Why are you called JazzCocktailHour? Do you only play cocktail hours?
Well, it’s kind of a reflection of reality these days. Over the past few years, as DJs began to edge out live wedding bands, I noticed that many brides who hired DJs still wanted to have live music at their wedding. The cocktail hour is perfect for this, so we decided to make that our primary focus.
We also perform for all types of engagements, including wedding ceremonies, receptions and rehearsal dinners.
Why do people hire DJs rather than live musicians for their wedding receptions?
The most important reason is price. A professional eight or ten-piece live band can cost $10,000 or more for a four-hour wedding reception, and DJs charge less than this. Also some people would rather hear the original recordings of their favorite songs rather than interpretations played by live musicians. However there are still lots of live bands working today because many people would rather pay a little more to have the magic of live music on their special day.
Why do people still want live music?
This is a question I’m asked probably more than any other. The answer is that people just love live music. There is something very direct and emotional about a musician performing for people. It’s like giving them a gift. Also people like to watch the music-making process and they become emotionally involved in it. It’s a very rewarding experience.
We play music with joy and passion to enhance your special day, which is a celebration of life and love. We are consistently told by brides and grooms that our music made their day into something special. We want your guests to be talking about your wedding day for years to come, and we will do everything we can to make that a reality.
Can you perform with our DJ?
We would be more than happy to alternate sets with a DJ, and we often do this. For example we often play during the earlier parts of the evening, for the the toasts and dinner, then afterwards the DJ plays for dancing.
A DJ company told me that they can offer a live musician to play along with their recorded music. Do you do this?
Some DJ companies do indeed offer a live musician (usually a saxophone player or percussionist) to play along with their recorded music. This is usually just for a visual effect and in our opinion it’s not really what live music is about so we don’t do it.
How many people are in your band and what’s the instrumentation?
Our basic format is as a four piece band, usually guitar, piano, bass and drums. We often play as a duo or trio, or we can add a singer, horns, percussion or other instruments. You can have any size band that you want. We offer a variety of instrumental formats to suit your needs.
Are all the band members professionals?
Yes. I only work with the most talented and professional musicians. All our musicians are very experienced playing weddings and parties, and many of them have graduated from the top conservatories in the country.
What types of music do you play?
We are first and foremost a jazz band that plays standards from the 30’s through today’s modern sounds. Everything from Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald to Count Basie, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. Our song selection also includes original music featuring modern jazz grooves incorporating hip hop, reggae and calypso.
Do you take requests?
Absolutely! If there is a song that you’d like to hear us play, we’ll play it for you. We just require a reasonable notice so that we can learn the music if we don’t already know it.
My brother is a great guitarist. Can he sit in with the band?
This can be a great treat for your family and friends, and we’re happy to talk to you about it. We need to know ahead of time though, to make sure everyone is prepared and sounds their best, and we have the necessary equipment.
Can we meet you before the event?
Definitely! We’d love to meet with the bride and groom or the coordinator at your convenience, so we can get to know one another. We sound our best when we are able to meet your expectations, so I always take the time to get to know as much as I can about you and what type of feeling you want your music to create. I’ll always return your calls promptly and last minute schedule changes are accommodated cheerfully.
Do you have references we can speak to?
I’d be happy to put you in touch with some of my past clients.
Our cocktail hour is going to be longer than an hour. How long can you play?
Many of our clients’ cocktail hours are actually cocktail hour-and-a-halfs, and there is never a charge for this. If you discover that due to unforeseen circumstances, you need us to play longer than expected, we will play overtime for a small charge.
How many breaks do you take and now long are they?
For an event lasting up to 1-1/2 hours, we don’t take any breaks. If we are to play longer, we typically play 45-55 minutes per hour.
What happens when you take a break?
If you want, we can provide continuous recorded music during any breaks we take. If you’d like us to play songs from your iPod, that’s fine too, we’ll put it through our P.A. system.
How do you dress?
We always wear suits and ties and look professional and polished. If you prefer us to wear tuxedos or formal attire, or dress more casually, we’re happy to do that too.
Will you play for our ceremony?
We’d love to! We most often play ceremonies with just the guitar and keyboard or bass, but the instrumentation is up to you. We will work with you ahead of time to plan out your ceremony music, and are happy to play most any music you request.
How much time do you need for set-up?
It usually takes us under 45 minutes to set up. We will be set up and ready to play at least 15 minutes before your first guest arrives. We work seamlessly with all the other professionals who are working for you. You never have to worry about conflicts. We’ll be ready to play for you and your guests no matter what happens.
Do you charge for set-up time?
Can you provide a PA System?
Yes. We always bring a PA system with us for cocktail hours and parties. If you need us to use a separate, extra PA system for the ceremony, we are happy to bring it if necessary, for a small fee.
Do we need to provide any equipment?
No, we will bring all the equipment we need. We just need standard electricity within a reasonable distance of where we will be playing.
How loud are you?
We are not a loud band. Since cocktail hours are a time for guests to socialize and mingle, we never play so loud that conversation becomes difficult. If you want us to play louder or quieter, just ask us and we’ll accommodate your needs.
Do we need to feed you?
For a cocktail hour this is not necessary, but if we will be playing for longer than three hours, then yes, please! But there’s no need to give us the same meal as your guests. We do need access to water or soft drinks though.
Will you travel?
We love to travel and play new places. If we have to drive more than 50 miles from New York City there will be a small travel fee.
If you have any other questions, please email me at JazzCocktailHour@gmail.com or call John at 917-612-9405.