Choosing a Jazz Band for Your Party
In many years of arranging jazz bands for all sorts of events I am struck by the similarity of how the request is made by most of our clients.
It goes something like this: "We are looking for a jazz band to play at our wedding / book launch / family fun day / sixtieth birthday/ store opening etc."?"oh yes, we say, what style of jazz band ?"?"Er, not quite sure. What styles have you got?"
It was because of this exchange I felt this article would be helpful in choosing the right kind of jazz band for your party, celebration or event.
Rather than go through a history of the development of jazz from the purists angle it would be easier to list a number of types of event and match them up to styles of jazz band with a short description of the jazz band most likely to suit the occasion. Lets start with the wedding.
You are most likely to want a jazz band at your wedding at two points in the days proceedings.
The reception. You and your partner have just left the church and your guests are nearly back at the place you have chosen for the celebrations. What better way than to have them met by a jazz band.
As champagne and Pimms is handed out the band just adds a perfect happy backdrop to the moment. There are two main types of jazz band that can suit the moment:
A Dixieland band or a swing band.
Dixieland Jazz. This is jazz from the early twenties. The musicians will happily dress up in stripy blazers or waistcoats and play lovely old jaunty tunes from that era such as "When the Saints Come Marching In" "The Charleston" "Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home" and "Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue". The instrumentation is usually banjo, sousaphone (a tuba that you can wear) and a frontline instrument or two such as trumpet, sax or trombone. The band is mobile and acoustic and can move around the site entertaining guests in different locations. Artists associated with the genre include Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Fats Waller.
Swing Jazz. Names of musicians associated with this style of jazz band are Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. The music is mainly from the late thirties and early forties and is very melodic. Ella Fitzgerald started her career at this time in Harlem and had great success with the Chick Webb band. The jazz band will probably play lots of tunes from Broadway Shows from the time such as "Funny Valentine" "It Had To Be You" "Making Whoopee" " It Don`t Mean A Thing If It Ain`t Got That Swing". This jazz band can be acoustic but will probably include an electric piano, which the musicians will supply along with a speaker. They will need a power supply and logistics of this must be taken into consideration when choosing the jazz band. Are your guests near a power supply, is the reception indoors or outdoors, how does the weatherforecast look? Finally, how big should the jazz band be? For both styles a trio or quartet will be fine.
After the Wedding Breakfast. Your guests have sat through a gargantuan meal, fine wines and various speeches including a slightly embarrassing one from the best man! They are ready to stretch their legs, use the loos, have a cigarette and carry on chatting to old friends who they may have not seen for some time. They are not yet ready to dance. Your jazz band should know this and should be playing suitable accessible tunes in an unobtrusive way. You don`t want a modern jazz band at this point. Known variously as Be-Bop, Modern Jazz, West Coast and played by such artists as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, this is music for the concert hall or jazz club. You want sophisticated smoky tunes, maybe with some vocals such as "Let there be love" "The Girl From Ipanema" "My Baby Just Cares For Me". Artists associated with this kind of jazz include Stan Getz, Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole. Maybe also think about some Rat Pack tunes that the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin performed.
Music for dancing. If you are set on having a jazz band for the dancing ask your jazz band how many styles of jazz and swing can they perform. A jazz band that plays swing tune after swing tune all night is going to lose the attention of your guests. Variety is the key. I would suggest a mix of Latin, Jump Jive, swing, old style Rhythm and Blues and even Funky jazz bordering on Soul. Not many jazz bands can handle this variety. Ask at the point of booking what the jazz band proposes to play at this point. Do they have a suitable vocalist/vocalists? Can they play segue (one song after another) to keep guests on the floor.
My opinion based on many years playing for such parties is this. However much you love Jazz, Swing, call it what you will, at some point in the proceedings some one will want to dance to some classic soul or rock and roll. It is inevitable, it always happens. I see it week in and week out, year in and year out. When I have been employed as a trombonist to play in another bandleaders band at such an occasion it saddens me that the bandleader has not made provision for such an eventuality. It results in unhappy clients and frustrated revelers. Please take note if you want a full dance floor!
Next we come to the corporate reception. This manifests itself in many guises. It could be a jazz band for a book launch, a jazz band for a thank you drinks party, a jazz band for a reception prior to going into dinner. Last year an insurance company asked me for a number of jazz bands that could play for the giving out of its employers bonuses! We had never seen such happy parties and not a drop of alcohol in site!
