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It has been said that Claude Debussy invented jazz harmonic theory. But is there any evidence that Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, the inventors of bebop, were aware of Debussy's harmonic principles?

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Don't forget about Dizzy! – Shevliaskovic Aug 9 '14 at 7:09
It is difficult to assess the weight of European composers on the African-American musicians who invented bebop. Bebop was born out of anger. African-American jazz musicians couldn't make a living from swing music, which they had invented, because white musicians had appropriated it and could play it in places where African-Americans weren't allowed to go. – empty Aug 12 '14 at 7:38
Whoa! Didn't know that Debussy influenced bebop. :P – krismath Oct 16 '14 at 7:47
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Debussy surely influenced the piano playing of trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke.

It is also said that the bebop harmony has been inspired by Western Music; from people like Debussy and Schoenberg.

Kubik, Gerhard. "Bebop: a case in point. The African Matrix in Jazz Harmonic Practices." (Critical essay) Black Music Research Journal 22 Mar 2005. Digital.:

While for an outside observer, the harmonic innovations in bebop would appear to be inspired by experiences in Western "serious" music, from Claude Debussy to Arnold Schoenberg, such a scheme cannot be sustained by the evidence from a cognitive approach. Claude Debussy did have some influence on jazz, for example, on Bix Beiderbecke's piano playing. And it is also true that Duke Ellington adopted and reinterpreted some harmonic devices in European contemporary music.

West Coast jazz would run into such debts as would several forms of cool jazz. But bebop has hardly any such debts in the sense of direct borrowings. On the contrary, ideologically, bebop was a strong statement of rejection of any kind of eclecticism, propelled by a desire to activate something deeply buried in self. Bebop then revived tonal-harmonic ideas transmitted through the blues and reconstructed and expanded others in a basically non-Western harmonic approach. The ultimate significance of all this is that the experiments in jazz during the 1940s brought back to African-American music several structural principles and techniques rooted in African traditions.

Also, there are some scales that Debussy used that where later used in bebop (and jazz), like the whole tone scale.

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(The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History)

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