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Lubyanaya E.

Jazz piano in the context of bebop innovation

The article is devoted to the phenomenon of jazz piano performance of the 1940s. The purpose of the study is to consider some of the features of the “bebop” style formation in the context of piano art. The aim was to trace the continuity in the sphere of jazz pianism, the totality of bebop transformations and their introduction in the sphere of jazz piano, as well as to determine the role of this phenomenon in the process of further evolution of jazz music.

The first bebop-style reformers – saxophonist C. Parker and trumpeter D. Gillespie – proposed a style of playing that was sharply different from the swing tradition. Following them, the leading bebop pianists B. Powell and T. Monk adapted the discoveries in the fields of melody, harmony, form, phrasing and articulation to the jazz pianism. This process contributed to the total establishment of stylistic norms of bebop and the birth of a new sound criterion for musicians and listeners.

Bebop formation divided into two stages: at the first one, pianists, like other jazz musicians, used universal bebop techniques that regulate the interpretation of musical material from previous periods of jazz development; at the second, performers began to compose their own jazz compositions within the framework of bebop criteria. As a result, the usual, contrasting in swing parts of the jazz composition form – theme and improvisation – acquired unifying elements and began to demonstrate uniformity in terms of musical language. Such bebop innovations as the complication of the harmonic scheme, the chromatization of melody, the asymmetry of phrases and their special accentuation served as the basis for the formation of a new type of jazz standards. These reforms are firmly entrenched both in jazz performance and in the field of jazz piano, defining the vector of further development of jazz art.

Key words

history of jazz, bebop, jazz piano, jazz pianists, improvisation.

For citation

Lubyanaya E. Jazz piano in the context of bebop innovation // South-Russian musical anthology. 2020. No 2. Pp. 136–141.