I’m not a fan of Bebop – it’s not that I think it’s bad, per se – I just don’t understand it. Post-Swing Era jazz generally just leaves me cold, and I’m OK with that – it gives me more time to focus on music I like to dance to.
Today, I was highly amused to find Norma Miller’s take on it, which is a bit more extreme than mine. She just doesn’t mess around in her opinions. So here’s a take from one of the few remaining people who were on the scene when it all started. Enjoy 🙂
[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4XsLQU1CqA” title=”Norma%20on%20Bebpop”]
Post swing era jazz was not all be-bop, so for you to make that statement is cold. There was and still is plenty of swingin’ jazz that really does have a swing feel vs. a two-beat Charleston feel. I understand that Norma Miller was in a place where jazz was and still is very prevalent and where the beginning of many trends start and where the copy cats follow right along, but at that same time, there were and still are plenty of small group jazz bands that were playing music that was great for swing dancing, maybe not in Harlem or at the Savoy, but other places. A trend in one place doesn’t mean it’s a trend in another. Just my opinion!
Sounds like I’ve given a wrong impression here – yes, there’s plenty of great jazz, great jazz bands, and great jazz for dancers that’s been played since the Swing Era. It’s the evolution of jazz that has gone in directions that I personally don’t understand or like.
Norma often takes a pretty black-or-white view on things, which is what makes that video entertaining, as well as making me a little sad over the sense of loss that comes across. One of the key things in it that speaks to me is when she talks about Miles Davis having his back turned – one of the things I’ve always loved about so many of my favourite swing & trad bands is their desire to connect and engage with an audience, and that’s something that can often bring out the very best in a dancing audience. I just don’t get that from bop, or from a lot of the bop-influenced styles – and I think that’s one of the key things in what she’s saying.