Dig In: The Bebop Essentials Playlist

Jazz has its fair share of seminal moments, but there are few that feel as groundbreaking as the creation of bebop. The style — which was ushered into existence in the late 1940s and ’50s by pioneers like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and a handful of others — was a major leap in the evolution of jazz, turning musical concepts from the Swing Era on their head. Unlike its stylistic predecessors, bebop prioritized speed over smoothness, complexity over simplicity and art over entertainment, and its practitioners spoke an advanced musical language that would forever alter the way we thought about jazz harmony. Back in its day, bebop was described as the sound of the future. Today, that description still holds. It’s the single biggest influence on today’s top players.

If you’re new to bebop, this playlist is the place to start. Not only does it feature originators of the genre like Bird and Diz, but it also includes a handful of noteworthy players who, through the ensuing decades, have carried the bebop flame with pride. We’re calling them your Bebop Essentials. Time to dig in.

Listen on:

  1. A Night In Tunisia
    Charlie Parker
    The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes
  2. Salt Peanuts
    Dizzy Gillespie Quintet
    In Person
  3. Au Privave
    Sonny Stitt
    Sonny Stitt Sits In with the Oscar Peterson Trio
  4. Rhythm-A-Ning
    Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers featuring Thelonious Monk
    Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk
  5. Ko Ko
    Charlie Parker’s Reboppers
    High Flying Bird
  6. Un Poco Loco
    Bud Powell
    The Best of Bud Powell
  7. Cherokee
    Clifford Brown, Max Roach Quintet
    Study In Brown
  8. What Is This Thing Called Love?
    J.J. Johnson
    The Trombone Master
  9. Scrapple from the Apple
    Dexter Gordon
    Our Man In Paris
  10. In Walked Bud
    Thelonious Monk Trio
    Ruby My Dear
  11. Ornithology
    Charlie Parker
    The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes
  12. Jordu
    Barney Kessel, Shelley Manne, Ray Brown
    The Poll Winners
  13. Groovin’ High
    Cannonball Adderley, Milt Jackson
    Things Are Getting Better
  14. I Got Rhythm
    Oscar Peterson, Buddy DeFranco
    Buddy DeFranco and Oscar Peterson Play George Gershwin
  15. All the Things You Are
    Charlie Parker
    Brid After Dark
  16. Billie’s Bounce
    Charlie Parker and Miles Davis
    Bird & Miles
  17. Taking a Chance On Love
    Tal Farlow
    The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow
  18. Straight, No Chaser
    Miles Davis
    Milestones
  19. Confirmation
    Charlie Parker Quartet
    In Person
  20. Yardbird Suite
    Charlie Parker
    Savoy Jazz Super EP: Charlie Parker, Vol. 1
  21. Bouncin with Bud
    Bud Powell
    The Best of Bud Powell
  22. K.C. Blues
    Charlie Parker & Miles Davis
    The Best of Charlie Parker 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection
  23. I Know that You Know
    Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Stitt/Sonny Rollins
    Sonny Side Up
  24. Hot House
    Charlie Parker
    The Best of the Live Performances On Savoy
  25. Love for Sale
    Sonny Criss
    This Is Criss!
  26. 52nd Street Theme
    Bud Powell
    The Amazing Bud Powell Vol. 1
  27. Locomotion
    John Coltrane
    Blue Train
  28. Little Willie Leaps
    Miles Davis
    First Miles
  29. ‘Round Midnight
    Thelonious Monk
    The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings
  30. Things To Come
    Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band
    Things To Come

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