Hard Bop

As a reaction to the more laid back style of cool jazz and west coast jazz, in the mid-1950s some musicians returned etc the ethos of bebop, but combined it with the gospel influences and the emerging styles of rhythm and blues. They created a 'funkier' type of music that was more blues-based, with simpler melodies. Some people called it 'funky hard bop', which pretty much sums it up. Some writers have suggested that hard bop was an attempt to recapture jazz as an overtly African-American art form, while drummer Shelley Manne thought it was more to do with environment, with west coast cool reflecting the Californian climate and hard bop being a product of the hyperactive environment of New York.

A number of notable jazz musicians adopted this style, and the Blue Note record label was influential in spreading its influence. Artists like Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Clifford Brown. 

In 1955 the Miles Davis Quintet (with John Coltrane was joint front man), became prominent in hard bop. The first albums to establish this style were the 1957 releases 'A Blowin' Session' — featuring John Coltrane (sax), Lee Morgan (trumpet), Paul Chambers (bass) and Art Blakey (drums) — and The Jazz Messengers' album 'Hard Bop', which gave the style its name.

Key Artists

John Coltrane

Horace Silver

Art Blakey

Lee Morgan

Sonny Rollins

Hank Mobley

Donald Byrd

Clifford Brown

Max Roach

If you want to commission your own music in this style, or would like more information or help, please contact us.