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On the heels of swing, bebop changed everything in jazz. Melodies, harmonies, and rhythms became much more complex, and as musicians adventured freely on solos within a new chordal structure, bebop removed itself from swing's dance floor. By 1945, bebop had uplifted jazz to an art form powered by players becoming virtuosos on their instruments. This guide profiles in depth the life and work of hundreds of great beboppers, including the giants: saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Bud Powell, drummer Max Roach, and pianist-composer Thelonious Monk. It also explores key artists such as Sarah Vaughan, Sonny Stitt, Charlie Christian, Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordon, and the young Miles Davis, plus such later figures as Phil Woods, Joe Pass, Barry Harris, and the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

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