Sunday, May 3, 2009
Breaking from the big band arrangements of the swing era, bebop musicians of the 1940s-1950s conducted a revolution that initiated modern jazz. They emphasized complex arrangements, a fast pace, improvisation and a small group that provided a more active role for the rhythm section. For those used to tunes suitable for dancing or singing, here were compositions that seemed frenetic and fragmented. To its fans, though, bebop was a style that called for outstanding musicianship and innovation. Above, two of the giants of jazz and the bebop style, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, known as "Bird," and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, perform "Hot House" in 1952.