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Personal Notes - The History Of Jazz - Part 6
In Part Six of 'The History Of Jazz' I try to piece together the Hard Bop days of the genre that we love so much today and uncover the musicians who pathed the way for the music that we listen to today.  
wes george

If you are already a jazz aficionado you will already be aware of the following details so this article is aimed at those of you who are 'new to Jazz' or 'catching up'.

Whenever an artist is mentioned in the articles, YOU can send us your take on THEIR BIOGRAPHY and we will link it to a separate page with your credits. Send us the Biographies to info@jazznet247.net ( We will reserve the right to edit before publishing ) - See Dave Brubeck

The History Of Jazz - Part 6 - Hard Bop

Like most artforms jazz history is the result as much of swings from one fashion to another as of any logical progression from style to style. By the mid Fifties quite a lot of people were ready for an antidote to the rather languid sound of Cool.

It came in the form of the reassertion of the heated Bebop style and of the African roots of jazz in blues and gospel. The result was sometimes labelled Hard Bop or Funk, but these are names for a tendency rather than a separable style.

Indeed a sceptic might say that nothing special began in the mid Fifties at all. A large number of musicians had continued to play and develop Bebop throughout the era of the Cool.

All that occurred around 1955 was that record companies and journalists noticed them a little more, but there was only a slight change of emphasis between the first wave of Bop and the music of the late Fifties.

The Bop of the Forties was fairly esoteric stuff, moreso in fact than the melodic and accessible cool sounds of Parker, Powell and Gillespie played so fast and furiously that only the initiated could really follow them.

Their heirs of the Fifties kept up the heat but added some simpler and more obviously enjoyable elements. The key transitional group here was the Clifford Brown - Max Roach Quintet who flourished between 1954 and Brown's death in 1956.

This was in many ways a lineal descendant of the original Bop bands. Roach had been Charlie Parker's drummer in the mid Forties, Clifford Brown followed directly on from Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro but there was a subtle difference. Where Gillespie's playing was extreme in every way, faster and higher than previously seemed possible on the trumpet, Brown was calm and almost classical.

He was basically a middle-register player, many of his finest achievements were at medium tempo or on ballads. His golden instrumental tone was as beautifully burnished as that of any Swing musician. This was Bop without a good deal of the fury.

Fury, or at any rate a sort of aggressive assertiveness expressed by a deliberately brusque tone was present in the most important new tenor saxophonists John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, but it was offset by other elements.

In the Brown - Roach band the gruff Rollins acted as a foil to Clifford Brown's mellifluous trumpet and even as a soloist he had some unBop-like tendencies, a liking for medium and ballad tempos, a way of improvising that didn't just throw away the initial theme, but built upon it.

Drummers were becoming more and more noisy and important, none more so than Art Blakey, leader of the Jazz Messengers, the quintessential Hard Bop band. The Messengers were always a Bebop ensemble, grooming generation after generation of young musicians in that style. However it was Bop with a certain difference.

The soloist might be multi-noted and fiercely-toned young lions like Jackie McLean or Johnny Griffin, but the band was pushed along by the tremendous shove of Blakey's drumming and that was an element so powerful as to give the music a physically elating effect.

Also, the Messengers went in for some very catchy themes, often derived in the late Fifties from fashionably earthy blues and gospel elements. It is not clear who originated the back-to-the-gospel root movement known as Funk.

Charlie Mingus later claimed he did with his churchy pieces 'Better Git It In Your Soul' and 'Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting', but Horace Silver was the first to record with his hummable theme 'The Preacher' (based on 'Show Me The Way To Go Home'). For a while Silver specialized in funky pieces with his popular band, an outfit similar to the Messengers with whom Silver had started out but given its own character by Silver's own compositions and spare, percussive piano playing.

Blakey recorded a number of examples of the genre, notably the hit 'Moanin' while the bluesy pianist Bobby Timmons was in his band. The basic inspiration probably came from Ray Charles whose appearance was one of the big musical events of the Fifties but in the long run it was the altoist Julian 'Cannonball Adderley' who persisted longest with this Bop plus Blues and Gospel mix and gained the greatest popularity from it.

The appeal of Funk or Hard Bop was connected with a new interest in black roots. It was also based on a deliberate search for popularity.

The Blues were, and are still one of the perennially crowd-pleasing ingredients in jazz. (Other manifestations of them at this time were organ jazz and the honking and hollering tenor and organ combos, like those led by Lockjaw Davis). Both impulses, black consciousness and the quest for popularity played important parts in the next phases of the development of jazz.

