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A jazz band (jazz ensemble or jazz combo) is a
musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate vocal The human voi ...
that plays
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
music. Jazz bands vary in the quantity of its members and the style of jazz that they play but it is common to find a jazz band made up of a
rhythm section A rhythm section is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band (music), band that provides the underlying rhythm, harmony and Pulse (music), pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest ...
and a
horn section A horn section is a group of musician A musician is a person who Composer, composes, Conducting, conducts, or Performing arts, performs music. According to the United States Employment Service, "musician" is a general Terminology, term used to de ...
. The size of a jazz band is closely related to the style of jazz they play as well as the type of venues in which they play. Smaller jazz bands, also known as ''combos'', are common in night clubs and other small venues and will be made up of three to seven musicians; whereas
big band A big band is a type of musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might incl ...

big band
s are found in dance halls and other larger venues. Jazz bands can vary in size from a big band, to a smaller trio or quartet. Some bands use vocalists, while others are purely instrumental groups. Jazz bands and their composition have changed many times throughout the years, just as the music itself changes with personal interpretation and improvisation of its performers.


Ensemble types


Combos

It is common for musicians in a combo to perform their music from memory. The improvisational nature of these performances make every show unique.


Instrumentation

The
rhythm section A rhythm section is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band (music), band that provides the underlying rhythm, harmony and Pulse (music), pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest ...
consists of the
percussion A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater (percussion), beater including attached or enclosed beaters or Rattle (percussion beater), rattles struck, scraped or rubbed by hand or ...
,
double bass The double bass, also known simply as the bass (or by other names), is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed (or plucked) string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce so ...

double bass
or
bass guitar The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an Electric guitar, electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a long ...

bass guitar
, and usually at least one instrument capable of playing
chords Chord may refer to: * Chord (music) A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of pitches/frequencies consisting of multiple Musical note, notes (also called "pitches") that are heard as if sounding Simultaneity (music), simultaneously. For m ...
, such as a
piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), ''Acoustic'' (Joey Cape ...

piano
,
guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the strings with the dominant hand, while sim ...

guitar
,
Hammond organ The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond and John M. Hanert and first manufactured in 1935. Multiple models have been produced, most of which use sliding #Drawbars, drawbars to vary sounds. Until 1975, Hammond organs ...
or
vibraphone The vibraphone is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion instrument, percussion family. It consists of tuned metal bars and is usually played by holding two or four soft Percussion mallet, mallets and striking the ...

vibraphone
; most will usually have more than one of these. The standard rhythm section is piano, bass, and drums. The
horn section A horn section is a group of musician A musician is a person who Composer, composes, Conducting, conducts, or Performing arts, performs music. According to the United States Employment Service, "musician" is a general Terminology, term used to de ...
consists of a woodwind section and a
brass section The brass section of the orchestra An orchestra (; ) is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both Religious music, liturgi ...
, which play the
melody A melody (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

melody
.


Rhythm section


Banjo

The banjo has been used in jazz since the earliest jazz bands. The earliest use of the banjo in a jazz band was by
Frank Duson Frank may refer to: People As a name * Frank (given name) * Frank (surname) Groups of people * A member of the medieval Germanic people, the Franks * Crusaders in medieval Middle Eastern history * Levantines (Latin Christians) known as Franco ...
in 1917, however
Laurence Marrero Laurence is an English language, English and French language, French given name (usually female in French and male in English). The English masculine name originates from a French form of the Latin ''Laurentius'', a name meaning "man from Laurent ...
claims it became popular in 1915. There are three common types of banjo, the plectrum banjo,
tenor banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, and usually made of plastic, or occasionally animal skin. Early forms of the instrument were fashion ...

tenor banjo
, and cello banjo. Over time, the four-stringed tenor banjo became the most common banjo used in jazz. The drum-like sound box on the banjo made it louder than the acoustic guitars that were common with early jazz bands, and banjos were popular for recording.


Bass

Beginning in the early 1950s, some jazz bass players began to use the electric bass guitar in place of the double bass.


Drums

Jazz drumming is the art of playing percussion, usually the
drum set A drum set – also called a drum kit, trap set (an abbreviation of the word "contraption") or simply drums – is a collection of drum , at the Battle of Gettysburg The Battle of Gettysburg () was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and aro ...

drum set
, in jazz styles ranging from 1910s-style Dixieland jazz to 1970s-era
jazz-rock fusion Jazz fusion (also known as fusion and progressive jazz) is a music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, Unite ...
and 1980s-era
Latin jazz Latin jazz is a genre of jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of me ...
. Stylistically, this aspect of performance was shaped by its starting place, New Orleans,Gioia, T. (1997). ''The History of Jazz''. Oxford University Press: New York, NY. as well as numerous other regions of the world, including other parts of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
, and
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
. Jazz required a method of playing percussion different from traditional
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
an styles, one that was easily adaptable to the different rhythms of the new genre, fostering the creation of jazz drumming's hybrid technique.Brown, T, D. (1969). The Evolution of Early Jazz Drumming. ''Percussionist'', ''7''(2), 39–44.


