Welcome to Hard Bop Eights, a series of eight-bar solos on jazz and African-American culture of the 1950s and ’60s.
Hard Bop was a style that emerged in the mid-‘50s as a response both to the “cool jazz” phenomenon and to Bebop, which was played extremely fast and had very difficult chord progressions. Hard Bop slowed things down, and had a more soulful groove. It was a conscious effort to return to the music’s blues roots, but still express the unique character of such dynamic musicians of the postwar era as Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Hank Mobley, Benny Golson, and Art Farmer.
As Hard Bop marked a return to a certain sensibility, I hope these entries will look back in a useful way at an explosive period for our culture, and its ongoing influence.
While jazz will be an important element of Hard Bop Eights, I’ll be examining the then newly-integrated world of sports, as well as television, film, radio and the civil rights movement. Interviews, essays, reviews and contemporary press accounts will be part of the mix.
As Art Blakey so frequently said before a Messengers number, “We sincerely hope you enjoy…” Hard Bop Eights.