The brainchild of jazz flutist Ali Ryerson, the JFBB is a fairly new concept in flute choirs. First appearing as a reading band as part of the National Flute Association’s annual convention, the band is modeled after the traditional big bands of the Swing Era and beyond. Instead of saxophones, trombones and trumpets, all of the “horns” are flutes accompanied by standard rhythm section.
The basic instrumentation is: Piccolo, C Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Contra Bass Flute, Piano, Bass and Drums. This instrumentation can vary according to the piece and composer/arranger. Generally it is best to have two or three players on each C and Alto Flute part, four to six bass flutes (if possible) and one or two contra bass flutes (also, if possible). As far as the contra bass flute goes, I usually write the contra with the idea that I might have to live without it, and so, anything that must be there is cued into the bass part – usually arco.