This chapter describes the years that led up to the height of jazz, the time of the famed “free for all” jamming sessions at Minton's Playhouse in New York City, where anyone would come up and play: some posing, some good, and some giants. This lively scene led to the birth in 1945 of a form which differentiated the time's players from their elders—bebop. Bebop was met with excitement, not only because of its novelty and form, but also because of the hipness of its crowd and its emotional intensity. It came to mean different things to different people: a fad, rebellion against too much codification of music, the bohemian lifestyle. However, bebop burned out in 1950, in part due to the exploitative and adverse economic circumstances of beboppers. After that, the future of jazz seemed uncertain. But in spite of its shortness, bebop is one of the roots of hard bop, and played an important part in shaping it.
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