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  1. #1

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    How did hard bop come to be called that?

    I mean, hard rock is heavier, more intense, however you want to describe it. But if anything, bebop is heavier, more intense, etc than hard bop.

    The word hard can have different meanings but none of them really describe hard bop.

    Or maybe I'm misunderstanding my eras.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    How did hard bop come to be called that?

    I mean, hard rock is heavier, more intense, however you want to describe it. But if anything, bebop is heavier, more intense, etc than hard bop.

    The word hard can have different meanings but none of them really describe hard bop.

    Or maybe I'm misunderstanding my eras.
    Good choice of topic! This is something I’ve also been thinking about. I read somewhere that hard bop includes more ”advanced harmonics” than bebop and other straight ahead styles.

    Of course we can find a much more abstract definition too. Maybe it’s a style that the pioneers thought would be too hard to play for other musicians, but it didn’t in the end and no one else have changed the genre name after more than a half century?

  4. #3

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    Some background

    Hard bop - Wikipedia

  5. #4

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    I don't think hard-bop includes more advanced harmonies than bebop. If anything it could be simpler.
    I believe hard bop is more analogous to rock vs hard rock. The rhythm section has a bit more pronounced bluesy drive to it. Not as much in the background as in bebop, more forward. After all it's invented by a drummer

  6. #5

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    Some info here:

    Hard bop - Wikipedia

    I have always assumed that the ‘hard’ bit refers to the rhythmic component which is perhaps more pronounced (and maybe less complex) than the original bebop rhythms. E.g. Art Blakey and Horace Silver belting out a gospel backbeat.

    Also it was seen as a contrast to the ‘softer’ west coast cool jazz.

    But it’s just a label, they don’t always mean much in reality.

  7. #6

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    A Hard Look At Hard Bop : NPR

    NPR feature with links to 5 hard bop classics:
    1) Moanin' (Blakey and the Jazz Messengers)
    2) Killer Joe (Art Farmer w Benny Golson)
    3) Song For My Father (Horace Silver)
    4 Blue Train (John Coltrane)
    5) Solar (Miles Davis)

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I don't think hard-bop includes more advanced harmonies then bebop. If anything it could be simpler.
    I believe hard bop is more analogous to rock vs hard rock. The rhythm section has a bit more pronounced bluesy drive to it. Not as much in the background as in bebop, more forward. After all it's invented by a drummer
    Swedish Wikipedia have to change their information about hard bop after all!

    Yes, of course you’re right. In my opinion bebop harmonies sounds much more advanced than hard bop style. I hear much more blues roots in hard bop than in other jazz styles. Just listen to John Coltrane’s ”Blue Train” and we’ll all have a good answer.

  9. #8

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    It's not hard as in difficult, it's hard as in not smooth :-)

  10. #9

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    It was a pushback to "cool." And "hot" was already taken.

  11. #10

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    Art Blakey sure did hit his drums harder than a lot of Bebop drummers! But yeah, the beat was more regular, the tunes were more blues based with fewer chord changes, but I'd hesitate to suggest it was "dumbed down" bebop. Coltrane, Rollins, Cannonball, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Wynton Kelly, early Wayne Shorter, Wes .... nothing dumbed down about those fellows!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    It's not hard as in difficult, it's hard as in not smooth :-)
    I don't think anyone thought it meant more difficult, though it's all plenty difficult for me.

    But the explanation that it was harder than smooth jazz makes sense. I was comparing it to bebop, not smooth/cool (west coast) jazz.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    I don't think anyone thought it meant more difficult, though it's all plenty difficult for me.

    But the explanation that it was harder than smooth jazz makes sense. I was comparing it to bebop, not smooth/cool (west coast) jazz.
    But I think it was also seen as a ‘harder’ kind of bebop, i.e. rhythmically more insistent, stronger propulsive beat etc. than the original bebop. Tended not to be so fast as well, which I think allowed for a more powerful beat to be laid down by all concerned.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    A Hard Look At Hard Bop : NPR

    NPR feature with links to 5 hard bop classics:
    1) Moanin' (Blakey and the Jazz Messengers)
    2) Killer Joe (Art Farmer w Benny Golson)
    3) Song For My Father (Horace Silver)
    4 Blue Train (John Coltrane)
    5) Solar (Miles Davis)
    This was my point. None of these seem as 'hard' (heavy, intense, etc...not referring to difficulty) as Donna Lee or Giant Steps...at least to me.