Think what is being asked of the jazz band in question. The band is being asked to reflect something of the company, a sense of fun or sophistication for the event. Attention needs to be focused on how you want the band to dress. Tuxedos? Lounge Suits? Are your guests networking or being thanked for their year's business? Most bands that get asked to do this type of work need to be impeccably dressed and have a sense of the occasion. They need to appreciate that guests are there not just to listen to them but for all sorts ofother reasons. A quiet background Dinner Jazz band lends just the right tone to this type of engagement. Loud enough to create a mood but not to drown out what maybe very important and lucrative conversations! The style of music will be Bossa Nova, light swing and Lounge. In my experience a quartet or quintet is a perfect size band. Vocals are unnecessary and can distract your guests.
Store openings. Every year we open or reopen a number of supermarkets, computer shop outlets, video and dvd stores all over the country. The jazz band has always been a visual and audible part of the promotion. The jazz band in question tends to be a Dixieland trio or quartet. They are perfect being, as we read above, acoustic and mobile. The music is optimistic and uplifting and with a sense of fun. The jazz band dresses in stripy outfits, which help create the right mood for the day.
Corporate Entertainment. This is a large term and covers anything from Henley, Ascot, Car Racing days, as well as themed events in spectacular settings. The Dixieland band is perfect for the almost period feel of Henley and the swing band works just as effectively. Think "Dixieland jazz band" for happy, spirited, fun image. "Swing jazz band for a more sophisticated, laid back and chilled vibe. Do you want your guests to dance? This can be quite rare. Decision makers tend not to break into a frenzied bop half way through the afternoon! However if family members have been invited this is quite common. A Latin Jazz band can be very effective in this situation and it is difficult to ignore the infectious beats.
A note of caution. Is your event for a number of dignitaries and celebrities? If so they will not want to be photographed by the jazz band or even talked to by the jazz band. You need a band with a certain discretion or, dare I say, a certain blasé` approach to the world of celebrity. As a musician I come across stars of stage and screen, royalty, politicians, public figures and minor soap stars every month and I think it is appreciated when they are given a certain amount of space and not ogled. Use a jazz band who are used to playing for such audiences. They need to be sociable, articulate, smartly turned out and not fazed when approached by a familiar face!
Time for a recap:1. Choose the jazz band from the perspective of what is required from them. Do you want background music or do you want to dance?
2. How many guests do you have? Is the band the right size? Is it dressed correctly?
3. Is the band outside? Do you have access to power? Can they play acoustically if need be?
4. What tunes can they play? Ask them for a repertoire list, do you recognize the . titles?
5. Are they professionals? This may seem obvious but there are many musicians out there who have retired from full time work or are in between jobs and are making their hobby a source of income. How long have they worked as professionals? Who have they played with in the past? What experience do they have in performing for the type of event you are having?
6. Ask for a sample cd. What is their publicity like? You need to be confident that you are getting a reliable professional outfit that will turn up in plenty of time, look the part, be totally co-operative to your needs and play suitable music. The right jazz band can make your party, the wrong one can spoil it to some lesser or greater degree.
7. Are they flexible? You do not want to find out half way through a dance that the band you have booked can only play one style of jazz. Ask them when you are considering booking them. Can they play some Classic Soul? Can they do some Latin tunes? Don't be fobbed off with "We do a bit of everything" Ask them for a repertoire list.
8. Discuss a rider with the band. Are you supplying refreshments for the jazz band? Although not expected refreshments are very much appreciated especially if the band is on site for a while with no access to food and drink. If it is not convenient don't worry. If the jazz band knows in advance they can make their own arrangements.
9. Have you articulated to the band what type of music you want to hear? Don't worry if you are not knowledgeable about jazz. Tell the jazz bandleader or agent the tunes you like and the artists you like. This will give the leader/agent an excellent idea of which bands to recommend. Look through your cd collection for ideas; ask friends and family for suggestions. When the jazz band turns up it will be properly briefed and able to give the performance you wanted.
About the author
Contact him on +44(0)20 8761 8932 or +44(0)7747 801471Email him on email@example.com
Visit the website http://www.jazznotjazz.co.uk
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
At Austrian foreign minister's wedding, Putin brings the music, the flowers and the controversy - Washington Post
Music and Healing: The Power of Meaningful Words and Music
We All Have a Favorite Piece of Music that Moves Us to a Special Place in Our Hearts. A Conversion About the Music We Love and How It Colors Our Lives.
Managing Your Time, when Music isnt Your Day Job
You CAN do everything.Repeat.