Woodwind section


Clarinet

The clarinet is a woodwind instrument with a
single-reed A single-reed instrument is a woodwind Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. Common examples include flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and saxophone. There are two main typ ...
mouthpiece. A clarinet player is known as a clarinetist. Originally, the clarinet was a central instrument in jazz, beginning with the New Orleans players in the 1910s. It remained a signature instrument of jazz through much of the
big band A big band is a type of musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might incl ...

big band
era into the 1940s.
Larry Shields Lawrence James "Larry" Shields (September 13, 1893 - November 21, 1953) was an early American dixieland jazz clarinetist. He was a member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the first jazz band to record commercially. Background Shields wa ...
was the clarinetist for the
Original Dixieland Jazz Band The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was a Dixieland Dixieland, sometimes referred to as traditional jazz, is a style of jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United ...
, the first jazz band to record commercially in 1917. The American players Ted Lewis and
Jimmie Noone Jimmie Noone (April 23, 1895 – April 19, 1944) was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a ...
were pioneers of the instrument in jazz bands. The B soprano clarinet was the most common instrument, but a few early jazz musicians such as
Alcide Nunez Alcide Patrick Nunez (March 17, 1884 – September 2, 1934), also known as Yellow Nunez and Al Nunez, was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is ...
preferred the C soprano clarinet, and many New Orleans jazz brass bands have used an E soprano clarinet. Swing clarinetists such as
Benny Goodman Benjamin David Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing". In the mid-1930s, Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in the United States. His concert at Car ...

Benny Goodman
,
Artie Shaw Artie Shaw (born Arthur Jacob Arshawsky; May 23, 1910 – December 30, 2004) was an American clarinetist, composer, bandleader, actor and author of both fiction and non-fiction. Widely regarded as "one of jazz's finest clarinetists", Shaw led ...
, and
Woody Herman Woodrow Charles Herman (May 16, 1913 – October 29, 1987) was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time ...

Woody Herman
led successful big bands and smaller groups from the 1930s onward. With the decline of the big bands' popularity in the late 1940s, the clarinet faded from its prominent position in jazz and the saxophone rose in importance in many jazz bands, probably because it uses a less complicated fingering system. But the clarinet did not entirely disappear. In the late 50s, traditional jazz experienced a revival, with the notable example of clarinetist
Acker Bilk Bernard Stanley Bilk, (28 January 1929 – 2 November 2014), known professionally as Acker Bilk, was a British clarinettist and vocalist known for his breathy, vibrato-rich, lower-register style, and distinctive appearance – of goatee, ...

Acker Bilk
's Bristol Paramount Jazz Band. Some of the works of Bilk's jazz band reached the pop charts.


Saxophone section

In the saxophone section, all of the saxophones will play a similar melodic line, but the doubles by occasionally joining in with the
bass trombone There are many different types of trombone The trombone is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical ...

bass trombone
and
bass Bass or Basses may refer to: Fish * Bass (fish) Bass () is a name shared by many species of fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. Included in thi ...
to play the bass line. A big band saxophone section typically consists of two
alto saxophone The alto saxophone, also referred to as the alto sax or simply the alto, is a member of the saxophone The saxophone is a type of Single-reed instrument, single-reed woodwind instrument with a conical body, usually made of brass. As with all s ...
s, two
tenor saxophone The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone The saxophone is a type of with a conical body, usually made of . As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a on a vibrates to produce a sound wave inside th ...

tenor saxophone
s, and one baritone saxophone.


String section


Violin

Jazz violin Jazz violin is the use of the violin or electric violin An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument intentionally made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usu ...
is the use of the violin or
electric violin An electric violin is a violin The violin, sometimes known as a ''fiddle'', is a wooden chordophone (string instrument) in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and thus highest-pitched instrument (s ...

electric violin
to improvise solo lines. Although the violin has been used in jazz recordings since the first decades of the 20th century, it is more commonly associated with folk music than jazz. Jazz musician
Milt Hinton Milton John Hinton (June 23, 1910 – December 19, 2000) was an American double bassist and photographer. Regarded as the Dean of American jazz bass players, his nicknames included "Sporty" from his years in Chicago, "Fump" from his time on the ...

Milt Hinton
claimed that the decline in violin players coincided with the introduction of , as many violin players were used as accompaniment for
silent films A silent film is a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pig ...
.


