Planning a wedding or event? With so many musicians to choose from, how can you you find the one who is the perfect fit for your particular needs?
Do you just have a general thought of “jazzy background music?” That’s great. Do you care what tunes the performers play? Fine. Do you want someone who has a lot of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett in their repertoire? Do you want latin jazz.
Keep the following points in mind and you’ll be sure to find the perfect musician:
Listen to them play.
Any musician you’ll be hiring will have samples of their music online. Find audio or video and see if what they’re playing moves you. Look at their schedule. See if they have a public performance that you can catch.
(For samples of my playing, check out calebneijazz.com/audio.)
Find out what styles they’re comfortable with.
Find a musician who plays what you want to hear.
(Yes I’m a pianist, but don’t hire me to play your classical favorites all night. It won’t go well. I haven’t played classical music since college. I’m a jazz pianist. Hire me if you love what I do. And no, it’s not true that if you “can play classical music, you can play anything.” I’ve had world-class classical bassists on the gig whose ability to play a jazz walking bass line was non-existent.)
Find out what tunes they know well.
Right along with advice to find out what styles of music they’re comfortable with, I’d suggest looking at their repertoire. What tunes do they know? If you’re asking a musician learn a completely new set of tunes for your event, you might not get the same quality as starting with a player who already know and loves what you’re looking for…Some guys are better sight-readers than others. I understand that I’ve just made quite a general statement.
(Let me put it personally. I don’t have time to learn 10 or 20 new tunes for an event. Realistically, it’s never going to happen. On the other hand, if you find that you love many of the tunes I play, it will probably not be a big deal to add 2-3 “special songs” that mean a lot to you or your crowd.
Check out the list of tunes I play most often here: calebneijazz.com/tune-list)
See what other people are saying.
Read some reviews. If your musician is out gigging, someone has probably written about it.
(Read reviews about my playing at gigsalad.com/caleb_nei_jazz_leesburg/feedback.)