What instruments make up a jazz band?
A wide variety of instruments can make up a traditional jazz band, from pianos to saxophones. Here are the main ones...
Much like classical music, jazz ensembles are made up of any number of musicians. And just as in classical, you’ll find duos, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, septets and octets… Then there are larger combinations, such as big bands and jazz orchestras.
A traditional jazz band will likely feature piano (or keyboard, or electric organ), double bass and percussion – often in the form of a drum kit.
The percussionist might have much more than a drum kit to hand – a vibraphone, for example. They’ll play with a variety of implements, too, from drumsticks to brushes. Many jazz combos will also include brass and wind instruments, like a trumpet or saxophone.
- 25 greatest jazz saxophonists of all time
- 15 best jazz trumpet players ever
- 28 best ever jazz pianists
- 4 of the best jazz guitarists ever
- Best classical works for saxophone
The bass and percussion take care of the rhythm, while the piano and brass look after the melody and harmony.
There are all kinds of iterations and variations, of course, and it will depend on the style of jazz the band is playing. Guitar, harmonica, trombone, the human voice… you name it, it’s been in a jazz band.
Top image by Getty images