The Many Artists of Bebop

Learn about the many artists who helped form bebop jazz

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Charlie Parker

  • Saxophonist & Songwriter
  • Nicknamed "Bird" or "Yardbird"
  • Co-invented bebop with Dizzy Gillespie


  • Discovered his talents through lessons at public schools as a child
  • Started off on the baritone horn, but later chose to learn the alto saxophone at the age of 15.
  • In 1942, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk saw Parker performing in Harlem and were impressed.
  • Played alongside Gillespie for many years
  • Went on a 6 week nightclub tour and invented bebop, the reaction to swing.

Dizzy Gillespie

  • Trumpet player, Singer & Songwriter
  • Co-invented bebop with Charlie Parker


  • Considered one of the first musicians to infuse Afro-Cuban, Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms with jazz
  • Known for his "swollen" cheeks and uniquely angled trumpet bell
  • Received the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 1990

Thelonious Monk

  • Pianist & Songwriter
  • One of the first creators of modern jazz, as well as bebop


  • Began studying piano at the age of eleven
  • Won the weekly amateur competition as the Apollo Theater so many times that he was banned from re-entering
  • Dropped out of school to pursue his music career
  • Began working at the Minton Playhouse in Harlem, where he joined the house band and helped create bebop