Basics of the 3 Horn Jazz Combo

The jazz combo has been a popular small jazz group choice for decades.

The traditional jazz combo consists of 3 horn players and rhythm section. The instruments cover a wide range and contain different timbres so that it can exhibit a variety of sounds.

Combos can be found throughout the history of jazz. Perhaps the most famous is John Coltrane’s recording entitled Blue Trane. That group consisted of Coltrane on tenor sax, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, along with rhythm section consisting of Kenny Drew (pno), Paul Chambers (bs) and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

The following lesson gives a quick overview of the traditional 3 horn jazz combo, and a few things to consider when arranging for this type of ensemble.


4 Replies to “Basics of the 3 Horn Jazz Combo”

  1. Jairo Alfonso

    I first wanna say Thanks for the classes!
    Right now i’m working on a combo chart. In this class u give me ideas aobut how to work with the textures of the combo. But i see that u are talking all the time about Homophonic textures. I would like to know more about how to approach the chart with some counterpoint and not just homophonic techniques. Maybe u can tell us what is important in a counterline for embellishing the lead melody.

  2. Jim Martin

    Jairo: counterpoint is a whole topic in itself. I will get to this topic at some point in the future. it will be many lessons though. Counterpoint is a fairly complex topic although there are some basic rules. Give me some time and i’ll get to this topic in the near future.

  3. Alec Axt

    Just signed up, have wanted to arrange for a long time. Play saxophone, no keyboard. Play in a small big band that I’d like to create charts for. We could handle mid 50’s Johnny Hodges type stuff, lots of riffs, not complex chord progressions. Have some theory from JC classes, not real strong. So I’m gonna work on this stuff, like what I see very much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.