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Make your summer sizzle with swing band Manchester:

As the heatwave continues, a feelgood factor sweeps the nation. The time is ripe for a celebration party! What are you celebrating? Who cares? But, whatever event, party or get-together you are planning, you’ll be needing live entertainment to make it sizzle. That’s why you need swing band Manchester! Silk Street Swing will make your summer event sizzle, even if/when (okay, when) the storm clouds return to the Rainy City.

No Rainy City Blues with Swing Band Manchester

Myth or reality much is made of Manchester’s unofficial title of the Rainy City. However, swing band Manchester will blow the clouds away effortlessly. Manchester is a vibrant city and it’s not short of fantastic venues. There are a wealth of places – large and small – that are the perfect stage for swing band Manchester, Silk Street Swing.

A live swing band is an inspired choice for a wide range of events. Wedding receptions or anniversaries, and champagne receptions or civil ceremonies are perfect for a live swing performance.

If you are throwing a party, it really doesn’t matter what type. Swing band Manchester will rock the joint and get everybody’s dancing shoes on. From 1920s prohibition-inspired gangster parties to Great Gatsby events or a themed birthday party, Silk Street Swing provide a sizzling soundtrack. Furthermore, they are a fitting accompaniment to awards ceremonies, product launches and conference entertainment.

So, as you can see, there really is no excuse. Why not start planning your event today?

Twistin’ my melon, man! Songs to get you swinging

One of the big questions you will ask when you hire any swing band Manchester is: What songs can you play.

Well, ask that question to Silk Street Swing and you’ll be standing there for a long time waiting for us to finish reeling off the list! In fact, it might be better for you to check out our list of songs here. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it gives you a flavour of what we do.

What’s more, don’t forget that we always do our very best to accommodate special requests and first dances. With such an extensive list, from swing classics to contemporary tunes given a swing twist, swing band Manchester will have you twistin’ your melon in no time at all.

Don’t take our word for it…

Of course, any swing band Manchester will big itself up and claim to be the bee’s knees. However, the proof is in the pudding. We don’t want you just to take our word for it. In our view, we think our reviews speak for themselves. We should let them do the talking…

“The standard of the band was fabulous” – Vicky

“Wow what a wonderful day we had and the music was absolutely amazing. Everyone had a great time and said how brilliant the music was so thank you so much…” – Sophie

If you have any questions, big or small, about what Silk Street Swing can bring to your event, just get in touch today.

Swing band lineups for every occasion:

Swing band lineups for every occasion. It’s a bold statement but at Silk Street we are confident that this claim stands up to scrutiny. We have 2 piece to 5 piece options available, plus a range of soloist musicians too. Therefore, we’re pretty sure we’ve got all bases covered. Here’s why…

Swing band lineups: 2 piece or 3 piece

Offering a subtle soundtrack of jazz, soul or swing, the Silk Street Jazz Two are the perfect swing band line up choice for a low-key or intimate event. Furthermore, you mix and match too. You choose the combination of musicians you require.  For example, you can opt for sax and guitar, sax and piano, or sax and double bass.

The Jazz Two are ideal for a reception, product launch or party.

Meanwhile, the Jazz Three are perfect for ambient and sophisticated background music. Just imagine smooth sax sounds blending with double bass. Add guitar or piano into the mix and it’s not hard to see why the trio is a particularly popular option.

Swing band lineups: 4 piece or 5 piece

Playing out with well-known blues and jazz standards, the 4-piece ensemble are one of the most popular acts in the Silk Street portfolio. As swing band lineups go, this chic quartet provide perfect chill-out sounds.

Of course, if you want to evoke the sound of the big band era, the 5-piece group is what you need. What’s more, if versatility is a key consideration for you in choosing swing band lineups, Classics from the American songbooks, jazz standards and ballads are what you can expect.

Think ‘Mack The Knife’ and ‘Fly Me To The Moon’. Think packed dancefloor and happy guests!

Swing band lineups: Soloists

No two weddings, corporate events or parties are ever the same. That’s why, we offer even more opportunity to tailor your booking so that is exactly what you need and desire. Therefore, we also have a range of soloist musicians available too.

Firstly, why not hire a vocalist to front the band? Our male vocalist, ‘The Blue Doctor’ is one of the country’s finest. Modern pop to blues and jazz, the Doctor has it all. The result? A packed dance floor.

