11 first dance
Many couples choose to have their wedding reception band perform jazz at the beginning of the event. Picture a cocktail style ambience, while guests arrive and drink champagne, and move to enjoying their entrée and mains.
Even if the band changes it up with dancing and party music of different genres later on in the evening, it’s really important to have musicians who understand jazz and can perform it well. Jazz isn’t like a lot of other genres that you can pick up quickly and easily, and tack on to the general playlist. In jazz you can’t really fake it until you make it (trust me: I spent the beginning of my music degree trying as hard as I could to avoid practising!)
A first dance in a jazz style can be timeless and uplifting. Popular jazz songs – usually referred to as jazz “standards” because they’ve stood the test of time – range from upbeat swing numbers, to simmering slow dance ballads, or fun and upbeat Bossa Nova rhythms.
Sometimes people can feel a bit unsure about what jazz songs to pick, asking “how do I know what’s good?” Really, jazz is no different to any other style of music: just enjoy what you enjoy. There are no right or wrong answers. If you connect with a song, that’s all there is to it.
Here’s a list of some of our favourite first dance jazz songs:
The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
Cheek to Cheek – Ella Fitzgerald
The Very Thought of You – Michael Bublé
Come Away with Me – Norah Jones
The Look of Love – Diana Krall
(There Is) No Greater Love – Amy Winehouse (Sinatra)
At Last – Etta James
L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole
My Baby Just Cares For Me – Nina Simone
Touching on what I mentioned earlier about making sure your jazz band is up to the task of performing jazz: you can always ask what the musicians’ backgrounds are.
We’re asked all the time about the style and quality of our performers – and that’s a really, really good thing! More couples need to feel OK about checking if their musicians will be up to the task. When we’re asked, it gives us a chance to explain what we’re about, and list our musicians’ experience and qualifications. We’ve all studied music degrees at Australia’s best music universities – where you really can’t get a better jazz education. Since then, we’ve performed for years and years in a whole lot of different styles, of which jazz is a really central part.
If you want to know if we can perform one of your favourite jazz songs for a first dance, please drop us a line!