Big Band Cocktail & Dinner Party

I take great pride in specializing in Big Band music, and in having one of, if not THE (yeah, who are we kidding – I’m not modest) absolute best collection of Big Band music and Popular Vocal Standards from the 20s through the 50s in the Sacramento area.

This last weekend, I had a wonderful time playing a Big Band themed birthday party at the Delta King on the river, and I’d like to share some of the playlist from that event.  This party, and the venue, both lent themselves well to exploring all of these great musical traditions from an era gone by.

Unfortunately, not all of the selections I played are even available on YouTube, which just speaks to the size and depth of my collection, but I’ve listed those that are below so you can research them yourself, and have fun learning more about these artists and their music.

Also keep in mind that not all of these will be the exact versions present in my library, and in most all cases, the material I have sounds a lot better from a  fidelity standpoint.  We do have to remember, though, that recording technology was in its infancy when these musics were flourishing, and the overall fidelity, as well as the imperfections are just a part of the charm of these selections, and really help to transport you back in time!

Please enjoy these selections, and if you or someone you know are ever looking for a Big Band-themed wedding, or other event, please give me a call.  While you’re at it, call around and let the other folks know you’d love some classic Big Band at your event, and ask them for some examples of what they’d play.  You may (or may not) be surprised to hear them all mention Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and if you’re lucky maybe Benny Goodman or Duke Ellington for good measure.  But Big band is so much more, and has so much more to offer than just the Rat Pack & Michael Buble!

So when you’re ready, let me know!  I’d love to help you Jump, Jive & Wail your way through an awesome event and dance party!

Without further ado, let’s get started with our list!

Nat King Cole – Straighten Up And Fly Right

Duke Ellington And His Orchestra – Take The ”A” Train

Kay Starr – If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)

Patti Page – Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Count Basie – Swingin’ the Blues

Frank Foster – Lust For Life

Andrews Sisters – Rum And Coca Cola

Johnny Mercer – Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive

Clyde McCoy – Sugar Blues

Ethel Merman – I Got Rhythm

Louis Prima – Jump, Jive, An’ Wail

The Six & Seven-Eighths String Band Of New Orleans – Clarinet Marmalade

Rosemary Clooney – Mambo Italiano

Bobby Darin – Beyond The Sea

Les Paul & Mary Ford – How High the Moon

Fats Waller – Alligator Crawl

Art Kassel & His Kassels In The Air Orch. – Bell-Bottom Trousers

Louis Armstrong and the Duke Ellington Orchestra – It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it Ain’t Got That Swing)

Betty Hutton – Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra – Hotter Than ‘Ell

Les Brown & His Band of Renown – Leap Frog

Billie & De De Pierce Ft. Emile Barnes – Lonesome Road

Benny Goodman – Somebody Stole My Gal

Benny Carter – Black Bottom

Edmond Hall – It Had To Be You

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – A Fine Romance

Johnny Hodges – Something To Pay Your Foot To

Charlie Barnet – Cherokee

Dizzy Gillespie – Autumn Leaves

Benny Goodman – Let’s Dance

Blue Barron – Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider (The Three Blue Notes voc.)

Frank Sinatra – The Best Is Yet To Come

Ella Fitzgerald – Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)

Errol Garner – Red Sails In The Sunset

Count Basie – Tickle Toe

Benny Goodman – Down South Camp Meeting

Charly Barnet – Skyliner

Billie Holiday – Lover Come Back to Me

Glenn Miller – Begin the Beguine

Barney Bigard – Sugar

Emile Barnes & Lawrence Tocca W Billie Pierce – Shake It & Break It

Count Basie – April In Paris

Benny Goodman – Body & Soul

Benny Carter – I’m In The Mood For Swing

Buck Clayton – Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Nat King Cole – L.O.V.E.

 

Subwoofers. To Woof, or Not to Woof?

Hint:  It’s never REALLY a question!

One of the biggest misconceptions among DJs is that you “only need” subwoofers for larger crowds or bigger rooms.

