best wedding band nj

Baby I-Ariana Grande


I have loved Ariana Grande’s voice since I first heard her sing “The Way” three short years ago. There is no doubt that she has astonishing vocal technique and reminds everybody of a young Mariah Carey. But there is something fresh and exciting about every song Ariana sings. Her videos are alway upbeat, with her showing off her dimples, and proving beyond a doubt that there are an amazing amount of great hip-hop dancers in L.A.

“Baby I” brings her to a new level, by actually adding a genuine jazz-infused, Earth, Wind & Fire orchestration. The way she sings over, around and through these deceivingly complicated chords is extraordinary. And the ease with which she manipulates her voice to reach incredible heights is so effortless, that I am convinced she’s easily got the best voice I’ve heard since a 19 year old Whitney Houston.  

Plus, it’s a great dance song, and a blast for a band to play:
Enjoy

Baby I got love for thee so deep inside of me I don’t know where to start
I love you more than anything but the words can’t even touch what’s in my heart
When I try to explain it I be sounding insane the words don’t ever come out right
I get all tongue tied and twisted) I can’t explain what I’m feeling And I say baby, baby
Baby (baby I)
Oh baby, oh baby, my baby (Baby I)
Oh baby, baby I (baby I)
All I’m tryna say is you’re my everything baby
But every time I try to say it words they only complicate it
Baby, baby (Ooh oh)
This is a great pop song in it’s purest sense. It actually brings comparison to Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be.” But I guess I’m not the only Ariana Grande fan around. The video above has had over 127 million views as of today.
Let me know what you think,

Wake Me Up-Avici

There’s something oddly catchy about this song. It starts out with a lazy guitar riff, and sounds like the beginning of a country song. But it gains momentum and by the time you hit the chorus, “So wake me up when it’s all over….”, you’re hooked. And as with any song we use at a wedding or any other party, everybody can sing along. The song really works. Check it out. It’s a really fun song.

Vivir Mi Vida-Marc Anthony

I have always loved Salsa music. There is so much soul invested in the unique percussion rhythms, the powerful horns, and the stylistic joy that makes “Salsa” almost impossible not to dance to. Even though the only two Spanish words I know are “hola,” and coño, which is a source of embarrassment since I found out what “coño” actually means, although having a good curse word or two can be pretty handy.

I had my band learn the song in its original Spanish and have played it at four weddings so far. I’m pretty sure none of the guests knew the song, but the dance floor was packed within seconds of hearing this incredible beat.

I promise you don’t have to understand a world of Spanish to love Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida.” If this is the first time you’re hearing Salsa,,,Bienvenidos Amigos!

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Vivir Mi Vida
Voy a reír, voy a bailar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Voy a reír, voy a gozar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
 
A veces llega la lluvia
para limpiar las heridas
A veces sólo una gota
puede vencer la sequía
 
Y para qué llorar, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si duele una pena, se olvida
Y para qué sufrir, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si así es la vida, hay que vivirla
 
Voy a reír, voy a bailar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Voy a reír, voy a gozar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
 
Voy a vivir el momento
para entender el destino
Voy a escuchar en silencio
para encontrar el camino
 
Y para qué llorar, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si duele una pena, se olvida
Y para qué sufrir, ¿Pa’ qué?
Si duele una pena, se olvida
 
Voy a reír, voy a bailar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Voy a reír, voy a gozar
vivir mi vida, la, la, la, la
Leave a comment, or a request for me to review.
-Doug

Let’s Stay Together-Maroon 5

True R ‘n B devotees might have me kicked out of the “Hipness Club” for daring to play Adam Levine’s delicate version of Al Green’s 1971 “Soul” classic “Let’s Stay Together.”  Green’s original is spectacular, and well-loved, having been viewed over 72 million times on YouTube. However, for a wedding procession, a song has to be stripped down and be able to be played delicately by two musicians, while still honoring the Al Green original. Adam Levine is one of the few male vocalists with the vocal “chops’ to pull off this song without losing any of the soulful simplicity of the original.