    But, as has been pointed out, the comparison was to cool jazz, not bepop.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    This was my point. None of these seem as 'hard' (heavy, intense, etc...not referring to difficulty) as Donna Lee or Giant Steps...at least to me.

    But, as has been pointed out, the comparison was to cool jazz, not bepop.
    no you’re still missing the point. By ‘Hard’ the critics or writers who came up with the label meant things like ‘hard hitting stronger beat’.

    ‘Heavy/intense’ is your interpretation of what the word means.

    Listen to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. They sound a lot ‘tougher’ than the bebop rhythm sections.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    But I think it was also seen as a ‘harder’ kind of bebop, i.e. rhythmically more insistent, stronger propulsive beat etc. than the original bebop. Tended not to be so fast as well, which I think allowed for a more powerful beat to be laid down by all concerned.
    I can kinda hear that. To me, it doesn't come across as 'harder', but I do hear what you're saying.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    no you’re still missing the point. By ‘Hard’ the critics or writers who came up with the label meant things like ‘hard hitting stronger beat’.

    ‘Heavy/intense’ is your interpretation of what the word means.

    Listen to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. They sound a lot ‘tougher’ than the bebop rhythm sections.
    I was typing that reply before I saw your last post. I get what you're saying.

  18. #17

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    Yes of course it’s all a bit subjective anyway, I don’t think all these jazz labels are really that useful. I think Miles Davis used to hate the critics always labelling and categorising the music.

  19. #18

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    Like others already have mentioned I think the adjective ”hard” is used synonymous to rhythm
    .

    Otherwise, what other kind of jazz styles are harder or lighter than hard bop? Harder than what? I don’t know! Like grahambop said, it’s subjective.
    Last edited by Bbmaj7#5#9; 07-18-2019 at 02:33 PM.

  20. #19

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    Of the two, I prefer hard bop. There's more of a funky, earthy, blues and gospel feel to it. I like that.

    This is one of my favorites, Horace Silver's "The Preacher." (Can't hear this without thinking of "I've Been Working On The Railroad", which isn't funky, earthy, bluesy or gospel-based....)



    The opening cut from the same album:

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Of the two, I prefer hard bop. There's more of a funky, earthy, blues and gospel feel to it. I like that.
    Me too! That's part of why I started the thread. I prefer it, just didn't understand the label.

    The piano solo on The Preacher is killer, especially that descending thing he starts repeating around 2:30.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    Me too! That's part of why I started the thread. I prefer it, just didn't understand the label.

    The piano solo on The Preacher is killer, especially that descending thing he starts repeating around 2:30.
    I agree about that solo. Horace was something else. When I think of the term "hard bop" I think of him and Blakey. Horace wrote a lot of cool tunes, which is always a plus. ;o)

    Here's a good article about Silver's legacy.
    Horace Silver: Celebrating The Jazz Messenger’s Golden Legacy

  23. #22

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    A video on hard bop's dominant musical tendencies. ("It was the last genre of jazz that people actually danced to.")


  24. #23

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    I have read that many of the musicians involved were frustrated that white musicians were coopting a black type of music, with the West Coast cool jazz musicians getting all the attention--Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond, etc.

    They wanted a style they could play which "wouldn't sound like white music", if you know what I mean--with a heavy soul and gospel influence.

    I don't know if all the musicians thought of it that way, but that is what I've read and how it comes across to me.

    While I appreciate all kinds of jazz and all kinds of music, over the last few years I have come to appreciate this strain increasingly as a more emotional and authentic kind of jazz than a lot of cats were playing at the time.

  25. #24

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    Maybe means bebop is hard to listen to after listening to the funky grooves and cool bluesy melodies of hard bop?

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    How did hard bop come to be called that?
    Because it's well 'ard...

    sorted.

  27. #26

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    I thought it was Hard Bop because it was "whoosh, over my head" hard...

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I have read that many of the musicians involved were frustrated that white musicians were coopting a black type of music, with the West Coast cool jazz musicians getting all the attention--Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond, etc.

    They wanted a style they could play which "wouldn't sound like white music", if you know what I mean--with a heavy soul and gospel influence.
    There does seem to be a "return to the roots" aspect of hard bop. Curiously, Miles Davis avoided this. (He made recordings that are seen as classics of "cool jazz" AND "hard bop".)

    One contrast I've heard made of East Coast / West Coast jazz is that the former is busier, more bustling, like life in the big city, while the latter is more open, spacious. In short, one is New York City and the other is California.

    It is worth noting that not everyone lives on 52nd Street (or wants to).

    Wes becomes interesting here, I think.