That’s just not true. At all.Sacramento Wedding DJ.  Sounds To Go DJ Service.

Music is recorded on a spectrum of frequencies. From high to low. Everyone knows this.

Every speaker cabinet has both an upper, and lower limit to the frequencies they can reproduce. The “tops,” or speakers DJs use are no different.

Without subwoofers, specifically designed to reproduce the lower frequencies in the program material, the resulting sound is weak, thin, and hollow. Of course, modern day speaker cabinets sound great, and many do a respectable job of reproducing a limited amount of low end, but they can still only go so far.

DJs who try to run modern dance music without the benefit of dedicated subwoofers are often the ones you hear so many complaints about when it comes to sound. Because their sound lacks low end extension, and has no real body, they’re forced to crank the volume a lot higher than they should have to to fill the area they are in. The result is simply LOOUUUUDD, shrieky, distorted, and still WEAK sound. In addition to sounding terrible, and causing ear fatigue for everyone around them, they’re also placing a ton of unneeded strain on their speakers and amps. When the sound starts to get distorted, they even run the risk of damaging or blowing their speakers and amps!

Having the low-end extension offered by dedicated subwoofer enclosures becomes especially critical at events outdoors, which an ever-increasing number of wedding receptions here in Northern California generally are.  The sound disperses way faster in these outdoor settings, and higher levels are generally required to cover the same amount of people in the same amount of space because of this rapid dispersion.

These outdoor receptions and events are often attended by sound restrictions or ordinances because the location is in either a residential area, an uneven, mountainous setting where sound will echo, or is out in the middle of a large, flat area, where the sound simply travels farther.  In these cases, the initial gut instinct says that having “more bass” would be undesirable.  Here again though, the truth of the matter is counter-intuitive.  We have to remember what we said before.  Providing warmer, fuller sound, concentrated right when and where you need it means you don’t have to turn up your sound system AS A WHOLE as loud as you otherwise would!

The result?  Less echo, less sound travel, fewer grumpy neighbors, no 10:55 PM visits from local law enforcement, and so on.

Ask your potential DJs how many subs they typically bring to events. If they say “none,” that their tops “don’t need them,” or that your event or room “isn’t big enough to need them,” keep looking.

Having subwoofers at your small to medium event ISN’T “overkill,” and doesn’t mean it’s going to be “too loud” or have “too much bass.”  On the contrary, it simply means warmer, fuller sound at more reasonable volume levels all night.  If your event has music, even for background, there is a TON of benefit to having a nice, full sounding sound spectrum, and no downside whatsoever.

And yes… It also means the ability to THUMP when the time is right!

For your truly professional DJ service provider, the question is never “do we need subs?” but is rather “how many do we need?”

New Music: How do we know what’s HOT?

Have you ever wondered (okay, probably not, but I’m going to tell you anyway!) WHERE and HOW DJs get all their awesome music, and keep up with what’s hot?

How do professional DJs get all the hits BEFORE they’re hits, and before YOU want to hear them at your party, wedding, or special event?

Sacramento wedding DJ music

Professional music subscriptions for DJs help us stay current!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all the different genres and charts, keeping up on it all sure does seem like an impossible task.  Heck, to do it right would be a full-time job all on its own!

Luckily for us DJs – AND OUR CLIENTS – there are folks who’s job is just that!

While DJs will get the occasional odd request or random new track from the same types of legal music purchasing outlets you would (iTunes, Amazon.com, etc.), once we have a solid physical library built, we keep ourselves current across all the major genres and radio formats by subscribing to weekly and monthly music services like Prime Cuts music, shown in the picture here.

Each week, I get access to the newest downloads, and then I get the discs as well!

Why is it better?

Using these subscription services is more efficient, and economical that trying to pay per-song for all of the songs you might need to get to keep up.

That’s one benefit for us that works its way down to you, but what does it mean for you and your event?

