The Birth of Bebop

By Scott DeVeaux (1997)
According to Scott DeVeaux, who has been called the Bud Powell of jazz historians, no single, completely inclusive definition of jazz exists; all that remains to define it is its vigorous evolution. Accordingly, jazz historians are “obsessed with continuity and consensus, even–perhaps especially– when the historical record suggests disruption and dissent.” Bebop, such a self-effacing, clownish term that in no way suggests the complexities of its sounds and rhythms, would become synonymous with a whole new musical sensibility, thought by some to herald nothing less than a revolution. DeVeaux succumbs neither to the evolution nor revolution analysis, but creates an intricate historical weave that sets bebop in the broader social and political contexts.

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