The Rise of Bebop

In 1945, Parker Gillespie, drummer Kenny Clark, and pianist Thelonious Monk, “individually and collectively created bebop” (Stump 5). Along with many other young jazz musicians, Gillespie, Clark, and Monk transformed traditional Jazz into what became to be known as Bebop through new styles of artistic expression and innovation. This new form of music was also a negative reaction toward the white American traditional radio Jazz that suffocated the young African-American musical community from branching out and experimenting with new tunes.

Location played a distinct role in the importance and creation of Bebop. Jazz clubs in Harlem and along 52nd Street of New York City were the first places in which Bebop was exposed to the public as the modern style of Jazz music. Many believe that Bebop emerged as cultural expression among African-Americans because of the dissension of race-issues after World War I.

Bebop evolved almost like a secret society in private homes and after hour clubs. The new form of music was not at first regularly accepted everywhere and in result forced the musicians to practice and develop their music in secrecy or only among those who were in favor of it. “Racial conflicts during the 1930’s had led several prominent Harlem clubs to relocate to other parts of Manhattan” (Stump 7). The creators of Bebop played in a variety of these clubs but two in particular, Minton’s Playhouse and Clarke Monroe’s Uptown House, which were minted as the specific locales in which Bebop was associated.

It was not until the late 1940’s that Bebop was regularly accepted; and it was referred to as modern Jazz before it received its name “apparently derived from nonsense syllables used to imitate the music’s unusual rhythmic patterns” (Stump 9).

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