My bride for this weekend….well, not my bride….but you get the idea, Alexandra,  and I spent countless hours on the phone and sent each other dozens of emails laughing about which 90s dance hit would/could sound appropriate for a Wedding Processional without sounding goofy.

As a pianist and arranger, I assured her that I could make any song sound melodic enough for a procession.  I’m pretty sure we spent the most time laughing, yet seriously considering TLCs “No Scrubs” the longest.  She finally landed on Levine’s arrangement for the simplicity of the instrumentation, while retaining Al Green’s iconic melody. We both think it’s a great choice. Personally, I’ll always maintain that choosing any song that actually “means” something to you as the bride or the groom, you can never go wrong.

Leave me a comment to let me know how you feel.

Like A Prayer-Madonna

“Like A Prayer” is a terrific dance song. With a great dance beat, the song dramatically builds  to a joyous gospel choir. (“Like a prayer, I’ll take you there….”)

I know that the video was very controversial when it came out, but that was always her strongest marketing point. I never appreciated Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone as a musician, or vocalist. But she truly redefined the “art” of self-advertising.

As a singer she made her debut album in 1983 and is still churning about albums today, at 58 year olds. She actually  is listed as the Number 1 on VH1‘s list of 100 Greatest Women in Music and number two (behind only The Beatles) on Billboards list of Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time.

So despite my lack of appreciation for her voice, I’m clearly in the minority, All I know is that “Like A Prayer” is terrific to use to start out a dance set because it starts out with a slow, yet instantly recognizable, introduction….comes to a pause, and kicks in to a thumping dance groove.

In attempting to cause a stir in the Catholic Church by show a crying “Black Jesus” in the video, she succeeded, garnering the attention she has unabashedly built her entire “brand” on.  So it’s probably best to listen to the song without watching the video, but I figured I’d show you how terrible acting, mediocre singing can’t even ruin a terrific pop dance song.

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Here are the lyrics. Enjoy,

Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone
I hear you call my name
And it feels like home
When you call my name it’s like a little prayer
I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there
In the midnight hour I can feel your power
Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there
I hear your voice, it’s like an angel sighing
I have no choice, I hear your voice
Feels like flying
I close my eyes, Oh God I think I’m falling
Out of the sky, I close my eyes
Heaven help me
When you call my name it’s like a little prayer
I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there
In the midnight hour I can feel your power
Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there

Leave comment to let me know your thoughts & opinions.

 

 

No Scrubs-TLC

The band Atlanta-based TLC is actually the best-selling “girl group” in American Pop history. According to Wikipedia, they had ten number one singles, and four multi-Platinum albums throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. The band is comprised of the three vocalists seen in video, including Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Lopes died in a car crash in 2007. TLC is actually an anagram for “T-Boz,” “Left Eye” & “Chilli,”  My favorite of their songs is “Waterfalls,” but “No Scrubs” has a unique almost Flamenco style guitar riff running throughout. The lyrics are not very deep, and are a tad repetitive, but it really does have a nice mellow dance groove, and is very evocative of the most popular R & B music made two decades ago.

A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly
And is also known as a buster
Always talkin’ about what he wants
And just sits on his broke ass
So (no)
I don’t want your number (no)
I don’t want to give you mine and (no)
I don’t want to meet you nowhere (no)
I don’t want none of your time and (no)
I don’t want no scrub
A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
Hanging out the passenger side
Of his best friend’s ride
Trying to holler at me
I don’t want no scrub
A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
Hanging out the passenger side
Of his best friend’s ride
Trying to holler at me
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Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts or opinions.

Sway-Pussycat Dolls

I must admit that movies like “Shall We Dance,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere are right on top of my cinematic “guilty pleasures” In the same vein as Channing & Jenna DeWan’s “Step Up” and Antonio Banderas’ “Take The Lead.” Coincidentally, Jenna DeWan co-starred in “Take The Lead” as one of Antonio’s students.

