With an ever increasing range, the JP Musical Instruments are suitable for a variety of musical styles. In this blog we're going to pick out some of our favourite John Packer instruments for jazz, and explain what makes them so good...
Scratch the surface of 'jazz' and you soon learn that there's lots of different types of jazz and there's some amazing musicians doing crazy things with all sorts of instruments.
Our list in that respect will probably make for fairly tame reading, However, if you're in the market for a solid jazz instrument that's highly affordable, our instruments will tick all the right boxes - and we'll explain why!
JP351SW LT Trumpet
Let's start with the JP351SW LT trumpet. This is an instrument from our Smith-Watkins collaboration. It's got a reverse leadpipe making it easy to play (less resistance when you blow) and is also large bore (wider tube) so you can get a lot more air through the instrument which makes a big bright sound - great for soloing. It differs from the JP351SW HT being lighter in weight. Having no heavy weight caps and less stays (these are the brackets that brace the instrument together), helps to achieve this.
JP by Taylor
In contrast, another trumpet and another collaboration that ranks highly for it's suitability for jazz, is the JP by Taylor. Andy Taylor's trumpets are well-known for being great for jazz and being 'jazzy' too - there's style and substance in swathes.
The JP by Taylor is heavier than the JP351, using heavyweight components on the bell, finger rings and top and bottom caps. These heavier features make the trumpet denser which in part give dark tonal characteristics (something you'll find typical of any heavier instrument).
This really is a fantastic horn for jazz and swing music. It can sizzle and pop in the upper register (by putting lots of air through the leadpipe you can create a really bright and energetic tone), but also darken any melody if needed by relaxing the airflow through the instrument and allowing the extra weight to help you as a player.
You could comfortably find this instrument in any jazz band or ensemble, but it’s such versatile trumpet, it's also a good fit for salsa bands or funk scenarios.
JP Vintage sax
Another JP regarded for its dark sound, is the JP vintage sax. This deep dark gun metal lacquer finish is available on the John Packer, alto, tenor and straight soprano 0-series saxophones. With the right set-up you can create a mellow smokey sound that sounds like it's fresh from a 1930s jazz club.
JP321 Bb Clarinet
The wooden body of the JP321 Bb clarinet gives this clarinet a warm and dark tone. The clarinet boasts sophisticated keywork which enables fluency and agility in experienced players. In combination you have a very flexible instrument that can produce a captivating tone, and reliability that allows the musician to 'play' around the clarinet with ease and complete clarity.
JP230 Rath Tenor Trombone
The JP230 Rath medium bore Tenor Trombone makes for a very malleable instrument. It can blend perfectly with any small section (trumpet, trombone & sax), while has the capability of playing 1st, 2nd or 3rd trombone in a brass band/big band with ease. With its incredibly smooth slide action, the JP230 Rath can manage all of the tricky passages thrown its way.
While it's considered easier to player lower notes on a larger bore trombone, the JP230 has a low register to match a large bore trombone, and a high register that can sing the melody out over the top of any group. The bore also gives the trombone a bright -to-the-point' tone quality when lots of air is used, however, can play very sweetly with a smoother air flow.
JP275 SW Flugel Horn
The JP275SW flugel horn is another collaboration with Smith-Watkins, again featuring a specially designed leadpipe from Dr Richard Smith. It's a great all-rounder flugel, and fits in well with brass bands as well as jazz bands. The one piece bell is made from rose-brass. This is brass with a higher copper content; this give the metal a warm pinkish hue, and also make it denser - remember how that gives the instrument a mellower darker sound? The same applies here.
The intonation throughout all registers is even and easy, and paired with the perfect mouthpiece you can conquer any challenging passage.
In contrast to the JP351 and the Taylor, the John Packer flugel horns are bottom sprung. You can move around quickly on the instrument to play all manner of riffs and melodies.
Finding the right set-up is an individual journey. As you adapt and improve, keep looking at how you can improve further. Get advice from your JP instrument stockist on the best mouthpiece, and/or reeds etc.