(Closed) Band Music

posted 8 years ago in Music
Post # 3
466 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I’m having a DJ, but your question got me so excited!  Are you having a big band, like an orchestra???  That is so freakin’ cool!  I love swing music!  Make sure they play the classics like “Sing, Sing, Sing,” “In the Mood, “Sentimental Journey,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” etc. 

Post # 4
2054 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2011


what exactly do you mean by a “big” band? are they a wedding band or just a regular band?

Post # 6
2788 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

We’re having a 11 piece band (12 if you count the DJ, who comes with the band). While we haven’t picked out a set yet, we picked them because they are really versatile; they go seamlessly between Frank, Barry White to Usher (no joke!!)

If you want, here’s the website for a list of some of our band’s repertoire.

Post # 7
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

My guy and I are avid Lindy Hoppers, so I’ve got an opinion (plus) on this:

Our 19 piece band (I don’t think they’re counting one of the vocalists in that)http://www.buddysbigband.com/index_files/Page924.htm They play monthly for the Fort Worth crowd so they know what they’re doing (except for their waltz/latin dance pieces which only appeal to a select group- that isn’t mine. ) We haven’t picked out an exact set list yet because we’re so picky about what we will dance to and keep hoping the band will pull out even better charts.

Dancing (and the songs you choose for it) is a very personal thing, but here are some guidelines that we give new DJs tweaked for a wedding:

-Avoid Neoswing (when in doubt of doing a cover, do the original, always the best). Big Band=/= Neo Swing. So no: Squirrel Nut Zippers, Stray Cats, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, etc. Stray Cats and maybe SNZ will work for a causal thing but you do not want “Stray Cat Strut” at a wedding. Crown Royal Revue may be in this list.
-Indigo Swing is a hit or miss. “Violent Love” should be avoided as should “That’s where my money goes” however, “Today’s the Day” would be perfect. They however have a slightly more neo-swing sound.
-Exceptions of some late 20th/early 21st: Campus 5, Charlotte Swing Orchestra, Boilermaker Jazz Band, Mora’s Modern Swing Band/Swingtet, Bill Elliot Orchestra. These guys are very much into the old sound (ask a swing historian about what’s missing in neoswing and you’ll be there for hours). Mora’s is usually more 30’s while Bill Elliot is more mid-40’s to early 50’s. I’m partial to Mora’s but I have some favorites of Bill’s.  Those that sound old, and don’t rely on mixing and modern instruments are *usually* better, not always.
-Pick a mix of song tempos. No one wants to Shag and do Balboa for 3 hours (unless they’re at a workshop and even then they mix it up or they won’t be able to walk). Also, some slower pieces make it possible for people to “waddle” if they don’t know any actual steps. General rule of thumb: if it makes you feel tired listening to it you don’t want to dance to it. Benny Goodman’s “Fascinating Rhythm” off Swing Angel is a nice medium tempo.
– Of the oldies: Chick Webb, Louis Prima, Artie Shaw, Django Rheinhardt, Cab Calloway, the Dorseys,  are sometimes ignored in favor of Benny but don’t ignore, seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I love Benny but if I hear his arrangement of “Sing, Sing, Sing” too often I get grumpy (Jam Circles bring out the crazies and aerials that don’t have solid foundations)
-Andrew Sisters have a ton of Polkas, careful if you pick any (and I think you should). I’ve seen a lot of squished toes come out of “He’s Too Fat for Me”
-Line Dances: Shim Sham (see if you can find the George Gee and his Imaginary Orchestra version with Frankie Manning calling it from his birthday), Jitterbug Stroll, Bunny Hop etc.
-You might care to listen to the lyrics. Some pre-code songs are either referencing drugs or sex, or similar themes you may not want at your wedding. ie “Wacky Dust”


Personally, I don’t like dancing to Rat Pack- I know it’s heresy but I don’t like a lot of Sinatra. Bobby Darin I’m usually better with but for a song to dance with- meh. Kind of how you would be crazy to dance to a lot of Asylum Street Spankers’ performance songs (they do have danceable stuff too, and some great blues)

*Most Important* The Playlist should reflect you and your Fiance. You love Neoswing? Have at it. Play Brian Setzer until dawn. Louis Prima obsession? (guilty) Play a bunch! Even “King of the Swingers”! You prefer Natalie over Nat? Yay! (I’m ambivalent personally). Either one of you are clarinetists? Benny Goodman is a great choice. Trumpet? Louis or Count would be a fine choice. Don’t let this picky dancer disuade you.


I’m sorry this has turned into a mini-paper. Hope this helped!

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