  • We have access to new music QUICKER.  We get the songs from the same services that release them to radio, so we don’t wait for a song to chart to realize “oooh, may I should get this!”  At that point, it’s too late, and you, your friends, and family already know and want the song, and we’d have to lose time at your event to download it online, or worse, tell you “sorry, I don’t have that one!” (L.A.M.E.!)
  • Clean edits!  We get the edits that are released to radio, so they’re already pre-screened.  In addition to the radio edits, some services, like one I belong to, edits songs even further to make them even more friendly to the types of functions (schools, family functions, etc.) that mobile DJ’s tend to do.  You have to be careful with consumer outlets like iTunes, Amazon, etc.  Many songs are tagged wrong, and you may think you’re getting a clean version, and you’re not.  Or, you may get a version that says “clean,” but still has objectionable content because they only took out some of the potentially questionable content.
  • Backup!  Because I get discs with all of the new music each month in addition to weekly downloads, I have physical copies of all my new music, and music going back many years.  If something were ever to happen to one of my computers or hard drives before an event (I have backups anyway), I wouldn’t LOSE any of my library or have to scramble to find my music.  Having the physical copies means I always have my complete library at my disposal.  iTunes and Amazon DJs who strictly download can’t say that.
  • Faster than “The Cloud.”  In the age where we can back everything up to the cloud, one might wonder why a DJ doesn’t just back their library up on the cloud. Many do.  There are many great reasons to do this, but this is for archival purposes, and with the access times and bandwidth limitations involved in downloading music files, the cloud and cloud-based services are not an answer, or a solution, for quick recovery from a disaster.  Besides, you certainly should not/would not want your DJ to be streaming the music for your event anyway.  Regardless of the strength of the signal, we all know how wireless and data connections go.  DJs should always play from local, physical (meaning physically-stored digital) libraries, and they should only download the occasional on-the-spot request at an event.  They should never be streaming the song you’re dancing to RIGHT NOW.  It’s not a matter of if, only when that goes bad.  And when it does, it will be embarrassing and frustrating for everyone involved.

There are many such services available to professional DJs, not just the one I use.  Some are highly specific, catering more to club and remix DJs.  Others, like the service I use, focus on providing content to the mobile DJ who plays the songs people want to hear, the way they expect to her them, at all types of events.  Don’t worry though – we still get enough remixes, dance-edits, and alternate versions to keep things interesting!

See more about my music library, learn more about the great care I take in helping you program your event, and see the latest charts on my website.  If it’s listed in the weekly charts there, I have it for your special event, guaranteed!

 

Cocktail Music – Setting the Mood

DJs are always asking each other things like “What kind of music do you play for cocktail hour?”

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Which makes me wonder… should a professional DJ even have an “answer” to that question?

Seems to me that the only acceptable answer is “whatever my CLIENTS want to HEAR!” 

Some common answers are “jazz,” “ballads,” “Crooners,” and others.

Now don’t get me wrong, these are all fine choices.

Whatever the DJ ends up playing, however, it should be played because it’s what YOU WANT TO HEAR!

Not just because it’s “what they play.”

Don’t let your DJ treat your cocktail hour like a “throwaway.” Just because music serves as background during this time doesn’t mean it needs to be generic, white noise, or boring.

Most importantly, it should set the type of atmosphere YOU want your guests to experience.

Make sure your DJ brings up music selection for cocktail hour, because they shouldn’t “assume” anything. If they don’t bring it up, be sure to ask “what they play” during cocktail hour.

If they answer your question without asking YOU a question, they aren’t personalizing your celebration the way they should. That’s when you give me a call!

Indie Music Playlist for Cocktail Hour & Dinner

There’s TONS of great music out there that is off-the-beaten-path, and I love mixing it up for each wedding I do!  I LOVE it when my couples are passionate about music, and when they come to the table with inspiration and ideas to personalize their celebration.  The most important thing is that the music we play is what resonates with you, your family, and your friends.

I’ve been mixing it up a lot lately with Indie artists, and below is a sample playlist from a recent wedding that used Indie music for the Prelude before the Ceremony, during the Cocktail Hour and Lawn Games, and on into dinner.

