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THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
and some months later Goodman broke down the color line by taking the Negro pianist on the road as a regular part of his show, using the trio as an adjunct of the band.
Goodman's trio, in a sense, brought new life to "chamber music jazz," a term previously applicable to the Venuti-Lang works of the late 1920s. The music was, of course, very different, contrasting on the fast numbers the fluent mastery of Goodman's clarinet with the swinging serenity of Wilsons piano, adding an occasional Krupa solo for audience excitement. On the slower tunes Goodman offered an early reminder, provided a year or two before by Coleman Hawkins, that the best of Tin Pan Alley's ballad material could be sublimated by exposure to the light of jazz.
The idea of drawing a small combo from a larger orchestra did not originate with Goodman. He himself had been a member of a group known as "Bens Bad Boys" which functioned both in person and on records as an offshoot of the Ben Pollack orchestra in the 1920s.
The Goodman Trio became a quartet in 1936 when Lionel Hamptons vibraphone was added, and a sextet or septet in 1939-41 when Benny began experimenting with a variety of combo formats, the most compelling of which was one that included Cootie Williams, Georgie Auld and Charlie Christian.
Goodman's "band-within-a-band" novelty was soon seized on by rival pied pipers of the swing years. In December 1935, Tommy Dorsey began recording with a Dixieland contingent out of his band, the "Clambake Seven"; a year later Duke Ellington started a series of sessions with his own splinter groups, under four different leaders—Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Rex Stewart and Cootie Williams. Bob Crosby, whose big band was tailored to convey the effect of an enlarged Dixieland combo, complicated this system still further in November 1937 with the first session by the "Bob Cats," a small group taken from the big group that tried to sound Hke a small group. Count Basie's side-men made a few dates as the Kansas City Six and Seven. Later Artie Shaw, in 1940, introduced his Gramercy 5, which achieved at least a novel tone color with the unprecedented inclusion of a jazz harpsichord.