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New Releases New Releases
We've got a big selection of brand new jazz releases this season including albums from Diana Krall, Chris Potter, Evan Parker, Verneri Pohjola & Eliane Elias. There's reissues featuring Billie Holiday & Art Ensemble of Chicago, some previously unreleased live Bill Evans, an assortment of 180g ECM vinyls and a new recording of Tomasz Stanko's New York Quartet. Browse all that's new here!
Gearbox 180g Vinyl LPs - NEW! Gearbox 180g Vinyl LPs - NEW!
We are now stocking many of the audiophile 180g range of vinyl records from the Gearbox label. Gearbox has its own vinyl mastering studio and releases extremely high quality, previously unavailable vinyl cuts from the jazz and blues archives. If you enjoy British jazz in the best fidelty possible then come inside the Gearbox store and treat yourself!
ECM Vinyl Sale - NEW + LIMITED STOCK ECM Vinyl Sale - NEW + LIMITED STOCK
One of our suppliers has been digging through their warehouse and discovered a large batch of extremely rare ECM Vinyl titles (some of which have never been released on CD). So, we're offering them all out and once they're gone, they're gone for good. Hurry, strictly limited stocks.
Artistry In Rhythm: Early Jazz, Big Bands & Swing Artistry In Rhythm: Early Jazz, Big Bands & Swing
Perhaps the most significant moment in the formative years of jazz was in the arrival on the scene of Louis Daniel Armstrong, initially heard in the bands of King Oliver (famed for taking the original New Orleans sound further afield) and Fletcher Henderson, moving the emphasis from group playing to improvised soloing. His own hot fives and sevens from the later 1920s are justifiably worshipped for their astounding poetry. 'Wild Man Blues', 'Potato Head Blues' and 'West End Blues' took the music to a previously unknown level of artistry.

This section includes these milestone recordings, in addition to other important figures in early jazz, swing and big band sounds. Bix Beiderbecke's understated lyricism- in direct contrast to Armstrong- can be found here, as can the jungle and sophistication of Ellington, the hot Kansas sounds of Basie, and the popular swing bands of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. Pioneering soloists that emerged from some of these bands included Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges and their records are here too..

Now's The Time: Bud, Bird & Bebop Now's The Time: Bud, Bird & Bebop
Jazz's popularity during the thirties was chiefly in the form of swing bands and combos, like those of Count Basie, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, as well as the popular Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller, whose sounds were a great comfort to troops during the war. A number of these outfits nurtured a new breed of musicians who, after fighting ceased in 1945, began to rebuild the music.

Chord sequences from established tunes were now being used as the basis for newly composed melodies that were frequently played at fast tempos. An intellectual and sartorial elegance was in the air, berets were worn, goatees grown and bebop was born, largely due to Dizzy Gillespie (Diz) and Charlie Parker (Bird). This new music, harmonically and rhythmically complex and regarded by many as esoteric at the time, transformed the way jazz was played and listened to forever. Look here for Diz, Bird and other leading beboppers like Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Erroll Garner, Dexter Gordon & Fats Navarro.

Miles Ahead: Miles Davis & John Coltrane Miles Ahead: Miles Davis & John Coltrane
Like Armstrong, the horn of Miles Davis is present throughout five decades and in many key developments of jazz, from the important early experiments of bebop in Charlie Parker's group with Dizzy, the birth of the cool with Gerry Mulligan and Gil Evans (1948-50), through to the classic quintets and sextets of the fifties and sixties, most notably that which created the seminal 'Kind of Blue' in 1959, featuring the extraordinary tenor soloing of John Coltrane. Miles went on to electrification by the end of the 1960s, turning his back on the accoustic post-bop modernism of his quintet with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, and moving increasingly towards a rock-based approach (check out the 'Crossings: Miles, Mahavishnu & Fusion' section for this period of his music).

Trane formed his own outfit after leaving Miles, creating some groundbreaking music of his own, lots of it taped by Blue Note (only 'Blue Trane' under his own leadership), Prestige (many sessions, including significant dates with Thelonious Monk) & Atlantic Records. Of the discs cut for the latter, 'Giant Steps' and 'My Favourite Things' display an apetite for experiment and a growing authority on both tenor and soprano saxophones. Moved by Ornette, he turned increasingly towards freedom and a search for things more explicitly spiritual throughout the 1960s, this period documented in an incredible series of live recordings and in the studio for Impulse. For these later sides, check out the section 'New York Is Now: Ornette & Free Jazz'.