A Dying Cat And A Nylon String Guitar
"Music isn't just learning notes and playing them, you learn notes to play to the music of your soul" - Katie Greenwood.Why are you learning music anyway? Is it to pick up chicks? Is it to fulfill a void in your mundane life? Is it an indescribable calling?I always wanted to learn the drums.
How the Internet Helps Musicians
Everyone talks about the negative impact of the Internet on the music business. Illegal file sharing and copyright violations have decimated the profits in the industry.
The British Invasion
The Kasabian concert at the Kool Haus seemed like a concert somewhere in England (even though I haven't been there). This band out of Leicester pumped out amazing electronic, rock beats with an amazing light show.
Rabbitt Productions - Up & Coming Atlanta Producer
When you think of music in Atlanta you generally think of Crunk Music but there is more to Atlanta's musical soundscape than that. Lots of young musicians in the A-Town venture off into different musical directions.
3 Quick & Easy Steps To Playing Music by Ear
Playing by ear is the ability to play a piece of music (or, eventually, learn an instrument) by simply listening to it repeatedly. The majority of self-taught musicians began their education this way; they picked up their instrument and began playing an easy melody from a well-known song, slowly picking out the notes as they went along.
Songs Await Singer
I Want To Grow Old With You (C)Chorus: I want to grow old with you..
Why Play Guitar?
As a full-time guitar instructor, I am constantly faced with people in all walks of life who, for all different kinds of reasons, believe that playing the guitar will add something to their lives. Most people that are just starting the guitar for the first time are young (pre-university) although certainly not all.
Hip Hop Clothing
Celebrities now such as Outkast, a fashion wear can be a must have. Likewise gainful for celebrities included within the clothing lines world, which is how come we are in possession of these most up to date hip hop clothing lines on the market like, FuBu.
Flaming Guitars! Minarik Fuels The Excitement of a New Generation of Musicians
From the Telecaster to the Flying V to the Iceman to the Warlock, some guitar designs are forever branded on our consciousness, and now there's a new one: the Minarik Inferno X-treme. The body shape erupts in furious fingers of flame.
What All Do I Have to Know to be a Really Good Piano Player?
Many students ask me a question that goes something like this:"What all do I have to know to be a really good piano player?"The trouble with a question like that is that it ignores individual differences such as talent, motivation, freedom to practice, and a hundred other variables.How much did Mozart have to know? How much did Erroll Garner know? Mozart could play far better than I can when he was 3.
Arpeggios and New Age Piano Playing
Chopin used them extensively. So did Beethoven and Mozart.
How to Make State-of-the-Art Video Singles Cheaply
When it comes to promoting their new music releases, I have found that most musicians only consider radio as the vehicle for exposing their music to the public.Rarely do they consider publicity, in the form of print media, i.
Guide to Finding Music Online
Are you frustrated because finding your favorite songs on the net has become more of a chore than an enjoyable activity? Read this simple guide to finding music online and your troubles will be out of mind before you download your next Green Day hit!MP3s are compressed music files that are one-tenth the size of regular audio files. As a normal audio file requires about 40 megabytes to download, and MP3 requires four.
The Revolution of Electric Guitars
Sometime during the 1930's electric guitars were introduced onto the music scene, which began a revolution in sound and technology that continues to this day. After Rock and Roll was born in the 1950's, it didn't take very long for electric guitars to grow in popularity and become one of the most coveted instruments of all time.
"Who Else Wants to Get Screwed When Signing a Recording or Songwriting Deal?!?!"
You've got your recording (or songwriting) contract in hand and everything's coming up roses, right? You get your check, finally, but it's not quite what you expected. If you sign not knowing what's owed you then you might be shorted some well-deserved income.
Creating Within Limits
When I first started playing the piano I wanted to learn how to compose. The idea that I could create something tangible really appealed to me.
How to Play Piano Using a Few Chords
How many chords do you need to create a piece of music? Would you believe that it doesn't really matter and that whole pieces of music have been created using just one chord? For example, if you play a D minor 7 chord, you could use the bass note D to create a drone effect and anchor the whole improvisation. It could last for a few seconds or many minutes.
The First The American Idol Kelly Clarkson
There is a lot more to the story that meets the eye, at least, where Kelly Clarkson, the American Idol, is concerned. Her rise to the top of the charts was not an easy one and any struggling singer-wannabe can probably identify with the grit and determination this young pop singer has shown.
|home | site map|