Our solo guitarist is the perfect addition to all swing band lineups. What do you get? Classics, cool jazz, latin, and contemporary chart hits – all performed by a highly trained and consummate professional.

Our cocktail pianist will add another dimension to proceedings. The solo pianist has a versatile and extensive repertoire. The pianist option complements any occasion with aplomb.

Last but not least is our solo saxophonist. Smooth, sophisticated and seductive. Furthermore, with the added advantage of being totally mobile. Able to wander around – inside and out – our solo saxophonist will serenade your guests and create a fantastic atmosphere at any event.

Check out the lineups section of the Silk Street Swing site to find out more and to listen to sound clips of all the lineup options and soloists. Get in touch if you would like more information or would like to discuss other outstanding entertainment for an event you are planning.

Wedding swing band hire: Silk Street Swing:

You are absolutely spoilt for choice these days when it comes to live entertainment for weddings. Do you go for ambience and atmosphere with a string quartet? Do you opt for the classic sound of a harpist? Or, do you just go for a party band to rip up the dancefloor at the reception? All of these are great choices. However, there is another option. Have you considered wedding swing band hire?

Wedding swing band hire: For the entire day

One of the major advantages of picking wedding swing band hire as your entertainment choice for the big day is versatility. Remember that the average wedding day is a long day. From the arrival of your guests to the venue to the moment you see last guests off, jumping in their taxis as the reception winds down. All in all, that’s a lot of time to fill with entertainment.

And few entertainment choices are suitable for the entire day either. A string quartet beautifully accompanies the signing of the register. However, it’s less effective as a way of keeping everybody on the dancefloor. Although, don’t dismiss that out of hand totally. However, it works the other way too. A party act pumping out floor fillers is ideal for the evening bash. But, less appropriate as a backdrop for the bride walking down the aisle.

However, a wedding swing band hire, such as Silk Street Swing, gives you the best of both worlds.

Welcoming guests

You want your guests to be welcomed in style. Silk Street Swing’s black-suits will ensure they look the part as guests arrive. More importantly, the swinging sounds they produce will be a fitting start to the day

Wedding swing band hire: Let’s celebrate!

Booming swing isn’t the best match for the ritual of the wedding ceremony. However, Silk Street Swing are soon earning their stripes again. The all-important confetti-throwing and photos on the steps will be met by some classy celebratory swing.

A swing band: ideal for the wedding breakfast

Swing music can be as understated as it can bold and brash. For the wedding breakfast, Silk Street Swing can be both. As guests dine, subtle swing in the background is a fitting musical match to the meal. For the speeches, bold, brash, booming – and a dose of humour – is the perfect introduction for those all-important speeches.

Getting the party swinging

Then, of course, we come to the evening reception. Silk Street Swing really swing into action here. Coming into their own with renditions of swing classics, the band is sure to set the place alight. Rest assured, the dancefloor will be the place to be. You won’t be able to get your guests away from it!

So, wedding swing band hire is the ultimate choice for entertainment on the day. Silk Street Swing are seasoned pros when it comes to wedding day bookings, get in touch today to find out more.

How to put on the ultimate awards ceremony:

Rewarding people within a sector, industry or your own organisation is very important. As we move into the back end of the year – awards season – now is a great time to look at how to put on the ultimate awards ceremony.

Whether you want your awards ceremony to lavish, extravagant, and formal – or low-key and informal, these tips will help you make sure that your own awards ceremony should be winning awards!

Awards Ceremony Tips: Know your budget

Your budget doesn’t have to be massive and it is not the most important thing – rewarding your staff and boosting morale is the primary objective – but you do need a production and AV budget. This is, after all, what your guests will remember the most about the event.

Awards Ceremony Tips: Stage Design

A stage will make your awards ceremony look all the more professional. It is also a key place to position branding, logos or information about sponsors – either on rostrums or on screens behind the stage.

Awards Ceremony Tips: Lighting and Music

The event space will be filled with the perfect ambience and atmosphere with carefully selected lighting and music. Lighting can transform and lift a room and make even those guests at the back of the room feel completely involved. Lighting options include the likes of haze machines and uplighters.

Subtle background music and music to accompany walk-ons will add to the atmosphere and create excitement in the room. Of course, this can be recorded music – but for extra impact a live band is ideal.

Swing music may not be the obvious choice for every type of awards ceremony, but there is no denying that it will help to create a sense of cool, class and quality for any event. Some musical interludes or upbeat play-ons will create an evening of drama and link your awards together seemlessly.

