Jazz Band Guide for Brides

Your Book Live Music guide to hiring Jazz & Swing bands.

What are the different types of jazz band, how much does a swing band cost and our complete guide to booking jazz & swing bands for your event.

Swing Band Guide

What are the different types of jazz band?

There are five main types of jazz bands which you might use for different parts of your event.

Dixie Jazz Bands:

These can be called dixie bands, ‘trad jazz’ bands or New Orleans style jazz bands. The musicians are highly talented performers playing acoustic [unpowered] instruments with a typical line up of clarinet, sousaphone and banjo with the option of additional instruments such as trumpet, saxophone, cornet and even side drums. This style of jazz came from America after the first world war and is real toe-tapping music which can be performed indoors or outdoors and, as the band doesn’t need a power supply, they can move around at a venue. Dixie bands are perfect for a summer’s day, Christmas events, promotions and events which can enjoy the bright visuals as well as the fun, upbeat music. Many people like to have a dixie band for during the photographs at a wedding or an outdoor drinks reception. A great example of a dixie jazz band is:
The Dixie Jazz Men: www.booklive.co.uk/band/the-dixie-jazz-men

Dixie Jazz Band

1920s Jazz Bands:

Many people love the great jazz from the 1920′s and it is a terrific theme for many events featuring period music including timeless classics like ‘Charleston’ and ‘Latin from Manhattan’ and other popular songs. A typical line up for a 1920s band is piano, bass, drums, saxophone and female vocals with the option of violin, brass:
78RPM: www.booklive.co.uk/band/78rpm


Instrumental Jazz Bands:

These are perfect for the drinks reception or as a cool musical backdrop, a solo pianist, saxophonist or live jazz band comprising of piano, bass and drums. The music comes from the classic ‘Great American songbook’. These include all the jazz music of the 20th century from artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Sinatra, Jobim, Cole Porter and more. A great example of an instrumental jazz band is:
Junction Jazz: www.booklive.co.uk/band/the-junction-jazz-band

Junction Jazz Band

Swing Bands:

If you’re looking for a lively jazz band to get guests on the dance floor then you’ll definitely want a great swing band. Swing bands – or big bands – are jazz bands with added brass musicians and they play music from artists like Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, The Rat Pack and more. The music tends to be much more up tempo than an instrumental jazz band and is ideal for dancing to. Naturally, swing bands cost a bit more because there are more musicians. A great example of a swing band is:
5 Star Swing: www.booklive.co.uk/band/5-star-swing

Sinatra meets Michael Bublé:

The music from the legendary Frank Sinatra is extremely popular both as a musical backdrop to drinks receptions and also for the evening entertainment and, with Michael Buble bringing a new dimension to modern day swing, many artists are including his music into their repertoire, too. We have several great solo artists who perform with professionally recorded backing tracks and are perfect for smaller budgets and spaces where a live band isn’t essentialA great example of a solo performer who can sing both Sinatra and Buble is:
Maybe Buble: www.booklive.co.uk/band/michael-buble-tribute

Michael Buble Singer

How much does a jazz band cost?

Prices for a jazz band depends on the number of performers and Book Live has negotiated the best fees for all of the artists we represent. However, there are different categories of pricing for Jazz & Swing bands:

£300-500: This price range includes instrumental jazz bands, musicians and singers. All equipment is included although it doesn’t include travel fees. Examples include:

The Sax
London based saxophonist. Superb saxophonist available to hire for weddings, private parties and corporate events. Solo sax plus backing tracks as a fantastic musical backdrop to your event.

The Sinatra Singer
Hampshire based. The Sinatra Singer recreates the voice and style of “Sinatra” with his unique performance and has received many plaudits for his vocal resemblance to the man himself.

£500-£1000: This price range covers live jazz and swing bands with vocals and possibly brass. Examples include:

Jazz Moves
Midlands & Yorkshire based band. Whether it’s atmospheric music during dining, or a drinks reception, music for dancing, or an all out concert, Jazz Moves is the perfect choice to add style and sophistication to any event.