Next Time in Part 7 - Free Jazz  ^

Catch Up
The History Of Jazz Part 1 - Where It All Began
The History Of Jazz Part 2 - Jazz In The Twenties
The History Of Jazz Part 3 - The Age Of Swing
The History Of Jazz Part 4 - Then Came Bebop

The History Of Jazz Part 5 - The Sound Of Cool  ^

Wes George
Blog Page - Facebook.com/streetjazzblogpage6

Also See :-
* Gil Evans - Out Of The Cool Review
* Paul Desmond - Take Ten Review
* Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz / Gilbert Review
* Art Blakey - Moanin' Review
* Julie London - Around Midnight Review
* Round Midnight DVD Review
* Dave Brubeck - Time Out Review
* Charlie Parker - Now's The Time Review
* Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin Review
* John Coltrane - Blue Train Review
Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue Review
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Personal Notes - WELCOME TO THE WINTER OF 2020


This article is written today with my Business Consultant / Marketer’s Hat ( of some 50 years, 6 with major record label Sony Jazz) on as well as my Radio Station Producer’s hat on.  Having retired from the corporate world I tend not to air my business thoughts these days, BUT ‘Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures‘ and this series of articles may interest the professionals working in the jazz music genre.  With hundreds of new music releases passing over my computer’s virtual desktop each week, plus chatting with the artists on a daily basis I am in a useful position to comment.  These thoughts and ideas are only my personal observations.

As we approach the end of what has been a devastating year for our planet and the sad loss of life to more than one million souls I personally think it is a ‘Time for Reflection and Change‘ for our jazz genre and the people who are involved in the industry. The lockdowns have prevented the musicians from traveling and performing and the knock-on-effect to the rest of the industry has been nothing short of devastating and catastrophic with no ‘Quick Guaranteed Fix‘ in the short term.

Our planet is not only suffering from the ‘Coronavirus‘ pandemic it has been suffering for some time now with the ‘Data Overload‘ pandemic with people’s attention span challenged to the max, mobile phones, social media and internet websites all providing information by the nanosecond which computers might be able to assimulate, but can we disseminate it ?

The proliferation of Smart Phones means that the average human being needs a third hand and another set of eyes on the top of their heads to stop bumping into lampposts or driving into the car in front, these devices are used as 'telephones only' as a small percentage of the time by the people, but mostly for texting, looking at social media or emails. (Personally I don't use these phones anymore as I want to talk to other human beings)

The restrictions this year have meant that musicians have been confined to their homes, they have been writing new material and releasing it and many have been offering home performances via YouTube and other media, some events have even turned into 'Pay Per View'. However when can they return to performing again per se ?

'Data Overload' has meant that very little of the content is actually read and even less acted upon with people skimming over data and perhaps reading something from a personality or a friend. The fact is that people have a very short attention span and as we say in the UK ‘This morning’s News, tonight’s Chip Wrappers‘ i.e. what was important and newsworthy at 8 a.m. was used to wrap up the Fish and Chips at a takeaway that very same evening.

So focussing on what I see happening now is that artists are releasing new music faster than ever before, but I must question the business logic behind it, (I am a lateral thinker). Most artists that I speak to tell me ‘it costs them more money to produce a song than they ever get back in sales‘, many do it once and get their fingers metaphorically burnt when they see the return. Now as a Business Consultant I would recommend that ‘No-one should be in business to lose money', if it is a hobby then that is another matter, but draw the line. Any CEO or Business Owner will be looking at the Bottom Line and asking the question ‘Did We Make Any Money ?’


In the past artists could supplement their income by performing, playing as session musicians, teaching etc etc but the change in the landscape has narrowed their options and it may require a rethink of what they do in future. If they are part-time musicians and have another profession this may not matter so much, but if you are a professional musician or someone working in one of the ancilliary services, such as production, recording, promotion etc etc it may be time to centralize your approach (I will discuss some ideas in later articles) whereby you have some commonality or a central location whereby you can save time when looking for a session musician to play on your project, looking for a studio to record in, or looking for a vocalist to sing on your new production etc etc.

What I see every day is that the independent artists are all doing the same thing in much the same way, I summize that they spend more time marketing and promoting than what their main function is, writing and playing, unfortunately most are not marketers and follow the Lemming Effect and do what everyone else does. i.e. they  have  a Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Page, or maybe a YouTube Channel and they send messages out to their friends and followers. Unfortunately with the Data Overload Effect 99% of their marketing effort and associated timescale that it takes means that it goes unread and unactioned i.e. wasted. Note : - 'Telling Is Not Selling'.

