Guest post by Austin Consordini
Jazz is the music of America. Born and developed in the southern United States, jazz music is about coming together as an ensemble, while allowing each individual player to have his or her own unique sound, musicality and ability to improvise.
To be the best jazz musician one must be able to use the instrument to communicate emotion to the audience and tell a story.
If you want to have the power to play jazz like a god, there are five instruments you should become an expert in.
Saxophones are used for playing the melody. Saxophones are usually one of the only woodwind instruments in a jazz ensemble. It’s one of the most recognizable instruments in the genre.
Many large jazz ensembles have a saxophone section featuring at least two tenor and alto saxophonists, plus one baritone sax.
If you plan to make jazz music your career, you will need the very best alto saxophone: the Yamaha YAS-62 Professional.
This saxophone was introduced in the early 1970’s and has stood the test of time, evolving through three versions to become the most desired professional saxophone for jazz.
Pianos can play both melody and harmony, and have been essential to the evolution of jazz.
No matter what your main instrument is, every jazz musician should be proficient in piano in order to customize arrangements and learn jazz theory.
The most advanced and talented pianists play the grand piano. The Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Piano is by far the best of all pianos in the world but costs tens of thousands of dollars.
If you need a piano that is more portable for playing gigs around jazz clubs, a digital upright such as The ONE Smart Piano by The One Music Group will have you playing jazz piano like a god in no time.
Upbeat jazz music is known for its lively horn and brass section. Trombones, trumpets and tubas are all a part of this section.
The trumpet is the best horn to learn because its sound is loud and cutting, ensuring the melody is heard regardless of what the other instruments are doing. New Orleans and Chicago-style jazz feature the trumpet prominently in their arrangements.
Yamaha is known for making some of the best horns on the market. The Xeno Artist trumpet by Yamaha is a Chicago-style jazz trumpet that is perfect for swing and big band music. This horn has the optimal tone and response time, as well as a Malone leadpipe design to provide the most accurate sliding.
4. Bass Guitar
The rhythm section of a jazz band, specifically the bass or double bass guitar, is mostly used to support the horn sections and soloists.
The groove from the bass guitar tends to focus on root chords that can provide a pulse for the music.
Fender is known for their guitars with most of the great jazz bassists such as Steve and Victor Bailey, Nels Cline, Bill Frissel and Ted Greene all choosing the Fender bass.
The American Elite 5-string Jazz Bass Guitar is the best option for bassists who play jazz. The fourth-generation model is noiseless, offers unparalleled comfort and a revolutionary compound profile neck with a hardtail bridge.
The drummer’s job is similar to the bassist’s: to accompany soloists or improvisers, accentuate the bass guitar and groove, and create a transition between soloists or sections.
Drum sets for jazz players are usually small- to medium-sized kits due to the challenges of transporting larger instruments.
If you want to become the next Gene Krupa, the PDP seven-piece kit will impress your ensemble, the audience and ensure that the rhythm section of the ensemble sounds clear, crisp and groovy.
The kit comes with seven-ply kick shells and 10-ply snare shells. Other features include graduated counter hoops, fully chrome snare wires, carbon steel coils and brass end plates. This kit is for the drummer who wants to be the best.
No matter what instrument you decide to start with while learning jazz, if you want to be the best jazz musician you can be, consider learning to play these instruments. Most jazz artists start by learning piano, then add more as they grow in their musicianship.
About the Author
Austin Consordini is the owner of Consordini.com. He has played the violin and other instruments for the last 10 years. “My music reflects my way of living,” he says. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.consordini.com.
This guest post reflects the views and opinions of its author.
Photos courtesy of Austin Consordini.