A Hard Look At Hard Bop

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With many young talents under his tutelage, Art Blakey has often been called the father of hard bop. i i

hide captionWith many young talents under his tutelage, Art Blakey has often been called the father of hard bop.

David Referns/Redferns
With many young talents under his tutelage, Art Blakey has often been called the father of hard bop.

With many young talents under his tutelage, Art Blakey has often been called the father of hard bop.

David Referns/Redferns

Evolving out of 1950s bebop, hard bop incorporates elements of gospel, soul and R&B. One of the style's biggest supporters, Blue Note Records, celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, and is represented by three albums here.

Although popular jazz progressed into other forms in the 1960s and beyond, hard bop never died out altogether. It's still heard today in many modern jazz recordings. Listen to five classic recordings here.

This story originally ran Jan. 26, 2009.

For more entries in the Take Five series, click here. And don't forget to subscribe to the Jazz Notes newsletter.

A Hard Look At Hard Bop

Cover for Moanin' [Blue Note Bonus Track]

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

  • Album: Moanin' [Blue Note Bonus Track]
  • Song: Moanin'

Legendary drummer Art Blakey was a father of hard bop. He was also a father figure for generations of young jazz musicians who came up through his band Jazz Messengers, often moving on to become prominent figures in jazz themselves. The Jazz Messengers, for about 35 years, spread the gospel of hard bop. Blakey was able to maintain the group by replacing departing musicians with fresh young talent and giving them all room to grow. Blakey's mark on the history of jazz is indelible.

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  • "Moanin'"
  • Album: Moanin' [Blue Note Bonus Track]
  • Artist: Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
  • Label: EMI/Blue Note
  • Released: 1958
 
Cover for Meet the Jazztet

Art Farmer with Benny Golson

  • Album: Meet the Jazztet
  • Song: Killer Joe

This is the original version of Benny Golson's classic composition. He gives a short spoken description of the titular "Killer Joe," at which point the music tells the rest of the story. Golson, who is just about an octogenarian, remains active today. His new CD, New Time, New 'Tet, carries on the tradition of his classic sound.

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  • "Killer Joe"
  • Album: Meet the Jazztet
  • Artist: Art Farmer with Benny Golson
  • Label: Universal
  • Released: 1960
 
Cover for Song for My Father

Horace Silver

  • Album: Song for My Father
  • Song: Song for My Father

The picture on the cover of this CD is of John Tavares Silver, the father of one of the fathers of hard bop. A tribute full of soul, "Song for My Father" features an undercurrent of bossa nova, a sound Horace Silver was drawn to during a winter trip to Brazil. This is one of his most easily recognized tunes.

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  • "Song for My Father"
  • Album: Song for My Father
  • Artist: Horace Silver
  • Label: Toshiba EMI
  • Released: 1964
 
Cover for Blue Train [Expanded Edition]

John Coltrane

  • Album: Blue Train [Expanded Edition]
  • Song: Blue Train

At this point in John Coltrane's career, during the mid-'50s, he'd been playing in groups led by Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. This album paints a perfect picture of Coltrane as a player, composer and bandleader. He chose all of the musicians for this date, including Lee Morgan on trumpet and Philly "Joe" Jones on drums. "Blue Train" has a beautiful blues feel that's absolutely infectious.

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  • "Blue Train"
  • Album: Blue Train [Expanded Edition]
  • Artist: John Coltrane
  • Label: EMI/Blue Note
  • Released: 2003
 
Cover for Walkin'

Miles Davis

  • Album: Walkin'
  • Song: Solar

Miles Davis enlists a supporting cast of all-stars on this album, including a fine rhythm section which features Horace Silver on piano, Kenny Clarke on drums and Percy Heath on bass. By this point in his career, Davis had already left his mark on bebop and cool jazz styles, so it was only natural for him to do the same for the next new sound in jazz, hard bop. "Solar" is an up-tempo piece with perfect group interplay and beautiful soloing.

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  • "Solar"
  • Album: Walkin'
  • Artist: Miles Davis
  • Label: Universal Japan
  • Released: 1954
 

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