The True Architects of the Great American Songbook

Hundreds, if not thousands of biographies have navigated their way through the advent of Jazz in the 20th Century. They meticulously detail, often with overt romanticism, the lives and times of Bebop and beyond. If one were to look at Jazz in a historical context from these narratives alone, one would be content with the belief that Jazz was a revolutionary struggle against the powers that be, that Bebop was an organic evolution of radical thinking in radical times. However, the birth of Bebop was a largely chemical endeavor enabled by heroin-laced virtuoso’s, a fact that is in no way surprising. The forces surrounding that narcotics trade and ‘culture of cool’ however, can be. Bebop is considered to be a rebellious musical outcry of an oppressed community, however, it was encouraged, funded and medicated by the very same forces those musicians and their cultural counterparts were ostensibly opposing.