Synopses & Reviews
Back in the early 1940s, late at night in the clubs of Harlem, a handful of jazz musicians began to experiment with a style that no one had ever heard before. The music was fast, complicated, impossible to play for many of the older musiciansbut it soon became the lingua franca of jazz music. They called it bebop, and as the years went by, it became even more popular. Today it reigns as perhaps the best-loved style of jazz ever created. Ira Gitler conveys the excitement of this musical birth as only someone who was there can. In The Masters of Bebop, Gitler traces the advent of what was a revolution in sound. He profiles the leading playersCharlie Parker, Dizzy Gillepie, Max Roachbut also studies the style and music of the first disciples, such as Dexter Gordon and J. J. Johnson, to reveal bebops pervasive influence throughout American culture. Revised with an updated discographyand with a new chapter covering bebop right up through the end of the twentieth centuryThe Masters of Bebop is the essential listeners handbook.
In the early forties a group of young musicians -- Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and others -- began to play jazz in a style that no one even had a name for. It was a faster, lighter, edgier music, with melodies and harmonies that by previous definitions of jazz were "wrong" yet in this context sounded right -- and revolutionary. This was the birth of bebop, and American music hasn't been the same since.
In this authoritative work, Ira Gitler tells the story of bebop through the story of the giants of the music, their disciples, and the mavericks and transitional figures around them. Writing not only about the best-known masters but also about figures such as J. J. Johnson, Sonny Stitt, Oscar Pettiford, Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham, Dexter Gordon, and Tadd Dameron, Gitler conveys the excitement of the music as only someone who was there at its peak can. Fully updated, with a new chapter and a revised discography, The Masters of Bebop is an essential introduction to bop.
Now fully updated with a new chapter: The classic introduction to the bebop era and the legendary performers who created it
About the Author
Ira Gitler is a writer, critic, and educator; he is also the coauthor of The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. He lives in New York City.