Top Jazz Bands of All Time

The Jazz Messengers

The Jazz Messengers were established in the 1950s. This jazz combo stayed together for over 35 years and became hugely successful worldwide. Some members left throughout the 35 years and were replaced but the band stayed top of the charts and continued to release classic and iconic jazz songs. The original band members included Art Blakey (drummer), Horace Silver (pianist), Kenny Dorham (trumpeter), Lou Donaldson (saxophonist) and Gene Ramey (double bassist). Their most famous songs include ‘New York’, ‘New Jazz’, ‘Olympia’, ‘One by One’, ‘Take Five’, ‘Two of a Kind’, ‘E.T.A’, ‘Black Jazz’, ‘Fuller Lover’ and many more.

Count Basie and his Orchestra

Count Basie and his Orchestra were founded in 1935 by William Basie, who was Count Basie. Originally, nine members made up this band. These members included Joe Keyes (soloist), Oran Page (trumpeter), Buster Smith (alto saxophone), Earle Warren (alto saxophone), Lester Young (tenor saxophone), Dan Minor (trombone) and Walter Page (multi-instrumentalist on bass and piano). This jazz band released many successful hit records. Their most well-known records include, ‘Every Tub’, ‘Send in the Clowns’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’, ‘It’s Oh, So Nice’, ‘Flying Home’, ‘Magic Flea’, ‘Come Live With Me’, ‘Without a Song’, ‘I Only Have Eyes for you’.

Modern Jazz Quartet

Modern Jazz Quartet was established in 1946. For the most part, the band members included John Lewis (pianist), Connie Kay (drummer), Milt Jackson and Kenny Clarke (vibraphonist). They were a well-known name in the jazz world with many popular hits. Such as, ‘Summertime’, ‘One Note Samba’, ‘The Cylinder’, ‘Autumn in New York’, ‘One Bass Hit’, ‘How High the Moon’, ‘Odds Against Tomorrow’, ‘Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West’.

Miles Davis Quintet

The Miles Davis Quintet band was obviously led by the extremely talented musician Miles Davis. He created this band in 1955 and they created music for over 15 years together. The members included Tony Williams (drummer), Ron Carter (double bass), Wayne Shorter (Tenor Saxophone), Herbie Handcock (Piano) and Philly Joe Jones (drummer). Jazz enthusiasts with undoubtedly recognise at least one of their songs. Popular songs include ‘So What’, ‘Milestones’, ‘Blue in Green’, ‘Human Nature’, ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘It Never Entered My Mind’, ‘Bopilicity’, ‘The Senate’.

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five

Louis Daniel Armstrong was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist, and actor with a huge passion for creating jazz music. He was extremely influential in jazz history. He created Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five in 1925. The original band consisted of Armstrong’s wife, Lil Hardin Armstrong (pianist), Kid Ory (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet) and Johnny St. Cyr (guitar and banjo). However, in 1928, he decided to replace all band members apart from himself. He made this decision in hope that his band would make it in the jazz world and become more successful. And they did. They went on to create many well-known songs. Such as ‘Hotter Than That’, ‘Ory’s Creole Trombone’, ‘Heebie Jeebies’, ‘King of the Zulus’, ‘Two Dueces’, ‘Struttin’ With Some Barbecue’, ‘Savoy Blues’ and more.

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