[Dixielandjazz] Working hard at playing cool

Nancy Giffin nancyink@ulink.net
Sat, 10 Aug 2002 11:55:37 -0500

I'm always interested in posts about trad vs. bebop.
Just had a long chat with my 80-year-old dad, and one thing he shared was
his first experience going to a club to hear bebop for the first time back
in the 50s. 
His initial impression of bebop:
He said that everyone in the audience had very serious expressions and sat
very still and emotionless while sl-o-o-owly dragging on cigarettes in
l-o-o-ong holders. NO ONE was tappin' their foot because everyone was
expected to listen -- very intently. In his view, the musicians were all
"working hard" at "playing cool," the music was lacking melody, and solos
just sounded like a bunch of scales played up and down. All of it left him
cold. (Or did he mean cool?)
Question: Since I wasn't even born till '58, I'm clueless as to what was
going on in music and in the world at that time. Music history is not my
forte, so will someone older and wiser please fill me in on what the hell
happened to cause "cool" to replace "emotional" melody?
Thanks for feedback, on or off-list.
Love and hugs,