'controlled freedom'. So, Post-bop breaks some musical rules, but retains others, and still maintains much more structure and form than Free Jazz. But, nevertheless, Post-bop did take some elements and ideas from Free Jazz, but also retained others from Traditional Jazz. So then, just to reiterate again. Traditional Jazz used standard diatonic chords, and functional progressions. While Free Jazz used no chords, and no chord progressions. So Post-bop used non-diatonic, non-functional chord progressions, which created some harmonic ambiguity. Traditional Jazz used a simple 4/4 time signature with a swing rhythm. While Free Jazz used a meter and polyrhythms. So Post-bop used irregular and mixed meters, with polyrhythms so created a bit of metric and rhythmic ambiguity. And Traditional Jazz used standard Head forms that were usually multiples of four bars, and a standard Head-Solo-Head overall form. While Free Jazz had no fixed form whatsoever. So Post-bop had odd bar structures and forms, and moved away from that Head-Solo-Head our overall form, and therefore was a little bit formally ambiguous. So then, all these things are designed to create harmonic, metric, rhythmic, and formal ambiguity. So that you can't tell what key a song is in; or where the tonal centre is; or how many bars there are, whether it's an AABA form; whether they're improvising or it's actually part of the melody; or what meter the songs in; or what scale they're using. But it's nevertheless, less free than Free Jazz. Because it still does have bars; it still does have a fixed form; it still has a given melody; it still has a written out chord progression; and a particular time signature. These things exist, they're just unusual, irregular, and ambiguous. Whereas, Free Jazz does not have these things at all. And this is what I mean by Post-bop being 'controlled freedom'. There is an underlying structure, it's just hidden, and vague, and ambiguous. Now, each of these topics deserves its own videos, so this lesson is just a quick summary of what Post-bop is, how it arose, and its general features. And i'll create a separate lesson for each of these topics, where I can go into them in a little bit more depth. But as an example, let's take a quick look at a Post-bop song written by Wayne Shorter called the Vonetta. Right, so that's used non-traditional harmony, or also known as 'weird chords'. It had an E Major 7 flat 5, which is an interesting chord. It had an A flat Major 7 sharp 5 sharp 9, which is a weird chord because Major 7's don't usually have sharp 9's. And it actually had a natural 5 in the melody, so that in the end you end up with this weird polychord of a G augmented over an A flat augmented. It also used an E flat diminished 9, but had the minor 7 in the melody. Right, so all of those are weird chords and weird chord choices for this particular melody. The song also has a non-diatonic, non-functional chord progression. That is, looking at the chords, you can't tell what key it's in, or whether it has a tonal centre. Right, there is no obvious tonic chord. Each chord is from a different key and none of them really seem to relate to each other in any obvious way. Like, there are no 5-1's. It's going odd Head form, that is, the actual song is 14 bars long, which is not a multiple of 4, like you find in traditional songs. So, it's not 12 bars or 16 bars or 32 bars. It also uses an irregular mixed meter, that is, it's in 4/4 time but for one bar it changes to 5/4. And it's slightly circular, that is, you can't really tell where the end is and where the beginning is. And this is because there's no tonic chord and there's no turnaround to take you back to the start. So then, if I just continued playing that song again and again without showing you the lead sheet, you wouldn't really know where the start was and where the end was. And if you listen to the improvisation on the actual recording, you'll hear that they often play fragments of the melody during the improvisation. So it's not really a clear Head-Solo-Head form. Right, so that's a weird song. It's a weird structure; with weird chords; and a weird chord progression; and that's what I meant when I said that Post-bop is weird. It straddles that grey area between Traditional Jazz and Free Jazz. So like I said before, in the next few videos I'll go through all the concepts I mentioned before in a little bit more detail, because they certainly deserve closer inspection, as they're all quite interesting. And they're actually quite fun to use in your own playing. And it's also worth noting that the line between Post-bop and Free Jazz is fuzzy. John Coltrane, for example, sat on both sides of the fence. It's sometimes quite hard to classify his music. It's often a mix of Modal Jazz and Free Jazz and Post-bop. Now, I've written a few Post-bop albums you can check out up here in the picture-in-picture. And when you're listening to them keep in mind Frank Zappa's infamous quote, that: 'Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny'. Because you'll soon understand what he meant. Cool, so thanks for watching again and as always please feel free to leave a comment or a question. And look forward to the next few videos where I cover all of these concepts in a little bit more detail. Thanks guys. See ya.



Post-bop is jazz from the mid-1960s onward that assimilates hard bop, modal jazz, avant-garde and free jazz without necessarily being immediately identifiable as any of the above.[citation needed] Post-bop can refer to a variety of Jazz music that is post-bebop chronologically but in the common understanding post-bop music reflects these influences: the more open approach to the jazz ensemble crystallized by the second Miles Davis quintet, and the modal intensity of that group as well as of the classic John Coltrane Quartet.

According to musicologist Jeremy Yudkin, post-bop does not follow "the conventions of bop or the apparently formless freedom of the new jazz".[1] He wrote in his definition of the subgenre:

Forms, tempos, and meters are freer, all the compositions are new, and the band members themselves are featured composers.... [A]n approach that is abstract and intense in the extreme, with space created for rhythmic and coloristic independence of the drummer. Drummers gained the opportunity to move in and out of the basic swing rhythm and approach that incorporated much more complex style, modal and chordal harmonies, flexible form, structured choruses, melodic variation, and free improvisation."[1]


Miles Davis' second quintet was active during 1964 to 1968 and featured pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and drummer Tony Williams. They recorded six studio albums that, according to All About Jazz's C. Michael Bailey, introduced post-bop: E.S.P. (1965), Miles Smiles (1967), Sorcerer (1967), Nefertiti (1968), Miles in the Sky (1968), and Filles de Kilimanjaro (1968).[1]


Due to the abstractness and the free form of post bop music it influenced fusion music in the 1970s. It transformed jazz music to another level that incorporates much more creative freedom and playing. The form free, harmonically free, and abstract post bop had influenced artists to move away from the diatonic approaches and opened up the creative aspects of Jazz music. According to the book Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop', “Miles Davis is really the one who started Post Bop and continued on the legacy of his own creation towards fusion and hard bop."

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bailey, C. Michael (April 11, 2008). "Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop". All About Jazz. Retrieved February 23, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 February 2019, at 18:17
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