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Miles Davis, Miles Smiles, and the Invention of Post Bop

C. Michael Bailey By

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The author describes this music thus: "Forms, tempos, and meters are freer, all the compositions are new, and the band members themselves are featured composers...[music] that did not follow the conventions of bop or the apparently formless freedom of the new jazz." Miles Smiles proves to be an exceptional example by hosting three pieces (Jimmy Heath's "Gingerbread Boy," Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," and Wayne Shorter's "Footprints") that were previously recorded. The listener can listen to these selections side by side with the originals and hear exactly how well developed is Davis' new vision.

Yudkin closes with a definition of post bop: ..".an approach that is abstract and intense in the extreme, with space created for rhythmic and coloristic independence of the drummer—an approach that incorporated modal and chordal harmonies, flexible form, structured choruses, melodic variation, and free improvisation." That about sums up the sub-genre of jazz that has dominated the music since the late 1960s.

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