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Jazz sub-genres

Discussion in 'music' started by scotty38, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    Anyone reading the Tone Poet, 80th or Rendell Carr threads will already know I'm new to Jazz or rather my enjoyment of it has recently clicked for reasons I cannot explain.

    However I am confused about its sub-genres, more accurately what/who fits into which and how you know which is which. I have read the wiki pages etc that explain the differences, or try to, but I am still at a loss to know what constitutes Hard Bop for example.

    Can anyone point me to a better idiots guide or want to take a shot at giving me some pointers please?

    Thanks in advance....
  2. poco a poco

    poco a poco pfm Member

    Scotty, have you seen this Wiki page list with links. Hard Bop is not seperately described, but tends to have more Rhythm and Blues and Gospel influence and tends to be a bit more hard hitting than Be Bop. All these terms were really labels put on the music by journalists in the 50's and 60's and there is a fair bit of overlap, style change even within Records.


    Edit: Here is a Wiki page on Hard Bop.

    scotty38 likes this.
  3. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    Thanks, yes I have seen those, they're the ones I looked at. That was my view too that there appears to be a fair amount of overlap and I have seen records on here described as Hard Bop for example but even with the wiki explanation I am not sure I could have worked that out myself. I appreciate that a lot of it perhaps comes down to experience though.
  4. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I wouldn't worry about it too much to be honest. Lots of sub-genres are fairly fluid or arbitrary (depending on which way you look at it) and the terms used sometimes change over time - loft jazz, spiritual jazz, deep jazz etc. - or have different connotations to different people. Just listen to loads of records and you'll get a feel for different styles.

    Lots of music is like this - I can't tell my vapourwave from my witch house but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it :)
    foxwelljsly, scotty38 and poco a poco like this.
  5. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    New to Jazz? Then you owe it to yourself to listen to Peter Brotzmann's Machine Gun from start to finish. :)

    Seriously, I wouldn't worry about it. If you really like a jazz record, buy other records with at least one of the musicians from that record on it. Worked for me.
    kjb, paulfromcamden and Seeker_UK like this.
  6. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    It's a PFM rule that someone has to suggest listening to Machine Gun within 15 posts of any jazz thread :)

    You're right though - one of the joys of learning about jazz (which happily is a lifetimes work) is checking out what else that amazing piano player or drummer played on....
    Thinkfloyd likes this.
  7. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    I consider it my life's work.
    paulfromcamden likes this.
  8. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    ....Or that Roland Kirk was leader for the session that gave us the theme from Austin Powers.
  9. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Start on YouTube with a track that you like and follow suggestions that come up. Lots of blind allies, but you will discover plenty that you'd take half a lifetime or more to discover otherwise.
  10. Take5

    Take5 pfm Member

    Good advice here. I agree with the idea of finding a piece that you like, then exploring the music of the people playing that music.

    I always think of HARD BOP as being a development on from BE BOP.

    So, the Be Boppers tended to take the standard songs of the time, or earlier, and use the harmonic structure of those as the basis for their own tunes and subsequent improvisation.
    Their art was in the negotiation of the harmony during the improvisation, together with fast tempos.

    So ... “How high the moon” became “Ornithology”. “I got Rythym” became “Anthroplogy”
    “Indiana” became “Donna Lee “. “What is this thing called love” became “Hothouse “

    Etc etc etc

    By the 50s this developed in to writing original tunes and harmonies.
    The arrangements tended to be more interesting than the Be boppers, who simply played their tune then improvised.
    The Hard boppers tunes tended to be a bit more interesting and structured.
    I feel there were two elements to the Hard Bop movement.
    Some folks went in to a bluesy vibe. eg Horace Silver.....Song for my Father
    Others started to make the harmony much more complex eg John Coltrane......Giant steps
    Often this stuff overlapped.

    Good luck
    eastone likes this.
  11. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    Thanks for all that, much appreciated! I must admit to having been seduced by much of the Tone Poet and 80th releases so have bought a fair few of those along with the Rendall/Carr releases too. I already had a number of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane etc but until recently the music hadn't really clicked with me. For some odd reason it just did a little while back and I can feel myself becoming obsessed unfortunately :)

    As has been mentioned of finding artists on other albums I have just done that too. With some of the Blue Note records I bought I am liking Freddie Hubbard and Dexter Gordon, for example, and I just ordered the Grant Green and Herbie Hancock 80ths and noticed they're featured on those too!

    I really do need to try and reign myself in a bit as I'm spending a fortune....
  12. Take5

    Take5 pfm Member

    Before parting with your hard earned you can usually find stuff on YOU TUBE.
    Have a listen there, before buying.

    Here are 3 that I think are worth a listen. Most folks getting in to the idiom tend to like these.

    scotty38 likes this.
  13. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    Thanks for that, I have Qobuz so I tend to listen there first so will give those a go too!
  14. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    Not sure about saving me money, Go is great and just listening to Soul Station so that's 2 more for the list :)
  15. Engels

    Engels pfm Member

    See if you can find a recent copy of Peter Von Bartowski's Jazz Family Tree poster which shows the different genres and their evolution.

    e.g. here
    scotty38 likes this.
  16. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    You got me thinking, Roland Kirk is one of my favourite Jazz musicians, but I haven't a clue what genre his music is. Ethno post-bop blues, maybe? Same for Keith Jarrett.
  17. scotty38

    scotty38 pfm Member

    That's great, no wonder I'm confused :D
  18. Take5

    Take5 pfm Member

    Honestly, dont get hung up by the beliefs of others. A chart with a jazz family tree....... Forget it.

    There is no “one fits all route”. It isnt some kind of Doctrine. Confusion should not be part of the equation.

    Follow/find your own path. Enjoy the journey. You are the only person who can say what is right or wrong.
    If you dont like it......change direction.

    Do what you want. The ideas here on this thread are good and correct. (Except the Brotzmann ;))
    You have enough here already to get you going.

    Find something YOU like and explore that genre, via the same musicians etc etc.
    dave charlton and scotty38 like this.
  19. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    I'd second this but add find a couple of starting points. Mies is an obvious one - you could have a near perfect collection if everything you owned was no more than one point removed from Miles.

    Its also worth trying a different route. Alongside Miles, for me, the nodal point would be John Zorn. This takes you in a very different direction but allows you to explore some of the more interesting modern jazz - and plenty of challenging noise. Like Miles, you could have a stunning collection made up of people one step removed from Zorn

    Mies would take you through Hancock, Shorter, Contrane, Parker and up to George Benson and John Scofield. Zorn could take you to Frisell, Douglas, Lovano, Onrette Coleman even Metheny and Fred Frith. The Zorn collection would be mainly digital, with Miles there's a lot more vinyl options options to help empty your wallet.There's not a lot of Zorn to stream unfortunately but plenty on youtube.

    scotty38 likes this.

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