And Is there one you like to hear on your favorite Jazz recordings .
Most like to hear: Piano/Keyboards
Favorite instruments for jazz:
1) Saxophone, usually tenor or alto
Note: when depending on public support then move "vocals" to position #1, for example listen to WBGO-FM, a publicly supported radio station which plays at least 50% vocals day in and day out.
Whenever I hear a horn ( thats not attached to a car ) , I think of Jazz .
Sax, for sure!
We heard a guy playing an alto sax at the club last night , it was the essence of Jazz .
Could have sat there swilling whiskey all night .
i am equally inspired by saxophone (where my references are Joe Henderson or John Coltrane etc) or piano (reference: Bill Evans).
But guitar (Wes Montgomery, George Benson or these days Norman Brown or Paul Brown), trumpet (Rick Braun), flugel (Chuck Mangione) can also be equally memorable. Oh let's not forget bass (listen to Marcus Miller's rendition of "I'll be there" on his latest, pristinely recorded too). Some of the stuff Jef Kearns does with flute is pretty awesome too.
So I guess the essence of jazz is change. :)
But if you think about entirely solo, acoustic performances, prolly only piano and guitar are bearable without a band to back them up.