I seem to remember a similar thread a few years ago...
I've followed the latest attempts to define Noir with much
interest. Everybody seems to make good points. And although I
believe there's a noirish worldview that transcends period,
the "purest" examples of Noir to me exist roughly between
Utilizing that criteria, Bebop would be the authentic music
of Noir. Not to mention, Bird, Bud Powell's, Fats Navarro,
Sonny Stitt, etc's essentially "noir" lives. The frantic,
jagged, and unsettling melodies and tempos of these cats'
bebop "heads" captures in an abstract way much of the noir
malaise. Bird's famed "Koko" is a helluvalot more "Noir" than
recent nostalgic exercises in mood, such as Charlie Haden's
recent noir tributes.
If the basic Noir themes can be summed up by Woolrich's
"First you dream, then you die," or Ellroy's "There is no hope -- only obsession..." The music and lives of this first wave of beboppers epitomize the Noir credos...
Having said that, there is an Artie Shaw tune from the
thirties called "Nightmare" that has a very noirish
loving noir and jazz --
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