Wedding Sound Machines
Jazz trio or string quartet? Pop D.J. or bluegrass band? Here, options arranged by cost and musical proclivity.
$: The Stumblebum Brass Band’s gritty, whiskey-soaked songs like “Smokin’ and Drinkin’” rile up guests with Mardi Gras verve (from $1,000; 917-921-1747).
$$: The Strung Out String Band plays Appalachian-flavored hillbilly music and airy, all-instrumental banjo ballads like “Sandy River Belles Last Chance,” perfect for cocktail hour (from $1,600; 718-909-0564).
$$$: Before the reception, Ten Tumbao leads guests in a crash course in the merengue with a full-horn band that nails hip-swaying classics from Tito Puente to Cuban Timba (from $1,500 for a trio; 917-254-6818).
$: When he’s not performing his “Stump the Band” night at Niagara, Adam Roth and the Jaded Six play just about any song requested. Their forte is classic rock and post-seventies mainstream (from $2,500; 917-664-0319).
$$: Astrograss’s quirky, hipster-beloved set list (Wilco, Ryan Adams, Nick Drake) has a fiery, unexpected bluegrass treatment that propels guests to the dance floor (from $2,800; 917-693-4939).
$$$: Anti-wedding wedding D.J.’s Duane Harriott and Alec DeRuggiero have no problem winning over the music snobs at your wedding; plus, they’re not above slipping in Jay-Z between the Slits and Blondie (from $3,000; 646-591-2124).
$: Channel the old world with pretty guitar music from Costa Rican musician Sid Obando; he plays covers and originals in English and Spanish (from $500; 203-326-1121).
$$: Venus Ensembles string quartet can render “Ode to Joy” magnificently, then slip effortlessly into jazz or contemporary numbers (from $250 per musician; 877-888-3687).
$$$: D.J. Dina Regine’s elegant blend of samba, jazz, and contemporary—along with her knack for reading crowds—has earned her a celebrity following (from $3,500; 212-683-1270).
$: Piece together a tasteful quartet, D.J. ensemble, or specialty band (try Route 66 for rock and roll classics) from Hal Prince Music and Entertainment’s many veteran performers to fit your budget (price upon request; 212-354-4100).
$$: The singers for Cracked Ice sound just like Aretha Franklin; even better, band leader Crispin Cioe is such a saxophone pro, he’s recorded with James Brown (from $6,000; 203-247-6158).
$$$: Doug Winters’ band, Best Kept Secret, has seasoned studio musicians that get A-listers moving with standards from Tony Bennett to Alicia Keys (from $1,200 per player, minimum eight players; 914-579-2173).
$: Ultimate Sound D.J.’s let you control the music. Pick your playlist from their large musical library—from Jamican dance hall like Cutty Ranks and reggae master Byron Lee to soul favorites K-Ci & JoJo and Luther Vandross (from $799; 718-204-1938).
$$: Start the evening off with breezy steel drumming from Africarib, or jump straight into high-energy calypso; they do it all (from $450 for one musician, $1,000 for a four-piece band; 917-620-4865).
$$$: Profile Reggae Band does a fierce Bob Marley cover; rootsy, ska renditions of pop favorites will have even non-“head” heads bobbing (from $1,500; 203-820-8015).
$: The all-female Kit McClure Band plays a jazz-rock-swing combo that has knocked out crowds at Radio City Music Hall (from $2,500; 212-864-6759).
$$: For a reception that starts off at a gallop, try brassy Balkan ensemble Slavic Soul Party. They come with a tuba, an accordion, a belly dancer (optional), and a reputation for delivering a raucous good time (from $4,000; 917-373-4349).
$$$: The twelve-piece Funk Filharmonik has chunky rhythms and big horns—sure to light up any dance floor (from $8,500; 917-838-0622).
$: A swing band that’s far from square, the Big Bang Big Band, fronted by Ella-channeling Kelsey Jillette, can do Count Basie as well as punchy modern numbers by Sun Ra to keep guests entertained (from $1,000 for a trio; 917-803-8163).
$$: Marcus Goldhaber, who plays with the Jon Davis Trio, is at home doing everything from Dorothy Fields to Jimmy Van Heusen (from $2,500; 212-462-9360).
$$$: High-society go-to John Malino plays everything from Sinatra to Hendrix, expertly mixes jazz and contemporary, and (a plus for the ladies) looks like Harry Connick Jr. (from $5,000; 212-673-9334).
$: Identical twins Will and Peter Anderson are just out of Juilliard, but they’re jazz-standard pros (from $400; 301-661-0441).
$$: The Uptown Horns’ playlist exudes vintage-cool; request Joe Cocker or Tom Waits and they won’t disappoint (price upon request; 203-227-2188).
$$$: The George Gee Swing Orchestra epitomizes swell music at its fullest, most rousing expression (from $750 per musician; 718-779-7865).
From the Summer 2008 New York Wedding Guide