'Stabat Mater'

bebop edition

The "Stabat Mater" is a 13th-century Christian hymn to Mary, which portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Its author may be either the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, "Stabat Mater dolorosa", which means "the sorrowful mother was standing".[4]  Wikipedia

At Esther’s Christmas Eve party, her younger sister Rose is playing random sides of Handel . . .

George Frideric Handel, (born February 23, 1685, Halle, Brandenburg [Germany]—died April 14, 1759, London, England), German-born English composer of the late Baroque era, noted particularly for his operasoratorios, and instrumental compositions. He wrote the most famous of all oratorios, Messiah (1741), and is also known for such occasional pieces as Water Music (1717) and Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749). ~Britannica

It is interesting that much of the music mentioned in The Recognitions is “classical”. Occasionally it noted that the juke box is playing a pop tune, but these seem antiquated at best. The real thing that was happening then, of course, was Bebop.—but if mentioned at all in The Recognitions, it’s only to degrade it.

Emerging in the early ‘40s as a reaction to swing’s codified function as dance music, bebop empowered young players to pursue an explicitly virtuosic yet breathlessly fun new sound. Pioneers like saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Bud Powell, and drummer Max Roach accelerated tempos, experimented with complex chord and key changes, and engaged in heroic, harmony-based improvisation, developing a template that many still regard as the standard for small-group jazz. By the late ‘50s, that approach had been streamlined, but these fiery acts of fiercely driving derring-do remain unparalleled in their influence. ~Apple Music Jazz: “Bebop Essentials”

"Twisted" is a 1952 vocalese song with lyrics by Annie Ross, set to a tenor saxophone solo of the same name by Wardell Gray that was recorded in 1949. It has been covered by Bette MidlerJoni Mitchell, and many others.

"Twisted" is a whimsical account of the protagonist's insanity that satirises psychoanalysis.[1][2] In 1952, Ross met Prestige Records owner Bob Weinstock, who asked her to write lyrics to a jazz solo, in a similar way to King Pleasure, a practice that would later be known as vocalese. The next day, she presented him with "Twisted", a treatment of saxophonist Wardell Gray's 1949 composition of the same name, a classic example of the genre.[3][4][5] ~Wiki

OK! So, clearly you can tell that I’ve been listening to a LOT of bebop to put me into the right headspace for The Recognitions. Interestingly, it reminded me of a “guitar phase” I went through in the early 90s. Back then, I listened heavily to Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and Robert Johnson.

Now, trying to sort that all out, I have no sense of when those cats were active. Were I to guess, I would say Robert Johnson was the oldest from somewhere around the turn of the century. Django not long after, and then Charlie Christian sometime in the 30s. And you know what? I’d be totally wrong!

Jean Reinhardt (23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953), known to all by his Romani nickname Django, was a Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer. He was the first major jazz talent to emerge from Europe and remains the most significant.[2][3]

With violinist Stéphane Grappelli,[1] Reinhardt formed the Paris-based Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934. The group was among the first to play jazz that featured the guitar as a lead instrument.[4] Reinhardt recorded in France with many visiting American musicians, including Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, and briefly toured the United States with Duke Ellington's orchestra in 1946. He died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 43. ~Wiki

Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American bluesguitarist, singer, and songwriter. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. He is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly the Delta blues style. ~Wiki

Charles Henry Christian (July 29, 1916 – March 2, 1942) was an American swing and jazz guitarist.

Christian was an important early performer on the electric guitar and a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz. He gained national exposure as a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra from August 1939 to June 1941. His single-string technique, combined with amplification, helped bring the guitar out of the rhythm section and into the forefront as a solo instrument. For this, he is often credited with leading to the development of the lead guitar role in musical ensembles and bands. John Hammond[1] and George T. Simon[2] called Christian the best improvisational talent of the swing era. In the liner notes to the album Solo Flight: The Genius of Charlie Christian (Columbia, 1972), Gene Lees wrote that "Many critics and musicians consider that Christian was one of the founding fathers of bebop, or if not that, at least a precursor to it."[3]

Christian's influence reached beyond jazz and swing. In 1990, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the category Early Influence. ~ Wiki