Black Lexicon: The Origins of “Bop” (LISTEN)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

For #JazzAppreciationMonth, we explore the term “bop” — a word often used today to describe a song with a good groove. I

ts musical reference origins however, are rooted in the early 1940s when “bop” was used to describe an new and exciting intricate form of jazz. To read about it, read on. To hear about it, press PLAY:

[You can follow or subscribe to the Good Black News Daily Drop Podcast through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or create your own RSS Feed. Or just check it out every day here on the main website. Full transcript below]:

Hey, this is Lori Lakin Hutcherson, founder and editor in chief of, here to share with you a daily drop of Good Black News for Tuesday, April 26th, 2022, based on the “A Year of Good Black News Page-A-Day Calendar” published by Workman Publishing.

It’s in the category we call “Lemme Break It Down,” where we explore the origins and meanings of words and phrases rooted in the Black Lexicon and Black culture. Today’s phrase is another one in honor of #JazzAppreciationMonth… “Bop.”

[Excerpt from “Be-Bop” by Dizzy Gillespie]

“Bop” is a slang term most currently used to mean a really good song, but originally used to reference the jazz genre “bebop,” “rebop” or “hard bop.”

Invented in the 1940s and 1950s by musicians like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Christian, Max Roach, Miles Davis, Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk – right now you’re listening to the song called “Be-Bop” by Dizzy Gillespie, originally written, recorded and released by him in 1945.

The “bop” style of playing consisted of intricate phrasings and harmonic improvisations over chord melodies of standards as well as original compositions. Dizzy Gillespie even titled his 1979 autobiography To Be or Not to Bop.

To learn more about the term “bop,” links to sources are provided in today’s show notes and in the episode’s full transcript posted on

This has been a daily drop of Good Black News, written, produced and hosted by me, Lori Lakin Hutcherson.

Intro and outro beats provided by and produced by White Hot.

The excerpt from “Be Bop” by Dizzy Gillespie is included under Fair Use.

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