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THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
sharp contrast with the loose, informal rifling that gave the Count Basie band its less precise but more relaxed brand of swing.
In the Basie band the arrangements were comparatively unimportant; in fact, most of the earliest successful Basie records were a conglomeration of "heads," routines created spontaneously, or worked out by the men without recourse to manuscript paper, forming a gradual and largely spontaneous accretion of riffs and counter riffs, sometimes combined with scraps of previous performances of diverse and obscure origin. One O'clock Jump, said to have sprung from an early blues by Buster Smith, was a case in point.
Eddie Sauter, who had studied at Juilliard and was better equipped academically than almost any other jazz arranger of the 1930s, also struck out into new territories, first with a series of arrangements for the Red Norvo band that made silk purses out of the ears of com provided by Tin Pan Alley and then, more significantly, with such originals as Superman and Benny Rides Again for the Goodman orchestra in 1940, in which the 32-bar structure, the saxes-battling-brass and other traditions were subordinated to the search for ingenious new frameworks for the soloist and startling new tonal blends in the scores. Sauter reached his peak as a jazz writer at this time; later he became so deeply concerned with novelty of sound for its own effect (as with the Sauter-Finegan band, 1952-7) that the very qualities once so relevant to his value as a jazz writer became a detriment. Along with Bill Finegan, a capable writer who had worked for Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, he declared himself disinterested in improvisation; soon, as might have been expected, both his own arrangements and Finegan's swung less and trained their sights on the popular-music market.
As the arranger sought a means of escape from the restrictions of the reeds-versus-brass concept, jazz writing began to acquire new tone colors, new instrumental combinations and a greatly expanded sense of form. Once again Ellington led the way, writing a series of miniature concertos, each built around a particular soloist in the band (a procedure strange to jazz in 1936, though now a daily occurrence) and making the first jazz explorations into extended forms (Reminiscing in Tempo in 1935 was spread