Vocalists

The definition of a jazz vocalist can be unclear because jazz has shared a great deal with
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
and
pop music Pop is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical tra ...
since the 1920s. In their book ''Essential Jazz'', Henry Martin and Keith Waters identify five main characteristics that identify jazz singing, three of which are: "Loose phrasing .. use of
blue notes#REDIRECT Blue Note Records Blue Note Records is an American jazz record label owned by Universal Music Group and operated under Capitol Music Group. Established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, it derived its name from the blue notes of ...
.. free melodic embellishment." Often the human voice can act in place of a brass section in playing melodies, both written and improvised.
Scat singing In vocal jazzVocal jazz or jazz singing is an instrumental approach to jazz using the voice. Similar to a cappella A cappella (, also , ; ) music is group or solo performance without Musical instrument, instrumental accompaniment, or a piece ...
is vocal
improvisation Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Improvisation in the performing arts is a very spontaneous performance without specific or scripted preparation. The skills of imp ...
with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Though scat singing is improvised, the melodic lines are often variations on
scale Scale or scales may refer to: Mathematics * Scale (descriptive set theory)In the mathematical discipline of descriptive set theory, a scale is a certain kind of object defined on a set (mathematics), set of point (mathematics), points in some Poli ...

scale
and
arpeggio '' and continue as accompaniment. A broken chord is a chord (music), chord broken into a sequence of notes. A broken chord may repeat some of the notes from the chord and span one or more octaves. An arpeggio () is a type of broken chord, in ...

arpeggio
fragments, stock patterns and
riff A riff is a repeated chord progression In a musical composition File:Chord chart.svg, 250px, Jazz and rock genre musicians may memorize the melodies for a new song, which means that they only need to provide a chord chart to guide improvis ...

riff
s, as is the case with instrumental improvisers. The deliberate choice of scat syllables is also a key element in vocal jazz improvisation. Syllable choice influences the pitch articulation, coloration, and
resonance Resonance describes the phenomenon of increased amplitude The amplitude of a ic is a measure of its change in a single (such as or ). There are various definitions of amplitude (see below), which are all s of the magnitude of the differ ...
of the performance.


Repertoire

Another important aspect of jazz is
improvisation Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Improvisation in the performing arts is a very spontaneous performance without specific or scripted preparation. The skills of imp ...
(" jams"). Bands playing in this fashion fall under the category of
jam band A jam band is a musical group whose live albums and concerts relate to a fan culture that began in the 1960s with the Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead was an American rock music, rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band ...
s. A common way to incorporate improvisation is to feature solo performances from band members made up on the spot, allowing them to showcase their skill.


Gallery

File:Jazz art, 1924.png, Jazz ensemble in art, 1924 File:Louisiana Five Jazz Band famous publicity photo.jpg, The
Louisiana Five The Louisiana Five was an early Dixieland jazz band that was active from 1917 to 1920. It was among the earliest jazz groups to record extensively. The Louisiana Five was led by Anton Lada who played the drums. History The Louisiana Five was fo ...
Jazz Band in a publicity photo (1919) File:Maison Jazz Band.jpg, Jazz band performing at Maison, in
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
(2010) File:Montreal-Jazz-Band.jpg, The Montreal Jazz Band (2013) File:(African American) Jazz Band and Leader Back with (African American) 15th New York. Lieutenant Jame . . . - NARA - 533506.tif, Jazz band leader Lieutenant James Reese with the 369th Infantry (1919) File:Woody Allen with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band Philharmonie Gasteig München.jpg,
Woody Allen Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; November 30, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Os ...

Woody Allen
performing with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band (2011) File:Jazz Puzzles Old Mint Band 6 Mute.JPG, The New Orleans Fiesta Jazz Band, performing at the Old Mint Museum in New Orleans (2013) File:PresHallBandJaquesA.jpg, The
Preservation Hall Jazz Band Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a New Orleans jazz band founded in New Orleans by tuba player Allan Jaffe in the early 1960s. The band derives its name from Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. In 2005, the Hall's doors were closed for a period ...
performs at the funeral of clarinetist Jacques Gauthé at
Preservation Hall Preservation Hall is a jazz venue in the French Quarter The French Quarter, also known as the , is the oldest New Orleans neighborhoods, neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. After New Orleans (french: La Nouvelle-Orléans) was founded in 1 ...

Preservation Hall
(2007) File:Marching jazz band - Flickr - Terry Wha.jpg, A
marching Marching refers to the organized, uniformed, steady walking Walking (also known as ambulation) is one of the main gait Gait is the pattern of Motion (physics), movement of the limb (anatomy), limbs of animals, including Gait (human), humans ...

marching
jazz band in Lacashire, UK (2007)


See also

* Juvenile jazz band *
List of big bands While the Big Band Era suggests that big bands flourished for a short period, they have been a part of jazz music since their emergence in the 1920s when white concert bands adopted the rhythms and musical forms of small African-American jazz com ...
*
List of jazz musicians This is a list of jazz musicians by instrument based on existing articles on Wikipedia. Do not enter names that lack articles. Do not enter names that lack sources. Accordion * Kamil Běhounek (1916–1983) * Luciano Biondini (born 1971) * A ...


References


Works cited

* {{Jazz Types of musical groups African-American history African-American music