Many British jazz banjo players use a mute to get a jazzier tone.
They position the mute about a quarter of an inch behind the bridge, and screw it tightly. The idea is that fewer vibrations are lost to the tailpiece, but more are sent to the banjo head through the bridge.
Looking for a "jazzier" tone out of a mastertone clone
I like the sould of Alison Brown's instrument.. I suspect is as much her playign as the banjo
but I thought I would ask
Bridge ? Strings head tightness
I like the sound of alison browns instrument also...
My suggestion is to experiment with your own instrument and find what brings out the jazzy aspect of your playing...
I play Gibson banjos Strings-GHS JD Crowes OR GHS ALmost mediums Bridge-Mcpeack OR Sosobee bridge Head tension-depends on the banjo...loose on my maple banjo and tight on my mahogany banjo...probably somewhere between a G# to an A
we find: " I have a ludwig on my walnut Bellflower and it has a much fuller tone than a thinner remo. To tone down some of the brightness of my Stelling I use a walnut bridge (an idea I got from Alison Brown).
So she may really use a walnut bridge and a Five-Star (=Ludwig) head.
After much experimentation, I would say the kind of wood your banjo is made of makes a significant difference. I much prefer mahogany and walnut. Alison Brown uses a bridge made by Rick Sampson. I used one of his made of koa and ebony for years: they are fantstically dark. They are still available.
Loosening your head will help. I even used a fiberskin head for a while, but found it too muddy. Having your tailpiece pointed up and only finger tight tends to open up the sound. Then there is plugging in, reverb, chorus, delay. Let's not forget that many jazz guitarists consider their rig and amp to be half of their sound.
Of course your touch on the instrument will make the biggest difference. How close to bridge you play, the angle of your hand, your time feel.
Best of luck, it's really an ongoing discovery to find your own sound.