The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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The other Instruments
sombre style to many East Coast bop combos, including a group of his own known as Les Modes.
Akin to the French horn in appearance and sound is the mellophone, occasionally used by the late Hot Lips Page and resuscitated since 1949 by the multi-instrumentalist Don Elliott, who has shown the remarkable range and flexibility of which the mellophone is capable, apparently taking it beyond the limits to which the French horn can be urged.
Novelty instruments have left their hesitant footprints on the pages of jazz history, never totally rejected yet never truly ac­cepted as members of the family. Adrian Rollini invented two oddities called the goofus and the hot fountain pen; featured on some of his records in the late 1920s, they were acknowledged more for their comedy value than for anything they added to the sonic scope of jazz. The harmonica has earned two types of devotees: the folk artists, such as Blind Sonny Terry, who used it in simple and moving blues passages; and the modernists such as Jean "Toots" Thielemans of the Shearing Quintet and Eddie Shu of the Krupa Quartet, both of whom in their more tasteful solos have helped to justify the ruling in which the harmonica belatedly was officially recognized as a musical instrument by the American Federation of Musicians a few years ago.
The accordion remained outside the pale until the very recent jazz years. Possibly its slightly asthmatic dynamics seemed to jazzmen to militate against the possibility of making it swing. The best jazz accordionists are Leon Sash, leader of a Chicago combo, and Mat Mathews, an immigrant from Holland, whose medium is the button-key accordion instead of the more generally useds instrument in which the right hand resembles a piano keyboard. Sash is the more successful in fast modern jazz im­provisation; Mathews is a slow-tempo mood magician, blending his sound with those of flute and guitar for some of the most compelling timbres in present-day jazz.
How far the boundaries of jazz may extend in their instru­mental compass is a question that will be decided not by the evolution of the music itself but by the relatively simple matter of the availability of equipment. As a mode of melodic expres­sion jazz is limitless in its adaptability to every medium. Im-