Body & Soul: Billie, Ella & The Great Jazz Voices Body & Soul: Billie, Ella & The Great Jazz Voices
Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald arguably remain the two greatest vocalists in jazz and in this section you can browse through some of their finest recordings and those of their peers. Holiday's distinctive tone- raw and not completely formed though stylistically brilliant from the outset, even on the earliest sides- can be heard across dozens of albums that gather together small group sessions with the likes of Teddy Wilson, Lester Young & Buck Clayton, cut for the Vocalion and Commodore labels in the 1930s and 40s. She went on to cut sides for Decca and, during the 1950s, many dates for Norman Granz's Verve Records. She became ravaged in time by an abuse-filled life fueled by a cocktail of drink and drugs, and her world-weary approach reflects this. By the time she cut her last sides in 1958-59 her lifestyle had caught up with her, somewaht chillingly illustrated with her string-backed 'Lady In Satin'. Holiday's music has an edge to it, probably because she lived and felt every word she sang, and virtually everything she did on record is essential.

Similarly so with Ella, possessed of an altogether different set of pipes, mellow, articulate, a fine scatter and one of the greatest performers of popular song. Her early days with Chick Webb were often novelty-orientated, though later, under the direction of Granz, she cut the songbook series for Verve (Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen etc) and these are simply magnificent and indispensable documents of the singer at her peak.

Look here also for the likes of the underrated Helen Merrill, Blossom Dearie, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O'Day, and Dinah Washington, plus the great Nat 'King' Cole and Frank Sinatra.

A Swingin' Affair: Blue Notes & Hard Bop Classics A Swingin' Affair: Blue Notes & Hard Bop Classics
'Hard bop was Cookin'. Hard Bop was Smokin'. Hard bop was Steamin'. Sometimes it was only Strollin' or Struttin', and occasionally it was Relaxin', but mostly it was Burnin'. As documented by Kenny Mathieson in his excellent book 'Cookin' (Canongate), bop became hardened as the likes of drummer Art Blakey and pianist Horace Silver began to sprinkle blues and gospel elements into the harmonically complex pot of bebop.

Their recordings, made both individually and with the group they founded in 1954, The Jazz Messengers, exemplify those very characteristics and defined the style that Blue Note Records made their own imprint of. Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion, Blue Note has consistently documented and captured the spirit of jazz in its many forms for over six decades but it was in the hybrid of hardbop that it emerged the most distinctive and fashionable record label in jazz, both musically with its high quality recordings and visually with its impeccable sleeve designs. With a revolving rota of Hubbards, Morgans and Mobleys for each others albums as leaders, these records are absolutely essential in any collection of jazz. Look here also for the best in hard bop from other labels like Prestige and Riverside.

Movin' & Groovin': More Blue Notes & Soul Jazz Movin' & Groovin': More Blue Notes & Soul Jazz
Hardbop interacted with several musical strains, most notably r 'n' b and gospel music. The heavy beats and blues in what became known as 'soul-jazz' found its ideal medium in the hammond organ, via the combo groups of artists like Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Big John Patton, plus guitarists Kenny Burrell and Grant Green. Look here also for 'Cannonball' Adderley, Donald Byrd, & Lou Donaldson. Let em' roll!
West Coast & Cool: Baker, Mulligan, Getz & More West Coast & Cool: Baker, Mulligan, Getz & More
A number of years after Miles Davis's legendary 'Birth of the Cool' recordings, a whole new movement of cool jazz, inspired by that magical sound, began to come out of the West. Largely down to Gerry Mulligan, unsuprisingly enough as he had been instrumental in the nonet's work, and Chet Baker, whose restrained, lyricism echoed that of Davis, much of this category was taped by Pacific Jazz and Contemporary.

For Columbia Records, Dave Brubeck's cerebral quartet- featuring the glorious alto of Paul Desmond- experimented with time signatures unfamiliar, scoring a hit with 'Take Five' and the album it came off, 'Time Out' (1959). Look in this section too for the likes of Andre Previn, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars, and Stan Getz's own brand of cool.

Destination Out! Beyond Bebop Destination Out! Beyond Bebop
As hard bop began to fade in the early sixties, some of its chief protagonists began to explore boundaries still within a swinging bop context but deconstructing and expanding it to its very limits. Charles Mingus once proclaimed he did not play jazz at all, but one can only look on albums like 'Pithecanthropus Erectus', 'Mingus Ah Um', and 'The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady' as artistic triumphs, jazz ones or not.

Blue Note continued to tape the funkier strains of soul jazz alongside the more experimental projects, like Dolphy's Out To Lunch, Andrew Hill's Point Of Departure and Sam Rivers' 'Fuchsia Swing Song'. Like Trane and many others, Jackie McLean became fascinated by the free jazz of Ornette Coleman and records like 'Destination Out' display perfectly how the musicians, even as early as 1963, were beginning to bid bop a fond farewell.

