A Big Band is a larger orchestra composed of two basic instrument sections - the wind section and the so-called rhythms. The wind section usually has 3 - 5 trumpet players, 3 - 4 trombones and 3 - 5 saxophones. In the Big Band, rhythm - that indispensable part of every orchestra - is the task of the piano, percussion instruments, guitar and double bass, possibly also the bass-guitar. Most Big Bands thus have 15 - 20 players.
Big Bands were first established in the United States of America in the late 1920's - with the arrival of the swing era - and they soon spread to the European continent. These orchestras presented the first occasions when black and white jazz musicians played together - many of them enjoying wide acclaim also as brilliant soloists. Through the presentations of these orchestras, jazz lost its strong expressive character and found a broader public - it became popular as music to dance and listen to, mature enough even for the concert podium.
To name just a few of what are now the legendary Big Bands of this golden era - trombone player Glenn Miller's Orchestra, pianist Count Bassie's Orchestra or the Orchestra of clarinet player Benny Goodman, the "king of swing".