Awards Ceremony Tips: Video!

You’re really missing a trick if you don’t capture your awards event for posterity. Photos will tell the story of the night well, but video will do it far better – and it will keep you supplied with material for engaging promotional films and social media posts for months to come.

If you want to make your awards event swing, Silk Street Swing offer a wide variety of line-up options, from the full big band experience to soloists. Get in touch today to see how we can take your awards ceremony to the next level.

Acoustic Swing: Slick, smooth, sophisticated:

When you mention swing music it tends to conjure up certain images in your head. We don’t often think of acoustic swing. We think of swing bands or big bands. The emphasis is often on the ‘big’ too. We think of something that is spectacular. Something grand – even grandiose – often springs to mind.

Depending on the party or event you are planning, something of that scale might be exactly what you are looking for. You might want a big band sound to match a big occasion.

But big isn’t always better, is it? Something of this scale might not always be appropriate either. For starters, some venues have noise restrictions. Some have decibel limiters. For smaller venues, the logistics of trying to accommodate a large band, with mics, amps and sound systems in tow might not be practical. It could end up being a big headache – especially for the event organiser.

You might want your wedding, party or event to be more of an intimate occasion anyway. Or you might just be planning a smaller gathering. You might want the music at the event to provide an ambient background and backdrop to proceedings. You might not want a full in-your-face live band.

Well, if swing’s your thing, why not consider an acoustic swing band for hire?

Acoustic swing – perfect if swing is your thing

Silk Street Swing is available for hire with a variety of different line-ups. This means it is easy to choose the option that is best suited to your needs for an event.

Hire a Soloist

If you want a sound that is smooth, slick and seductive then there is no better instrument than the saxophone.

The Silk Street solo saxophonist can perform a mix of Latin favourites, cool jazz melodies and acoustic swing. The sound of the sax is sure to create an atmosphere of pure sophistication for your event.

Hire a 2-piece

A 2-piece line-up offers you another great acoustic swing option. A compact duo is ideal to play in small and intimate performance spaces. A saxophone and double bass duo is a great choice of instruments. The Jazz Two can play a blend of swing, soul and subtle background jazz. These are the sounds that are a superb complement for more intimate occasions, such as a wedding reception or a product launch.

Other line-up options

Silk Street Swing really can meet your every need. Yes, if you want big, we can give you BIG! Larger line-up options will give you a swing sound that will fill any room. From full cabaret-style to cosy and intimate, we can do it all.

You choose just how much you want to scale down the sound. A trio, for example, will give an ambience that is ideally suited for when guests are mingling and munching on canapés or sipping champagne.

If you are planning an event then nothing will make it swing like live music does. Acoustic swing is a great choice for a wide variety of occasions, from champagne receptions to parties in restaurants. Get in touch today to find how we can help your event truly swing.

Swing dances to get you on the dancefloor:

Strictly Come Dancing may be over for another year, but we all want to keep dancing. When we talk of swing, we immediately think of swing music, swing bands or the swing era. But what about the dances that accompany swing? After all, the ability of the music to naturally want to get you on your feet and dance is one of the most appealing things about swing. Here is our guide to two of the great swing dances.

Swing Dances – Lindy Hop

The Lindy Hop originated from Harlem, New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. It is a classic partner swing dance. It borrows heavily from the Rhythm Tap and the Charleston. The Lindy Hop features both 6 and 8 count steps.

The beauty of the Lindy Hop is its versatility. It can be quite wild but it can be danced in a more cool and sophisticated style too. Therefore, it can be adapted to suit the mood of the music – and the dancers!

The birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll all but put paid to the original Lindy Hop, but it’s enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in recent years.

The story behind the name of this swing dance is an interesting one. Legend has it that during a 1930s dance marathon, a journalist asked a dancer what the name of the dance he was doing was. The dancer, George ‘Shorty’ Snowden answered, ‘I’m doing the Lindy Hop’   – a reference to Charles Lindbergh’s solo Atlantic flight and the newspaper headline of the day ‘Lindy Hops the Atlantic’. The name ‘Lindy Hop’ just stuck!

Swing Dances – Balboa

It’s fitting that with one major dance emerging from the East Coast that the other should hail from the West Coast. The Balboa swing dance takes its name from the Balboa Peninsula on America’s Pacific coast.