Limelight Jazz Band
London based band. The perfect musical accompaniment to your evening. Choose from Limelight’s range of top singers and musicians for a cool, fresh and sophisticated twist on classic jazz and swing hits.

£1000+: This is the price for a full jazz or swing band with brass for a full sound and for prestigious artists performing at the highest level. Examples include:

Jools Swing Band
London based band. Led by bandleader Neil on piano and vocals, Jools is a superb 4-7 piece band performing an electric cocktail of sensational swing, jazz, jive and rock n’ roll.

One More For The Road (with live band)
Surrey based band. Sensational Frank Sinatra tribute act. Available as a solo tribute singer or with a live band, this is one of the UK’s best Sinatra performers. Highly recommended.

What is included in the price?

All of our Jazz & Swing bands and singers have their own sound equipment. The fee covers a typical performance for 2 or 3 x sets plus CDs/iPod played when they are not performing. It also covers all their insurances, PAT certification [safety checks] for their equipment, an arrival of approximately 6pm and a finish of around midnight. Expect to pay extra for an early set up / a late finish, significant travel expenses plus any additional sets or musicians. All enquiries made with Book Live will include the total cost for the performance as long as we know all the information about your event.

What does a live band need to perform?

Most live bands have a requirement list for performances – this is called a ryder. A typical ryder is:

  • Access to a power supply. They will usually need 2 or 3 x standard power sockets and they will bring suitable cables / connectors to power their equipment
  • A suitable performance area including equipment. A solo singer will need approximately 2 x 3metres, 4 piece band will need approx 4 x 3metres, a 6-8 piece live band will need approx 6 x 4metres
  • Around 40-90 minutes to set up. Bands don’t want to disturb your event but they would also rather not sit around for hours ahead of a performance so they usually arrive at a suitable time to set up ahead of the party.
  • Hot food for each band member and soft drinks. You will get the best out of the band if you look after them whilst they are with you.
  • A changing / chill-out area where they can also leave their valuables.
  • Parking spaces to be provided or paid for.

Can I go and see the band before I book?
Some bands do have public performances but most don’t as these gigs are usually in pubs and clubs and most of the bands we represent prefer not to do these. We’ve included as many live videos of the bands on their pages so you can see them as well as listen to their audio samples. Remember, too, if a band does have a public performance, they may get booked for your date by the time you get to see them. We are unable to arrange for any prospective client to go and see a band at someone else’s wedding or private party.

How does payment work?
A deposit is due at the point of booking. Book Live can accept payments by Visa, Switch, Mastercard, Cheque or Bank Transfer.

Balance payments should be settled directly with the band leader either 2 weeks in advance or in cash on the night so they can pay all the band members promptly.

Why should I hire a jazz & swing band with Book Live?
Book Live is one of the UK’s most respected entertainment agents supplying superb live bands and singers for weddings, parties and corporate events. We have worked with customers at the highest level (read more) and we offer a completely impartial service. Most agencies have a house band that they are trying to sell and the rest of their portfolio may not get a look-in. We have pre-vetted all of our artists and offer a Peace of mind guarantee:

  • All of our artist have been selected for their professionalism, musicianship and performance, so we know that every event will be special for all the right reasons. The Book Live team regularly go and see our acts perform so we know what clients can expect before they book.
  • Public Liability Insurance and PAT certification can be provided on request for any performances.
  • All bookings are secured by contract with both the client and the artist for complete peace of mind.
  • We provide a 24/7 emergency number should you need to talk with us.
  • Our artists all have regular deputy musicians so an event will never be compromised. In addition, Book Live can provide replacements for our singers in the unlikely event that something unexpected happens [subject to availability].

What else do I need to know?
We hope we have covered all bases. If you have a question then please get in touch and we will do our best to answer it.

Additional articles from the Book Live blog:
Cheap Entertainment or Expensive Mistake?
Wedding Entertainment Agency
10 things to know about hiring a live band
How much does it cost to hire a band?


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