How to Choose the Right Jazz Band To Suit your Special Event – Part3

How to Choose the Right Jazz Band To Suit your Special Event – Part3
Welcome back.

Well we are almost there!

Now you are confident with the size of your Jazz Band and the style of Jazz you enjoy and require, its time to choose the instruments.This isn’t so difficult if you are choosing from well qualified and gifted musicians as they will sound great no matter what combination. However here are some tips to achieve the very best sound and style for your next event…

Piano, Double Bass and Guitar are considered instruments of rhythm if your budget can’t stretch to include a Drummer. Ideally the Bass is the better of the 3 but the Guitar and Piano can set a rhythm also.

A Saxophone, whether its an Alto or Tenor are very cool and stylish, look great and create an atmosphere that none other can. A Soprano Sax is a nice addition also but doesn’t have the groove of the Alto and Tenor. If your Saxophonist is an expert player he will certainly delight and entertain your guests. A great singer and a great saxophonist together will leave a lasting impression for sure.

I have recently been approached to perform a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. A vast majority of Ella’s recordings were with a Piano. I would recommend the same. A good starting point would be Piano and vocals, however a Double Bass would make a significant difference, adding groove, style, depth, warmth and rhythm. Visually this combo looks great also. People love the look of a double bass and it contributes greatly to that swing feel. If your budget allows, the drums are a definite. Jazz drumming is different from pop and rock so they are not obtrusive but rather blend well with the other instruments. If you want your guests toes tapping then the drummer will achieve this for sure. They can swap from sticks to brushes depending on the mood or volume required.

I recently performed at a corporate function at Doltone House in Sydney. They wanted back ground music during dinner and then a bit of dancing to finish the night off. They initially requested a Saxophone, Piano and Vocals. Great combo. I suggested adding drums if they were keen on a dance set or 2. They took my advice and the host was most thankful. The drums definitely entice people onto the dance floor.

A muted trumpet if played well is just awe inspiring. Have a listen to Michael Buble’s live version of ‘My Funny Valentine’ and you’ll know exactly what I mean. There are many talented Trumpet players in Sydney so if you want a Jazz band with a difference – add a muted trumpet. So let me list some popular Jazz ensembles for you that work well. Starting from a basic set up right thru to a Quintet;

Duo;
Piano and Vocals
Jazz Guitar and Vocals

Trio;
Guitar, Double Bass and Vocals
Piano, Bass and Vocals
Piano/Guitar, Drums and Vocals
Piano/Guitar, Sax and Vocals

Quartet;
Vocals, Piano/Guitar, Drums and Bass
Vocals, Piano/Guitar, Drums and Sax
Vocals, Piano, Trumpet, and Bass
Vocals, Piano, Sax and Bass

Quintet;
Vocals, Piano/Guitar, Bass, Drums and Sax
Vocals, Piano/Guitar, Drums, Bass and Trumpet
Vocals, Piano/Guitar, Bass, Drums and Flute
Vocals, Piano, Bass, Guitar, Drums

Lastly lets look at Vocals.

The wonderful thing about hiring a Jazz Band, is its versatility. Not just in the playing but in the mood and the dynamics. How many pop bands can you hire play instrumentals amongst their vocal sets or play instrumentals and then add vocals soon after and do it with skill, precision, improvisation and sophistication? None that I know of. Theres more choice when it comes to creating an atmosphere with a Jazz band. If you are wanting music during dinner for example, a Jazz Band can start with a few instrumentals then add the vocals and then during the rest of the sets can throw in an instrumental or 2 for variation. The guests get to indulge in the abilities of these wonderfully talented musicians and next they are delighted with some refreshing and sophisticated vocals. It’s a great mix and it really works. For a more foreground Jazz band – its of course vocals all the way!

But why can’t a pop band do the same? The answer is simple…..Jazz Musicians (well the ones in my band) have trained and studied Jazz for many many years, starting with their grades right through to 5-7 years at the Conservatorium of Music followed by ongoing courses throughout their professional careers. They are truly dedicated to their art. Pop bands don’t require the same dedication therefore they cannot offer the same versatility and abilities.

So if you are wanting an Instrumental band but on the other hand would like to have some great vocals to leave a more lasting impression, how about having the best of both worlds? Thats just one of the advantages of hiring a Jazz band and this is something my band and I will provide – Versatility. Along with style, sophistication, fun, ability and professionalism.

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