It is a 8 count dance that can be danced with a partner in a closed position – known as ‘Pure Balboa’. Dancers can also break away to perform more flamboyantly. This is known as Bal-Swing. It’s usual for modern Balboa dancers to incorporate elements of Pure Balboa and Bal-Swing into a single routine. Although the Balboa is perfect for fast-tempo music, it is equally suited to slower tunes as well.

Of course, swing dances are nothing without some swing music to dance to! Silk Street Swing are available for hire for any event. They are guaranteed to get guests up on the dancefloor all night. For other Jazz & Swing Band options, check out Silk Street.

First Dance Songs: Make your first dance swing!:

Choosing the first dance at your wedding is a big decision to make. It’s one that many couples agonise over. The time-honoured tradition of newly-weds taking to the dancefloor for the first dance is one that most wedding receptions still follow.

The choice of song can be something with specific meaning to the couple in question. It’s usual for the lyrics of the song to be romantic in nature. Lots of people look to celebrities for inspiration, so here are a few examples:

David and Victoria Beckham chose The Starlight Orchestra It Had To Be You. Barack and Michelle Obama went with Stevie Wonder’s You and I. Jay Z and Beyonce plumped for their very own Crazy in Love.

Make your first dance swing

When it comes to setting the right tone for a wedding, you can never go far wrong with swing. The sound has a natural, well, swing to it that seems to make everyone gravitate to the dance floor. And it does so in a way that just exudes class and style. Because of this, swing standards and Rat Pack classics make excellent first dance choices. When people think of the Rat Pack, they think of Frank Sinatra. So here are three of his swinging best:

I’ve Got You Under My Skin 

This Cole Porter tune from 1936 was originally featured in the musical Born to Dance and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. Of course, it is best known as one of Sinatra’s signature tunes. He first performed it in 1946 and recorded several different versions over the years – including a duet with U2’s Bono!

If you want the perfect dance to fit the tune, it’s quickstep.

Fly Me To The Moon 

Written in 1954, the song began life as In Other Words. Peggy Lee performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1960 popularising it greatly. She convinced the writers to make the name change. In 1964 Ol’ Blue Eyes stepped in and recorded the song for his seminal album It Might As Well Be Swing, accompanied by the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. Fly Me To The Moon was immortalised further still when the Sinatra version became the first song to be played on the moon itself – on a portable cassette player held by Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin.

Foxtrot is the obvious dance for the tune.

Come Fly With Me 

A song written specifically for Sinatra and featured on his album of the same name released in 1958. It fits the mood of a wedding perfectly with its lyrics promising adventures in exotic locations. It became a concert staple of Sinatra’s for years to come. It’s also been recorded by countless other artists and featured in several films. Again, the foxtrot is its perfect accompaniment.

Of course we could go on and on: Mack the Knife, It Could Be You and more. There are so many!

Silk Street Swing can perform these swing classics and many more at your wedding. For other wedding entertainment options, check out Silk Street.

Photo credit: Kate Miller Photography

 

Swing and Jazz: What is the difference?:

Jazz fanatics and serious musicians aside, a common question that often gets asked is: What is the difference between swing and jazz?  It’s not surprising that the question gets asked so much. Especially for the uninitiated or those new to the scene, things can get quite confusing. There isn’t just jazz. There is Hot Jazz, Trad (or Traditional) Jazz and Dixieland (all essentially the same thing!). Then you have Swing, Big Band, RatPack, BeBop and Modern Jazz. To the untrained ear, all these styles sound vaguely similar. They all have a ‘jazzy feel’. So, what are the differences between swing and jazz?

Differences between swing and jazz

Some people will see swing and jazz as two separate entities. Some people see swing as a sub-genre of jazz. To others, ‘swing’ was just the natural evolution of jazz through the 1920s and 1930s: Jazz Story: Hot Jazz-Swing-Bebop. When you try to explain the differences between the two, you can give a fairly simple answer and a very complicated answer.  That’s because the differences between jazz and swing are essentially cultural as well as musical.

The Origins of Jazz

If that still all sounds a bit confusing, one thing is beyond any doubt. Jazz came before swing. Jazz was born in New Orleans. As with any genre of music, jazz didn’t just appear. It was a hybrid fusion of folk songs and hymn music. It took its cultural roots from the West African ancestry of its initial protagonists. It blended the music of marching bands with ragtime. The form of music emerged at the start of the twentieth century. Its name was coined for the term used for the USA’s southern states – Dixieland.

