1946-1949: Small Combos is a collection of classic jazz performed in groups of three to six, usually held together by a famous horn player. The combos featured on this disc are all quite accomplished, featuring big names like Charlie Parker and reliable jazz performers like Wardell Gray. Much of the material featured here is quite slow and open, emphasizing the general cool atmosphere that much of this music evokes. The Wardell Gray Quartet makes up a good portion of the disc, performing nine of the 20 songs found here. Their relaxed jams provide some of the best music on the disc, whether it be the gentle bop of "Man I Love," the shuffled bounce of "Stoned," or the crisp saxophone of "Sweet Lorraine." Other artists make worthwhile contributions to the compilation, notably the Dexter Gordon Quintet, with their fast moving "Chase," and the Charlie Parker New Stars and their incredible "Cheers." The only real deterrent to buying this CD is the varying sound quality; some of the songs sound like they have been recorded from old radio and television shows, while others are pristine studio recordings. But the music is still very good, and fans of classic jazz will find a wealth of quality material here.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano
feat: Dexter Gordon Quintet
feat: Tadd Dameron