New York Is Now: Ornette and Free Jazz New York Is Now: Ornette and Free Jazz
The radical conception of the album 'Free Jazz' by Ornette Coleman, taped by Atlantic Records in 1960, took jazz in a new direction. Jazz writer and photographer Val Wilmer once said that 'Coleman is probably the most influential single figure in African-American art music since Charlie Parker.' Coltrane and Rollins rethought their approaches to the music and the sound and fury of the avant-garde symbolized the thirst for freedom of the black American.

Trane was taking his music to even more frenzied heights of expression and spirituality, cutting the seminal 'A Love Supreme' (1964-5) and his own noisy, gestural, almost overwhelming free jazz recording, Ascension' (1965). Within months, his established rhythm section of McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones could no longer remain in such territories, being replaced by Trane's wife Alice (who recorded her own music for Impulse after her husband's death in 1967) and Rashid Ali. Look here too for the best albums in the discographies of Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler amongst others.

Crossings: Miles, Mahavishnu & Fusion Crossings: Miles, Mahavishnu & Fusion
One of the major turning points in jazz history was brought about by a man who had been the vanguard of many throughout the music's development over three decades- Miles Davis. In A Silent Way (1969) ushered in a new dawn of experimentation doused in rock music influences and deploying electrical instruments. This, and the subsequent Bitches Brew, introduced to many listeners the guitar of John McLaughlin and the keyboards of Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul, artists who became key players in the development of jazz fusion through the 1970s.

McLaughlin's brew was not only rock-derived but spiced with a mix of flamenco and eastern music, Corea's danced in classical, free jazz and Latin forms, whilst Zawinul's Weather Report was successful in bringing fusion to a mainstream audience, most notably with the commercially successful album Heavy Weather (1976). Look also in this section for albums by Jaco Pastorius and the funkier fusion of Herbie Hancock.

Changes: Post-Bop Modernists Changes: Post-Bop Modernists
With the advent of jazz rock and funk-driven fusion, many found the 1970s a tough time economically for jazz away from the electric pianos and fender basses. Many turned to commercialism at this time, though a myriad of artists sought more expressive alternatives. To quote Stuart Nicholson in his book 'Jazz: The Modern Resurgence' (Simon & Shuster, 1990), the term post-bop is 'more label than definition. Post-bop isn't free or fusion or hardbop or mainstream'.

The 70s, 80s and 90s saw jazz evolving into a truly global music, embracing the influence of many cultures and styles. Jazz in Europe now makes an increasingly important contribution, keenly illustrated by the success of Manfred Eicher's ECM label that mixes its own blend of experimentalism with moody, classical-like ambiences. Look here for significant post-modernists that cut many albums for the label like Jan Garbarek and Eberhard Weber, plus Americans Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. You'll also find British modernists in this section like Tommy Smith, John Surman & Tony Coe, plus Canadians Kenny Wheeler, Paul Bley and many more.

In The Tradition: Mainstream & The Bop Revivalists In The Tradition: Mainstream & The Bop Revivalists
As an antidote to jazz rock and the experimentalism of free jazz in changing times, many artists and listeners still regard the swing and bebop styles to be the pinnacle of jazz playing. 'Bebop', said Dave Liebman, 'is the callisthenics of jazz improvisation'. Upon the emergence of bebop in the 1940s, swing players either joined the boppers (as did Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young etc) or continued to play their own music, and those that survived continued to do this across several decades.

Carl Jefferson's Concord label virtually invented the term 'mainstream' and their catalogue is home to artists that have moved swing into the modern age to establish this jazz sub-genre, like saxophonist Scott Hamilton, pianist Monty Alexander, Ruby Braff etc. Look in this section too for the greatest modern purveyors of bebop and older forms like Wynton Marsalis, plus others operating within the tradition like Americans Kenny Garrett and Roy Hargrove, plus British artists like Joe Temperley, Kathy Stobart and others.

Current Events: New Jazz and Beyond Current Events: New Jazz and Beyond
Essentially, everything new in jazz that doesn't fit into the sections above. Look here for the very latest stuff, including lots of fine British jazz, some modern singers we like including Diana Krall, Claire Martin and Tina May, current Scandinavians such as Bobo Stenson, Beady Belle and Silje Nergaard, plus crossover artists like Norah Jones and Lizz Wright.
Compilation Albums Compilation Albums
Look here for some interesting anthologies, some for the newcomer to jazz, others for the specialist. We have several of the wonderful Songbook collections on Verve and some excellent Blue Notes.
Jazz On Film: Videos & DVDs Jazz On Film: Videos & DVDs
Our section devoted to jazz on film. Look here for the excellent TDK Jazz Icons series plus the Impro-Jazz & Rhapsody Films labels and more..
Jazz Gallery Jazz Gallery
Our gallery features the work of the finest jazz photographers including Herb Snitzer, Lee Tanner & Jimmy Katz,. All our jazz prints are of the highest quality, many in signed limited editions. Look here too for posters (now at a special sale price) & other jazz-related merchandise.

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