February 10, 2014 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Looking for suggestions for songs to ask our gypsy-jazz wedding band to play!

We're excited to have booked a great band that plays "hot" acoustic guitar/bass jazz with influences of soul, flamenco, and bebop. They play a lot of original songs, which I love, and of course Django Reinhardt songs. But I'd like to give them some requests that will suit our wedding audience, and I don't know the genre well enough to name too many songs. What suggestions in that genre would you have for:

-a few slower waltzes that older folks will enjoy
-a romantic couples' dance number
-something to swing or Charleston to that isn't too fast (a lot of this genre is a little too fast for us to manage)
-something familiar, like a standard, for those who find this music kind of out there

Thanks all!
posted by Miko to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Anything by the Gypsy Kings of course!!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" would be awesome by a gypsy jazz band, and the older folks will love it. For modern, anything by DeVotchKa. Also consider the soundtrack to the film "Chico and Rita."
posted by jbickers at 8:38 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm not super-familiar with the genre, but assuming they're familiar with a lot of Django Reinhardt's stuff, maybe you could listen through a compilation like Souvenirs (Amazon/Spotify) for some ideas? (Some great versions of standards like Honeysuckle Rose and Sweet Georgia Brown on there, and 'Love's Melody' would make a lovely romantic number.)
posted by usonian at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

We used a gypsy jazz playlist for our wedding too! Stephane Grappelli goes hand in hand with Django. Also, you can sample a bunch of stuff yourself by hitting youtube and searching for and listening to various "hot clubs" playing the standards and newer stuff. Many big cities in the US and France have hot clubs. Here's Hot Club de Paris doing Django's beautiful Nuages, perfect for a wedding waltz.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Minor Swing, of course.
posted by jph at 8:57 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I combed my iTunes playlist and found the following. What fun to have a Gypsy Jazz band play! Congratulations and best wishes!

"I Can't Give You Anything But Love" - Pretty good old standard, wedding appropriate
"Swing De Paris"
"Desde Que Veniste" - Hot Club Sandwich (The title, I believe is "Since You Came". It's a beautiful slow song but the lyrics are in Spanish. I'd have someone translate them before using it at a wedding in case it's something like "Since You Came, I'm Miserable"!)
"La Valse De L'Amoureaux - Hot Club Sandwich (may be too fast)
"Eight, Nine, Ten" - Hot Club Sandwich (This might work for a Charleston that isn't too fast.)
"Exactly Like You" - Another good old standard, wedding appropriate
"Ain't Misbehavin'" - Another standard
"Rose Room" - Django Reinhardt's version might be good for a Charleston
"Mabel" - Django Reinhardt's version might be good for a Charleston
"Out of Nowhere" - Very good old standard, very wedding appropriate
"Begin The Beguine" - Standard, Not positive the lyrics are wedding appropriate
"Embraceable You" - A standard
"Sunny Side of The Street" - A standard, should be pretty recognizable
"It's Only A Paper Moon" - A standard, should be pretty recognizable, upbeat, good lyrics
"What a Difference A Day Makes" - A standard, should be pretty recognizable, upbeat, good lyrics
"'Deed I Do - Good, fun standard
"It Had To Be You" - A classic, great for a wedding
"It Don't Mean A Thing" - Classic Gypsy jazz
posted by Beti at 9:26 AM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I had a wedding band at my wedding. Though we gave them some suggestions, which they took, I made sure to let them choose a lot of what they thought would work best for different times of the night. And I distinctly recall how surprised I was that certain songs that they picked, whether more obscure or overplayed, really knocked everyone's socks off. So my advice is, give them some familiar songs, but give them the freedom to make professional choices about what tunes work best for the occasions you've described. Don't be afraid to describe what you want out of different times of the night. They are the pros at setting the mood and getting people dancing!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:55 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I totally agree but since they were kind enough to ask for suggestions I thought I'd listen around and give them a little sense of what we enjoy.
posted by Miko at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As someone who's played wedding gigs with all sorts of different groups:

I actually think if you just gave them the description you gave us, they'd probably put together something perfect. Honestly, what you described is the kind of stuff that every band pulls out for weddings. That said, they also expect to get a few requests, two or three is fine, four's pushing it (unless you know that they have one of the tunes in their book and just want to make sure it gets played).

Anyway, on to your question. I think pretty much everything already mentioned would work well in addition to those here are some tunes that I've done with a Hot Jazz combo at weddings (you don't mention if they have a singer, so I'll mark the instrumentals and the ones I think need the singer):

Ain't Misbehavin'
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Caravan (instrumental, this one does traditionally have feel changes, so depending on how they do it, it might not work for dancing, but I've heard it every tempo from blistering to the one I linked to)
The Girl From Ipanema (although I think I'm the only one in the world that isn't sick of this. Bossa Novas in general can work really well with this kind of jazz, so any you like, probably will work well)
Embraceable You
It Don't Mean a Thing, if it Ain't Got that Swing (Personally, I don't like this one as much an instrumental, but other people disagree)
Sweet Georgia Brown (This can actually work really well as a dance if they take it at a slower tempo than a lot of bands do)
Swing 42 (Instrumental)
Is you is or Is You Ain't My Baby (needs a singer)
Bie Mir Bist Du Schoen (can go either way, but I like the lyrics)
Blues en Mineur (instrumental)
Cheek to Cheek (I like the lyrics to this one too)
Honey Suckle Rose (this one gets played at a variety of tempos too)
Manoir Des Mes Reves (instrumental)
La Vie En Rose
Les Amant
Limestone Blues(instrumental)
Someday My Prince Will Come
Non, Je ne regrette rien (needs vocalist)
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: You guys are the best. I'm entranced with all these possibilities (and the chance to learn the music better). Since you asked, Gygesringtone, they don't have a vocalist. But I love the song suggestions you and others have brought. I do think it would be good to select one or two that have special meaning to us.
posted by Miko at 12:07 PM on February 10, 2014

Best answer: Have a look at this playlist!
posted by Tom-B at 1:06 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

If they've done this before, and they know the music better than you do, I'm sure they know what they are doing to keep the vibe and flow going.

You had the excellent taste to hire a gypsy jazz band, just don't ask them to adapt "Celebration" or "The Chicken Dance" please.
posted by Che boludo! at 8:31 PM on February 10, 2014

Response by poster: Obviously am not going to do that, as I noted above when that idea came up earlier in the thread. As a musician myself I understand that they are the masters of their repertoire. I understand that they play weddings often but want to take the opportunity that they offered to pick some songs with titles, themes and sounds we especially love from among the hundreds, if not thousands, they do. So I am asking in hopes of finding some specific suggestions for the 3-4 songs we will request.
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older GSOH is killing my love life.   |   The Expat Pantry Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.