Artists like Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, Ryan Adams, Mumford & Suns, Lord Huron, Passion Pit, Band of Horses, The Lumineers, and others do a GREAT job at combining many different styles.  They build off the great, simplistic storytelling approach to songwriting found in the folk tradition, and add it into a more contemporary rock context.  Many of them even combine more eclectic elements like the acoustic instrumentation and stylings of Bluegrass and other rootsy forms that speak to more traditional Americana musics.  The result is awesome, well thought-out, and sophisticated music that is perfect for setting a mood, relaxing, and revisiting old memories while creating new ones!

Obviously there are a couple of tracks shown that are not Indie, but they were favorites, so we threw them in!

There’s over three hours of music here!

If you’re looking for some great Indie songs to use, to fill holes in your wedding playlists, or just to add to your own playlist at home, these selections are great!

Whatever musical elements you would like to have infused into your wedding, be sure your DJ “knows what’s up” and is happy to help you program each and every part of your wedding day celebration according to your inspiration.

It’s your day…  Follow your muse!

Indie 1

Indie 2

Indie 3

That Wedding DJ Last Night…

Wow, just WOW!  If you’re looking for a DJ for your wedding, PLEASE, please PLEASE watch this video!

So you see, Brian’s family member *thought* he was getting a really “great deal” on the DJ, but instead, got a big disappointment!  Brian ends the video with a subtle, yet powerful reminder that we’d like to pass along as well – that VALUE is FAR more important than price when considering DJ entertainment for your big day.

We’d love to talk to you about this video and the missed opportunities, and how our proactive approach to event planning and coordination will help your event run smoothly and avoid the types of mistakes and missed opportunities that Brian witnessed at this wedding.  This wedding doesn’t have to be YOUR wedding!

Looking for wedding djs in Sacramento?  Give us a call at 916.223.4508, or contact us via our website.

 

Brian S. Redd is a very remarkable DJ, and is a very prominent and well known industry professional who is known very widely by those in the industry for his Vlogs on DJ’ing in general, DJ equipment and product reviews and more.  His YouTube channel can be found here:  http://www.youtube.com/user/briansredd

Dinner & Cocktail Moods

Every event is special and unique, and many events are composed of different segments, each requiring their own specific mood, and we specialize in finding just the right music for just the right times.  Many events have some sort of cocktail or dinner segment, usually at the beginning, which is best served by a subtle and pleasant backdrop.  Not too-loud and not too-soft, the music during these times has to be just the right style and volume to both relax and entertain you and your guests while you enjoy the company of friends and family.

Background music should be just that… in the background.  BUT, that DOESN’T mean it has to put you to SLEEP!  😉

Often, a subtle and classy backdrop that speaks of elegance and restraint is desired for these times, and if this is what you are looking for, we can provide you with the desired level of sophistication for these parts of your event.

We have both timeless standards and tasteful renditions of contemporary ballads in all sorts of instrumental formats.  We have solo (cocktail) piano, piano & orchestral ensembles, jazz arrangements, and more.  We can lean more towards certain genres and styles to better reflect your own personal tastes and those of your guests, and we can also incorporate fun themes or different cultural elements to help you celebrate your heritage.

Done artfully, musical programming for your cocktail and dinner segments can be more than just white-noise… it can actually serve a purpose.  By moving gradually between different types of instrumentation and by transitioning slowly from instrumental music to light vocal selections, these segments can be used to shape the mood of your event by subtly and almost subconsciously preparing your guests for what is coming ahead.

There are certainly no rules, and you don’t need to stick to the traditional fare for these parts of your event.  Music or these parts of your event can not only create a mood, but can also reflect YOUR musical tastes and preferences as well.  These segments can also be tailored to fit in with a theme.  Whatever type of mood you wish to achieve, and whatever type of music it will take to get you there, we are glad to provide it for you.

Contact us today if you have any questions about musical programming for different parts of your celebration!