Typically, the lead instruments in early jazz were the cornet or trumpet, trombone and clarinet. Rhythm and harmony came in the shape of a banjo, tuba or drums. With traditional jazz, the lead instrument plays the main melody and then improvises on it. Meanwhile, the other instruments will offer their own variations of it. This creates the unmistakable sound of jazz. Jazz moved from the streets to the speakeasies and dance halls of the 1920s. Piano and double bass were often added to the developing sound.

Jazz evolves into Swing

Swing naturally evolved from jazz as the 1920s ended as the 1930s began, in part to make jazz more ‘dance floor friendly’ for larger audiences. Because of this, the rhythm section became more important. More emphasis was now being placed on the double bass, drums and piano. The ‘front line’ of a swing band were normally trumpet, clarinet and trombone and the saxophone.

Many swing bands were led by standout individual instrumentalists but the focus with swing music was on the band. As the bands had many members (hence the term ‘big band’) more regimentation was necessary. Whereas jazz musicians very rarely played from written musical scores, swing bands would work from scores and arrangements. The lead instrumentalists would be left to improvise over the support of the band.

Swing became synonymous with dancing, of course. Still, to this day, there are few genres of music that can get a dancefloor full and moving so quickly as swing can. Live swing music makes for perfect party entertainment.

Indeed virtually any event will truly swing to the sound of swing!  From weddings to product launches or office parties, Silk Street Swing is a versatile band that will play both classic swing and modern swing. Make an enquiry today!

Swing When You’re Winning – Winning with Swing!:

Robbie Williams – BRITs Swing Icon?

As British pop icons go there are few (if any) bigger than Robbie Williams. And in the week when ITV1 celebrated Robbie being awarded the BRITs Icon award with a special one-off programme, Brits Icon: Robbie Williams, we thought it would be an opportune moment to look back on the ex-Take That man’s contribution to swing.

There is little doubting Robbie’s credentials for being rewarded with BRITs Icon award, which he will be officially presented with at February’s Brit Awards ceremony. He already has 17 Brit Awards from his time in Take That and his highly successful solo career. He recently also became officially recognised as the most successful British solo artist of all time. In fact, if there’s a record to be had, you can virtually guarantee that Robbie has broken it and has it to his name.

But we are not here to mark the man’s illustrious career, tell his story or pick out his career highlights. You are bound to see much of that elsewhere in the media this week. It will continue until he actually picks the title up in a couple of months’ time. For us, it’s all about the swing.

All music genres have their niches and to some people – the aficionados – these niches are very important. From Thrash Metal to Traditional Jazz, there will be those who devour everything about a musical style. Some even get quite passionate and precious about it all – dance diehards will argue over whether a track is deep enough to be labelled deep house, or progressive enough to be called progressive house.

Bringing swing to the masses

Some might scoff at Robbie Williams and his connection with swing, but his contribution to the enduring popularity of swing is undeniable.

Swing When You’re Winning was his 2001 release of Big Band and Great American Songbook standards. Released in November, in perfect time for Christmas, the album had sold 2 million copies in the UK by the end of the year and spent six weeks at the top of the charts. It went on to sell 7 million copies worldwide.

The album is unashamedly mainstream. Critics might say it was a cynical Christmas release to collar the ‘perfect stocking filler’ market, but its reviews were overwhelmingly positive – despite NME’s claim that the album ‘mistakes celebrity for entertainment, cabaret for class’.

Love him or loathe him, most would agree that Robbie Williams has a decent voice. He can certainly handle a tune and he does so to great effect on this album. The tunes included Mr Bojangles, Ain’t That A Kick In The Head? and Have You Met Miss Jones? The song choices might have been a little safe and obvious, but they are the songs that people want to hear! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What’s more, It Was A Very Good Year saw a Robbie Williams/Frank Sinatra duet. The original backing track and Sinatra vocal were sampled with Robbie adding his own vocals on top.

These are songs that have enduring appeal. Swing, Big Band and Rat Pack nights were always popular – but when an artist of Robbie Williams’ status gets in on the act, such popularity will only grow.

Swing When You’re Winning certainly brought swing to the masses and to a whole new generation. Robbie followed the album up in 2013 with Swings Both Ways. This again reinforced swing as a perfect form of entertainment.

You could make your party, wedding or corporate event a winning event with swing too! Click here to find out more about Silk Street Swing.

 

 

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