Bebop is THE fundamental language of Jazz and creates a lot if not most of the musical vocabulary in this music. Even in Modern Jazz and Fusion or Free with all of its pentatonics, hexatonics, intervallic and symmetrical structures you can hear bebop material connecting everything. All the major players like Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Roy Hargrove are exceptional good bebop players.
In the lessons part I want to point out some ideas of my teachers and myself how to develop a solid Bebop language. It’s a step-by-step system which starts with always a little amount of exercises and then gently adding new things to that.
The centre is focussed mainly on three scales. WHAT? ONLY three scales? Yes, but it’s true and it was such a relief for me, when my teacher showed me, how it works and it instantly felt like: YEAH MAN, that’s what I’m always hearing in my favorite solos!!!
The next thing I asked him was: „There are tons of books about Jazz improvisation, why is nobody writing about it?!?“ He said something like: „It’s not in the books, it’s on the records.“ This comes straight from transcribing and analyzing a huge amount of jazz and bebop solos. I got it from my teacher, Finn Wiesner at the Hochschule für Musik Dresden and he got it from his, Ferdinand Povel.
The next important thing is practicing. Sometimes we have to stay on an exercise for a very long time. Sometimes we don’t know when to move on to the next exercise. My experience: practice till it feels good and comfortable. Let’s say that the eight note line should be playable in tempo 200 in all keys is a good start.