spangalang Posted February 25, 2012 Report Share Posted February 25, 2012 Of course, my title for this thread is meant to be a bit provocative-- I don't mean to suggest that Baraka literally "hates" hard bop. However, I just finished his "Bop" excerpt (included in Gottlieb's Reading Jazz and taken from Jones' larger work, Blues People) and I can't help but be taken aback at his dismissal of Hard bop. He describes the initial beginnings of Hard bop as the inevitable reaction to the very-White, accessible cool jazz of the 50s, noting Hard Bops' musicians desire to return back to the more "Black" roots of jazz through emphasis on Blues and Gospel. However, although he is duly critical of the cool jazz musicians, he almost seems *more* critical of hard bop. As merely a fan, I have a really hard time believing that, within the broader context of jazz history, the powerful music of Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, etc. (on and on) could be so casually relegated to the "final meaninglessness of the popular," as Jones puts it: "[Hard Boppers] lost sight of the important ideas to be learned from bebop and substituted largeness of timbre and quasi-gospel influences for actual rhythmic or melodic diversity and freshness... [Hard bop] has become a kind of 'sophistication' that depends more on common, than banal, musical knowledge, instead of truth or meaning suddenly revealed. What results, more times than not, is a self-conscious celebration of cliche, and an actual debilitation of the most impressive ideas to come out of bebop. One has the feeling, when listening to the most popular hard-bop groups of the day, of being confronted merely by a style, behind which there is no serious commitment to expression or emotional profundity." Yikes. Admittedly, I have not read the rest of Blues People, and perhaps I am misunderstanding Jones' interpretation or do not yet know enough about jazz criticism to adequately respond. However, I'd love to hear some more thoughts on this... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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