What is a Pop Combo? Great question! It’s a term I’ve coined to indicate that a chart (piece of sheet music) is for a pop combo (band). This is generally made up of the rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass and drums) most commonly found in jazz ensembles (or big bands) and a horn section if needed.
I felt there was a need to have a term for this kind of ensemble, as in the past they have been called many different things like combo, chart, band chart, etc. The difficulty I had with these terms is that they didn’t really explain exactly what you got. Sometimes a combo is only a trio (piano, bass, drums) and when you use the term band, it could mean anything from a brass band to a mariachi band.
One issue I have had is in distinguishing between a Jazz Ensemble (rhythm section and horns) and the pop combo. I wanted to specifically separate these two ensembles, for the means of categorising my shop, but also so that it is clear what genre you are getting. I also have a few classical charts for the same combination that I am searching for a term for, but will most likely end up as Theatre Band charts – written specifically for solo entertainers to use with a sight reading band in theatres on land and at sea.
The other concern I have had is that some bands don’t have a horn section, and others have quite a large one. Given that I am in control of the arrangements, I’d like to offer all of the available combinations to my customers, but it will take a while to do this for all the existing charts I have created. So for now, the “Pop Combo” will be a mishmash of combinations, which I will endeavour to show clearly on the title page for each chart. My master plan is to separate the rhythm sections from the horns, and sell the horn charts as an add-on so you can select which combination you need.
Here is a breakdown of the differences:
|POP COMBO||JAZZ ENSEMBLE||THEATRE BAND|
|Instruments||Rhythm Section, Horns||Rhythm Section, Horns, Vocals||Rhythm Section, Horns, Vocals|
|Combinations||1-3 Horns||3-6 Horns, Big Band||1, 3 or 4-6 Horns, additional Keyboard part for bands without Horns|
|Vocal chart||Optional||Yes||Yes, also cued in the piano along with important horns|
In the meantime, if you see a chart that you would like a different combination of, please let me know. It isn’t hard to create a new chart specifically for you, which I can do very quickly. I have already done this with my Brass Band version of This Is Me, which I amended to include a rhythm section and choir at the request of a friend.