Here are some quotations gleaned from the Down Beat magazine archives which make some interesting points.
Be-bop wasn’t developed in any deliberate way. For my part, I’ll say it was just the style of music I happened to play. We all contributed ideas, them men you know plus a fellow called Vic Coulsen, who had been with Parker and Al Hibbler in the McShann band. Vic had a lot to do with our way of phrasing.
Everyone came up to Minton’s to listen. All the fine musicians sat in – Pres, Charlie Christian. There’s no truth to the story that we purposely played weird things to keep our musicians outside the clique off the stand. All we asked was that the musician be able to handle himself. When he got up on that stand, he had to know.
But I think even Indian music has its origins in the African art form. You can see the influences. Whatever we do, it can be traced back to some of the African forms-there are so many. It’s like the languages; there might be a thousand dialects in one section of Africa, and the music has as many, if not more, dialects, you might say.
When America gets to the point that they won’t have to use styles to have people express what they do in a category, then the creativeness in all popular music is going to grow. When you think of rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm ‘n’ blues, they’re using the same notes but they say, “We’re playing this, we’re playing that.” But in Europe, years ago it was just what your name was. If your name was Jim, it was go and listen to Jim – not Jim plays the blues. It was just Jim doing what he’s doing. If that was the case in America, we’d all be a lot better. For instance, I never heard anyone say “white music,” but I hear everyone say “black music” – and I was black before there was music. That’s kind of a drag, and has nothing to do with music.