SETUP - Band parking is on the West side of the building. There is an (old) XLR house P.A. There is an upright piano. You can set up before the lesson, or (quietly) during the lesson, which is from 8:00 to 9:15. After the lesson (9:15-9:30) is good for sound checks, tuning, and warmups.
SET SCHEDULE - Please choose one, and co-ordinate set/break transitions with the host/DJ.
REPERTOIRE -- swing jazz dancing music in the style of the 1930's and early 1940's. "It ain't what you play, it's the way that you play it". Make it swing. Don't make it jump, jive and wail; please don't make it rock!
TEMPO: A variety, from 100 bpm to 200 bpm, but mostly slow to medium. If you have to run to keep up with the music, it's fast! A brisk walk is medium. It's hard to dance fast. During the first set, many people are newcomers, dancing for the first time in their lives. If you play too fast, the newcomers will leave forever. The newcomers are most important! Common tempo traps to avoid -- playing too fast, too slow, always the same tempo, alternating between too slow and too fast. Variety is the key. (Oh, vary the key too.)
SONG LENGTH: 2.5-4 minutes.
Slow songs can be a little longer
Fast songs should be shorter.
Long songs can be intimidating to newcomers.
Long songs mean fewer dances, fewer partners and fewer
opportunities to dance at all, for newcomers. A long song means
having to spend an uncomfortably long time if the partner
is awkward to dance with.
Perhaps three times during the evening we may have a longer song,
perhaps 8-12 minutes, for a
circle mixer (slow), a performance circle (fast), or a birthday circle
(medium). These jams have a partner change every 15 to 30 seconds.
SOLOS -- At 128 bpm, a 32-bar chorus lasts one minute. Clearly, there is no time for each instrument to take a 1-chorus solo. Besides, a 7-piece band that plays mostly solos is mostly a 3 piece band. A full 7-piece dance band, on the other hand, can have the vitality of a big band.
SMOKING -- Thank you for not smoking inside.