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The Small Combos
bass) with results that were as kaleidoscopic in concept and as provocative in presentation as anything heard in recent years. Again there has been debate concerning the validity as jazz of much of the group's work.
Of the other small combos on the contemporary scene, few have been continuously together long enough, or have made a sufficiently original contribution, to justify any analysis here. Shorty Rogers* small combos, varying in size on records and in night clubs, have drawn from the innovations of Miles Davis and other East Coast pioneers of the bop and cool schools; Jimmy Giuffre, formerly with Rogers, organized his own trio in 1957. Many Eastern groups such as the Messengers, the Max Roach Quintet and the Horace Silver Quintet are important for the individual talents they contain but not for the production of any new orchestral conception.
Inevitably certain "fringe" groups have been omitted. In the late 1930s the Raymond Scott Quintet produced a brittle, highly-arranged type of novelty combo that bore a peripheral relationship to jazz; in the early 1940s the "Tympany Five" of Louis Jordan, though a fine swinging group, was important almost entirely as a frame for the personality of its leader; in the late '40s such combos as Arnett Cobb's and Illinois Jacquet's offered a brand of jazz that vacillated between a bop-inflected swinging approach and a hard-driving rhythm-and-blues appeal, with varying degrees of finesse and not too much ensemble value.
The jazz combo, in its evolution over a period of four decades on records, has developed along two interwoven lines. There are the groups that organize loosely, usually for night club work, with little or no written music and without any new conception of ensemble; and there are the combos that organize with the definite aim of establishing a new sound, a new idea in instrumentation or orchestration. Naturally it is mainly to the latter group that this CHAPTER has been dedicated; it is this group that will be remembered and saluted by jazz historians a generation from now, for only through the use of a multum in parvo technique can the term "jazz combo" have any real, enduring significance.