The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

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

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Fastel Blue or Undecided, or a standard popular song. Harmoni­cally and melodically it was amazingly precocious; in fact, the first number the group ever recorded, Billy Kyle's From A Flat to Cm October 1938, was based on the cycle of fifths, a harmonic device that was vaunted a decade later by boppers as if it had just been discovered.
While the Kirby band was setting precedents on the East Coast, even landing its own regular radio show on CBS and bringing jazz to the previously undefiled Waldorf-Astoria, an­other combo form emerged that was to prove of lasting impor­tance. This was the piano trio (piano, guitar and string bass), of which the archetype was the King Cole Trio. Oscar Moore's use of the electric guitar, a rarity at the time, enabled him to blend with Cole's piano in the most delicate and dexterous of voicings. The group, started in California, came to New York and was blithely ignored by the public. Returning to Hollywood the Cole Trio made its first sides for Decca in December 1940 and made several more dates the following year. Though national success did not come until Cole had recorded Straighten Up and Fly Right, a vocal novelty, for Capitol late in 1943, his trio had by that time established a pattern for what came to be known as "cocktail combos." Countless other groups were formed with the identical instrumentation; even Art Tatum, a solo pianist for more than a decade, started one. White groups in which the leader played piano and sang in a style akin to Cole's, such as the Page Cavanaugh Trio, achieved pleasing musical results. In 1957, though Cole himself was swallowed up by mountains of strings and woodwinds while his trio members remained un­heard in the background, the tradition he had established was still being carried on, notably by Oscar Peterson, whose Cole-patterned trio has been a favorite with jazz fans since 1950.
The advent of bop involved an off-and-on partnership between its two leading instrumentalists, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, whose appearances on small-combo records, in night clubs, and with big bands in which they were guiding forces made them the Bbc and Trumbauer of the 1940s. The basic combo style here, in contrast with the simple three-part voicing of the Kirby band, usually involved a fast and rhythmically complex