Swing to Bop: An Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s

By Ira Gitler | Go to book overview

8
End of an Era

As the decade came to a close, changes were taking place in the music and the way in which it was being presented. The big bands were in decline, and the emphasis was on the small groups. Charlie Parker recorded with Machito's Afro-Cuban orchestra. The fusion of Afro-Cuban music and jazz was a continuation of something Jelly Roll Morton had begun in New Orleans during jazz's earliest days. He called it "the Spanish Tinge" at the time. From then on, there were many attempts to use Latin American rhythm and music in jazz. Duke Ellington presented some of the most successful mixtures during the ʼ30s. In the late ʼ40s Dizzy Gillespie was the catalyst, utilizing rhythms and melodic material in his big band.

CHICO O'FARRILL I think mainly a person like Dizzy will always be looking for something new, something that would take him away from that straight-four type of rhythm. In other words, I think that's the point you can trace the search for--how you say--to reach a rhythmic approach because, let's face it, up to about bop, those swing-band rhythm sections were the dullest rhythm sections you can think of. There was really nothing from the point of view of rhythm there, and I think Latin music, especially what you call Afro-Cuban type rhythms, have rhythmic counterpoint that is so rich and probably goes hand in hand with the search for also more intricate rhythms that the boppers were after.

It has always been said that Dizzy was hipped to Latin music by Mario Bauza when they were in Cab Calloway's band.

CHICO O'FARRILL Mario has told me stories that he and Dizzy were roommates when they were with Cab Calloway, and Dizzy, to a certain extent, was very much intrigued already by this rhythm. I guess he would

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Swing to Bop: An Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Road 9
  • 2 - Roots and Seeds 32
  • 3 - Minton's and Monroe's 75
  • 4 - Fifty-Second Street 118
  • 5 - California 160
  • 6 - Big-Band Bop 184
  • 7 - The Bop Era 219
  • 8 - End of an Era 291
  • Epilogue 318
  • Index 321
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