In the end of the nineteenth century, a catalog of music with its own unique style gradually formed in New Orleans, a subtropical city in the south of Louisiana. At the beginning, some African slaves always sung one kind of sad song to express their homesickness. With the development of these melodies in some decades, eventually, came out one independent catalog of music. People called it Jazz. Until now, jazz has been one of the most popular and earliest musical genres all over the world. Even it has already been one hundred years since the birth of jazz; today, there are still lots of people eager to be the audience of the jazz concert.
Due to the long time of the development of jazz, there consequently appear many different divisions from the original style. Blues, Ragtime, Bebop, Cool, Modern and many other styles are all the branches of the original jazz during the lengthy time of its advancement. These distinctive styles make jazz a kind of protean music. The diversity of jazz shows the huge success of its evolution and manifests its long history, as well.
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Among various styles of jazz, Bebop Jazz and Cool Jazz are two of the typical subclasses of jazz.
Bebop style started in the early 1940s but became popular until 1945. People regarded it as one extreme style of music at that time, due to the speed of playing and the strong transfer from one note to another while Cool Jazz began in 1940s developed on the base of the Bebop style. It is also called the “west coast jazz” because it relatively accumulated in the western coast of America until the 1950s. For example, Charlie Parker, a Bebop singer did his first clip in 1922 as a saxophonist and the team leader while Lester Young did his music in 1943 pulling the differences in saxophonist theme.
The second most obvious difference between Bebop Jazz and Cool Jazz is the rhythm. With no doubt, the speed of the Bebop is much quicker than that of the Cool Jazz. For example, John Birks’s clip contained trumpets that raised the pitch in the music as so to the rhythm as compared to cool music performed by west coast sound Jazz musician Miles Davis who composed his album with a slow rhythm.
The other difference generates from the feelings when we are listening to these two styles of jazz. Bebop Jazz gives people a feeling of nervousness and intensity resulting from the quick speed from one key to another, from one note to another. Usually, it requires the excellent ability and good proficiency of playing the trumpet or other instruments. These strong transfers from note to note also imbue Bebop style with a feeling of strength. Compared to these feelings of nervousness and strength, people feel more peaceful when they listen to the Cool Jazz. Performers will slow down the rhythm and mitigate the quick speed of transfer from one note to another to intensify the transitions to make the whole song milder.
In addition, Cool Jazz changes the mood of the Bebop style from nervous, passionate to sad or relaxed due to its palliative melody. Bebop Jazz is just like the zealous fire while the Cool Jazz is like the cool ice; Bebop Jazz is the erupting volcano while Cool Jazz is the peaceful lake; Bebop Jazz is like the struggling beast while Cool Jazz is like the docile cat.
Another difference between Bebop and Cool is the use of improvisations during performing. Bebop musician make harmony more complicated. There exists a process called re-harmonization which is a challenge by adding more chords or change around the song. Bebop musicians love re-harmonization and focus on improvisations in harmony. They just take the harmony part regardless rest of the melody, to make a new melody. Since then, the requirement of performers’ proficiencies of playing the instruments is quite high. On the contrary, there are not so much solo or improvisations when performing Cool Jazz. Cool Jazz emphasizes the whole structure of the songs to ensure the fluency and harmony of the songs. The ensemble structure is quite essential to the Cool Jazz.
Furthermore, the original inventions of these two styles of jazz started by different musicians with different characteristics. To some degree, this is the essential reason of generating the huge differences between these two jazz styles. The inventor of Bebop Jazz is Charlie Parker, a creative man with great skills of playing music and improvising. Charlie Parker is a bumbling person. He is the genius in music but cannot handle his own daily life very well. According to his boss and band mates, he is always late almost for every show. However, he can still perform and improvise well without the rehearsal (Harrison, Course Reader, p.301). Parker’s free characteristics help form the Bebop style which does not have a fine structure but lots of free styles. On balance, Charlie Parker used his inventiveness to change the Jazz world (Harrison, Course Reader, p.297). His contribution to Bebop Jazz will never be forgotten.
The inventor of Cool Jazz, Miles Davis, is not so free or freewheeling like Charlie Parker. Davis is more like a mannered student studying in the Julia Music School. Consequently, his genre is fine-structured. He is not as brilliant in music as Charlie Parker, so Davis does not try a lot of improvisations. He just changes the mood and slows down the rhythm and creates a brand new style of jazz which is gentle and extremely comfortable.
Regardless of the enormous differences between Bebop Jazz and Cool Jazz, they are both the divisions of the great catalog of music Jazz. They both represent the intelligence and creativity of that generation of musicians. Whatever Bebop or Cool or other styles of jazz, they are all important to the development of the jazz world. It is necessary to preserve them in the future. Jazz performed by Clintel Ross was creative music song by his singers showing the importance of engaging in elections, to choose potential leaders- this is a characteristic of Bebop Jazz. In most cases, like that of Christopher Belen’s, music is the “alteration”, the music is not considered creative a clear example of cool music. Cool music, in most cases, is sung for fun.
Although there are huge differences between the feelings these two styles arise, they still do not decline the regular style of jazz. Performers change the way of playing the instruments to modify the moods of songs. However, they do not change the classic style and feelings of the original jazz. Both styles are still jazz music.
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