The actual music in most of these “dance” movies is usually irrelevant, needing only to have a great beat to accompany the dancing. But the terrific arrangement of the song “Sway” in “Shall We Dance” stayed with me. “Sway” turned out to be a Spanish song, written by two Mexican composers and first recorded in English by Dean Martin in 1954. It’s been recorded as a jazz instrumental many times, and revived as a vocal by Michael Buble in 2003, then The Pussycat Dolls in 2004 for the movie. It’s the percussive mambo beat, and the extraordinary horn arrangement that make this the ultimate arrangement for me.

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This past weekend, we played a wedding in which we brought an additional vocalist who happened to know this exact arrangement. I wrote it out for the band and it was a huge hit. I’ll be adding more and more Spanish songs to our repertoire.

The most surprising thing is that “Sway” was sung by The Pussycat Dolls who I thought were nothing more than a sexy/beautiful Las Vegas showgirl act. It turns out that they were indeed thrown together as a tightly choreographed  “lounge act” until they started recording with A & M Records. Selling over 56 million albums from 2003-2009, they remain one of the most successful “girl-groups” of all time. Who knew?

Leave a comment to let me know how you feel about either my “guilty pleasure” dance movies, or The Pussycat Dolls.

 

 

National Anthem-Whitney Houston

Memorial Day is actually supposed to be a somber day in which we remember those brave souls who died in combat. Both my father and father-in-law loyally enlisted for active duty during World War II. Fortunately, they both survived as decorated veterans long before I was born. Since Memorial Day is to honor fallen American military, there’s

The staggering number of Americans who died in the two World Wars and Vietnam alone are almost unbelievable.
During WWI 116,000, WWII 405,000, Vietnam 58,000 and Korea 53,000.  Vietnam and Korea didn’t even have the honor of being declared “wars.” They were politely called “police actions.” And that’s not including all the Post 9/11 war victims. In Afghanistan & Iraq we lost another 6,700. And it goes on and on.

Whitney Houston’s astonishingly moving performance of  “The Star Spangled Banner” at The Super Bowl in 1999 remains the best version ever sung.  So to truly honor American soldiers who died in combat, there’s nothing more appropriate than to have a private moment of silence, and spend a minute and 1/2 with another fallen American, Whitney Houston.

I always wondered why we, as a country, have parades and barbeques by the pool on what’s supposed to be a day or mourning, but that’s just me. Enjoy this moment with the late, great Whitney Houston, and enjoy the chills.

 

Dancing In The Street

“Dancing In The Street” is an all-time great sixties song , recorded during the era when Motown Records owned the Pop Charts. One hit after another came out of Berry Gordy’s Detroit-based label,  which, at the beginning was simply Gordy’s own relatively small house in Detroit,  where he lived with his family on the second floor, having turned the first floor into a recording studio he called “Hitsville U.S.A.”

For a fairly long stretch, it seemed like every ‘R & B’ dance hit was written, arranged and recorded at Hitsville,  soon to become “Motown.” Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, etc. all were introduced from this one studio on 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI. It actually wasn’t until I first heard this song that I realized that Motown was short for The Motor City, because Detroit was the Car Capital of America. (Motor City = Motown.)

The most musically interesting thing about this song are the use of the horns. From the blaring opening of the song, the horn become an integral part of this perennial classic. Here’s a picture of Gordy’s original home/studio, and the lyrics to this 1964 Motown classic:

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Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street.
They’re dancing in Chicago,
Down in New Orleans,
In New York City.
All we need is music, sweet music. There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing, dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl. Everywhere around the world
They’ll be dancing. They’re dancing in the street.

It’s an invitation across the nation, a chance for folks to meet.
There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging, dancing in the street.
Philadelphia, P.A.
Baltimore and D.C. now.
Can’t forget the Motor City.

All we need is music, sweet music. There’ll be music everywhere……

There may be a very few fleeting moments when you might notice  “Dancing In The Street” dating itself,  and yet, most of the time, it sounds as fresh as it did when it was first released fifty-two years ago. A can’t miss dance treeasure.

Let me know what you think.