Thanks to bebop and cool jazz synthetization, hard bop became a thing. This style is characterized by the colorful blues and soul, as well as its characteristic gospel sound, and it began to develop in the middle of the last century. The most popular representatives of this subgenre of jazz are Sonya Rollins, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver.
Hard bop is often recognized as the creation of African-American jazz artists during the period when blues was extremely popular in black neighborhoods. It is also often referred to as “funky”, it refers to the melodic structure and rhythm of the songs. It is very easy and satisfying to dance to those melodies, they were practically made for this exact purpose, to dance to. The word “soul” is also quite often used in the context of hard bop, which refers to the gospel aspect of the music, the frequent use of amen chords and triads. The word soul holds a lot of meaning in the African-American culture, it refers to a lot of things, but the origin of this term comes from music. There are also quite a few subgenres of soul music, such as blue eyed soul, Latin soul, neo soul, hip hop soul, psychedelic jazz, Memphis soul, southern soul, etc. As you can see, just as with any other subgenre of jazz music, it became a beacon of creativity to many artists and even generations. Hard bop is synonymous with black culture and AfricanAmerican music, it accompanied them through the harshest periods of their lives, through oppression, racism, fight for their civil rights, and wars.
The development and formation of hard bop
In the early 50s of the last century, the style of jazz, which was called hard bop, became very popular. In a very harmonious way, it was supplemented with elements of gospel, soul, blues, and even some modal jazz.
Bebop artists invented hard bop, or as it is called the heavy kind of bebop. In the beginning, it was similar to the traditional sound of bop, as in regards to its characteristics of performance, its intensity, and aggressiveness. But it should be noted that later it became its own thing, getting away from the standard song structure, focusing on the rhythm of the blues and drive.
One of the most influential groups that played hard bop in style was The Jazz Messengers. The combo was formed in the mid-50s of the last century, they were able to create a septet that was constantly developed and improved. Due to this, the sectional rhythm improved significantly due to the inclusion of percussion and piano instruments, and the style itself gained a sense of fluidity. The band performed until the early 80s, and in its history, it brought up a large number of performers, which include Hank Mobley and Johnny Griffin.
Thus, hard-bop is distinguished by fiery soloing, which, along with improvisation and very strong harmonious components, is quite important for a musician playing a wind instrument.