(Note :- Marketers please excuse my incursion into some marketing theory in this next section)

There is a marketing phenomenon called the ‘Erosion Factor‘ which I used from my days in Corporate Marketing. Using just one of the marketing elements i.e. Direct Mail. If I posted out 10,000 mailers (with postage, printing and conceptual development costs, envelopes etc etc) to a Cold Target Market, 90% of them were binned unopened, 90% of the remaining 10% already had one and from the remainder 1 in 10 may have actually ‘bought the product or service'. So from 10,000 original mailers and the associated cost involved – we sold circa 10 units.  That is The Erosion Factor and very common and the time spent by musicians today sending out information by the second on FaceBook Groups and in Mailers is time spent very, very poorly in my opinion. 

The fact that most 'Friends' on FaceBook are just aquaintances is a huge factor and people asking you to LIKE them is a fool's illusion I believe. Loyalty is from people who believe in you and who are satisfied from a previous project or believe in your ethos.

Another theory is that ‘Satisfied Customers Mean Repeat Business‘, so sell one and the customer will come back for another (not of the same album or single perhaps, but a new project), conversely ‘The best marketing in the world will only sell a poor product once‘ and remember 'A Sale Is Only A Sale When It Is Paid For' until then it is a liability on the P & L report. Once again Feedback and Evaluation is critical.

I think today’s musicians want to examine some marketing principles before spending time on a Scatter Gun Approach to their advertising, understanding that whilst Sales has something to do with Marketing, Marketing has everything to do with Sales and the high cost of producing a project now may mean that in future that artists may want to get reviews or feedback BEFORE they release a project rather than afterwards.

(The 7 Stages Of Marketing are :-   (1) Idea Generation, (2) Idea Screening, (3) Concept Development and Testing, (4) Building a Market Strategy, (5) Product Development, (6) Market Testing and Market (7) Commercialization ( i.e. selling ).  As someone who has always been customer orientated ( without customers you have no business ), I would add another (8) Customer Feedback.)

Musicians may choose all or some of these, but they will have (1) Conceptional Idea of a New Project ), (2) Share the idea around with people you trust for comment and synergetic input, (3) Finalize a draft Would Be Project, (4, 5 & 6). Send it to people you know for comment BEFORE YOU LAUNCH IT.

If the project is well received as original with potential, (I will discuss the market segmentation of Innovators, Me Too and Laggards in a later article) then move to your NORMAL SALES METHODOLOGY IF IT WORKS (7), but after 3, 6, 12 and 24 months check out PURCHASERS' FEEDBACK, i.e. in the form of reviews, directly to people you have sold to, or numbers sold through the outlets selling your project.

Always make a note of ALL COSTS FOR THE PROJECT and then notate and compare after set timescales ( 3, 6, 12 or 24 months ) and ask the question ‘Did the project make money ? ‘, ‘Did the project achieve other targeted goals ?‘ i.e. advertise my talents to others, made my name more prevalent in the marketplace etc etc.

Next time :- Adding Value, Differentiating The Product, Product Perception and a Jazz Music Central Idea

Also see :-
* Submitting Your Music To Us
Recording Liners to Support Your Music
Get a Free Radio Advert
Time Out Shows


For 26 years JAZZNET247 RADIO EUROPE has been trying to help the Jazz Genre and Todays' Jazz Musicians.

Although we have no funding or commercialisation on our project we have been trying to help the artist by :-

* Showcasing as many New Releases each week
* Reporting their New Music each week
* Playing the Liners they record across our Jazz Channels
* Offering a Free Radio Advert played aross our Channels
* Our TIME OUT shows whereby the Artists presents it
* Offering Advice to individuals who have become friends
   along the way

We have some new ideas for 2021 including :-
* A New Release Gallery with Contact and Buying options
* A Music Recommendation Gallery for Music Collectors
* A Featured Artist Of The Week on Personal Notes
* A Jazz Music Central page whereby jazz industry     professionals can find one another easily, currently under   development

JazzNet247 Radio Europe - Helping Today's Jazz Musicians.

Please Pass On Our Link to your Like Minded Friends


Following on from our HISTORY OF JAZZ SERIALIZATION which is ongoing and will have 10 parts we will continue with The BOSSA NOVA STORY which will also have 10 parts reliving how this magical music came to life and the artists and influences who created it and who continued its legacy.


Also see :-
* Our DREAMS OF RIO Channel
* Submitting Your Bossa Nova Music To Us


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Circa 75% of our Listeners are non native English speakers so our shows are tailored to suit this and provide Visual Information as to the Artists and Track Titles and Cover Artwork of the songs they listened to.

All of our 8 Jazz Channels are linked via our website's Home Page plus links to our other features.


Wes George (former Webmaster with Sony Jazz UK)  
Blog Page - Facebook.com/streetjazzblogpage6 top of page
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