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Choosing a jazz band for your party - music

 

In many years of arranging jazz bands for all sorts of actions I am struck by the similarity of how the application is made by most of our clients.

It goes a little like this: "We are looking for a jazz band to play at our wedding / book launch / category fun day / sixtieth birthday/ store break etc. "?"oh yes, we say, what style of jazz band ?"?"Er, not quite sure. What styles have you got?"

It was since of this chat I felt this commentary would be accommodating in choosing the right kind of jazz band for your party, celebration or event.

Rather than go all through a chronicle of the advance of jazz from the purists angle it would be easier to list a add up to of types of event and match them up to styles of jazz band with a short category of the jazz band most expected to suit the occasion. Lets start with the wedding.

You are most apt 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 cathedral and your guests are near back at the place you have selected for the celebrations. What beat way than to have them met by a jazz band.

As champagne and Pimms is handed out the band just adds a complete happy background 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 blissfully dress up in stripy blazers or waistcoats and play lovely old brisk tunes from that era such as "When the Saints Come Marching In" "The Charleston" "Bill Bailey Won't You Choose Come Home" and "Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue". The instrumentation is customarily banjo, sousaphone (a tuba that you can wear) and a frontline instrument or two such as trumpet, sax or trombone. The band is cell and acoustic and can move about the site entertaining guests in atypical locations. Artists allied with the genre consist of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Fats Waller.

Swing Jazz. Names of musicians linked with this style of jazz band are Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. The music is above all from the late thirties and early forties and is very melodic. Ella Fitzgerald ongoing her career at this time in Harlem and had great hit with the Chick Webb band. The jazz band will in all probability 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 almost certainly bring in an thrilling piano, which the musicians will bring along with a speaker. They will need a power amount and logistics of this must be taken into contemplation when choosing the jazz band. Are your guests near a power supply, is the clarity in or outdoors, how does the weather forecast look? Finally, how big be supposed to the jazz band be? For both styles a trio or foursome will be fine.

After the Wedding Breakfast. Your guests have sat all the way through a large meal, fine wines and a number of speeches counting a faintly uncomfortable one from the best man! They are ready to stretch their legs, use the loos, have a cigarette and carry on chatting to old acquaintances who they may have not seen for some time. They are not yet ready to dance. Your jazz band must know this and must be before a live audience apposite available tunes in an bland way. You don`t want a avant-garde jazz band at this point. Known variously as Be-Bop, Current 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 classy smoky tunes, maybe with some singing part such as "Let there be love" "The Girl From Ipanema" "My Baby Just Cares For Me". Artists allied with this kind of jazz add in Stan Getz, Billie Celebration 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 awareness of your guests. Category is the key. I would bring to mind a mix of Latin, Jump Jive, swing, old style Rhythm and Blues and even Funky jazz adjoining on Soul. Not many jazz bands can carry this variety. Ask at the point of booking what the jazz band proposes to play at this point. Do they have a appropriate vocalist/vocalists? Can they play segue (one song after another) to keep guests on the floor.

My judgment based on many years before a live audience for such parties is this. Nevertheless 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 at all times 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 a different bandleaders band at such an cause it saddens me that the bandleader has not made provision for such an eventuality. It consequences in depressed clients and frustrated revelers. Choose 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 acceptance prior to going into dinner. Last year an cover circle asked me for a amount of jazz bands that could play for the benevolent 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 consider a touch of the company, a sense of fun or cleverness for the event. Interest needs to be alert on how you want the band to dress. Tuxedos? Lie about 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 faultlessly dressed and have a sense of the occasion. They need to be glad about that guests are there not just to snoop to them but for all sorts of other reasons. A quiet credentials Banquet Jazz band lends just the right tone to this type of engagement. Loud a sufficient amount to build a mood but not to drown out what maybe very chief and money-spinning conversations! The style of music will be Bossa Nova, light swing and Lounge. In my be subjected to a group of four or quintet is a accurate size band. Words are needless and can distract your guests.

Store openings. Every year we open or revive a digit of supermarkets, mainframe shop outlets, video and dvd supplies all over the country. The jazz band has continually been a visual and audible part of the promotion. The jazz band in ask tends to be a Dixieland trio or quartet. They are absolute being, as we read above, acoustic and mobile. The music is optimistic and heartening and with a sense of fun. The jazz band dresses in stripy outfits, which help coin the right mood for the day.

Corporate Entertainment. This is a large term and covers something from Henley, Ascot, Car Racing days, as well as themed actions in spectacular settings. The Dixieland band is achieve for the approximately episode 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 freezing vibe. Do you want your guests to dance? This can be quite rare. Certitude makers tend not to break into a frantic bop half way all through the afternoon! Conversely if ancestors members have been invited this is quite common. A Latin Jazz band can be very efficient in this job and it is arduous to close the eyes to the contagious beats.

A note of caution. Is your event for a amount 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 a selection of discretion or, dare I say, a a number of blasé` advance to the world of celebrity. As a musician I come athwart stars of stage and screen, royalty, politicians, community numbers and minor soap stars every month and I think it is cherished when they are given a a selection of sum of space and not ogled. Use a jazz band who are used to live for such audiences. They need to be sociable, articulate, neatly curved out and not fazed when approached by a accustomed face!

Time for a recap: 1. Desire the jazz band from the perspective of what is mandatory from them. Do you want backdrop 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 admission to power? Can they play acoustically if need be?

4. What tunes can they play? Ask them for a repertoire list, do you acknowledge the . titles?

5. Are they professionals? This may seem evident but there are many musicians out there who have retired from full time work or are in among jobs and are creation their hobby a basis of income. How long have they worked as professionals? Who have they played with in the past? What encounter do they have in performing arts for the type of event you are having?

6. Ask for a check out cd. What is their media hype like? You need to be convinced that you are receiving a steadfast authority company that will turn up in a lot of time, look the part, be completely co-operative to your needs and play apposite music. The right jazz band can make your party, the wrong one can spoil it to some less significant or larger degree.

7. Are they flexible? You do not want to find out half way all through a dance that the band you have booked can only play one style of jazz. Ask them when you are allowing for 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. Converse a rider with the band. Are you supplying munchies for the jazz band? Even though not likely drinks are very much cherished chiefly if the band is on site for a while with no admission to food and drink. If it is not expedient don't worry. If the jazz band knows in build up they can make their own arrangements.

9. Have you expressed to the band what type of music you want to hear? Don't worry if you are not conversant about jazz. Tell the jazz bandleader or agent the tunes you like and the artists you like. This will give the leader/agent an brilliant idea of which bands to recommend. Look all the way through your cd assembly for ideas; ask contacts and ancestors for suggestions. When the jazz band turns up it will be as it should be briefed and able to give the act you wanted.

About the author
Jeff Williams is a London based trombonist and soloist who has worked all over the world in most areas of the business. He also runs a successful, specialist, live music bureau using the best of London musicians, servicing both concealed and corporate clients in concert all over the country. He would be happy to give advice you with your own event or party and offers adapted solutions for the absolute occasion.

Contact him on +44(0)20 8761 8932 or +44(0)7747 801471 Email him on bonejeff@aol. com

Visit the website http://www. jazznotjazz. co. uk


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