Jazz is a classic and universally admired genre that plays to tastes across generations. Whether it’s instrumental or vocal, a live jazz band comes in a plethora of nuanced styles that can cater to any event. Set the tone with a solo jazz artist for the Ceremony, followed by a classic jazz band or more contemporary combo to entertain your guests during Cocktail Hour. Think big or small; intimate ceremony, huge corporate event, or two-hundred plate reception, this genre of music is dynamic and flexible enough for it all! Here are our picks for the top live jazz bands for your wedding or any of your events!
Explore Top Jazz Bands for Your Wedding
Vance Camisa is not only a dapper dresser, his unique, vintage style extends into his music as well. Evoking the classic jazz band standards of the early to mid twentieth century, Vance and his quartet set the scene that harkens us back to jazz’s golden era. Imagine classic jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Count Basie, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington all rolled up into one tastefully modern act – that’s Vance Camisa. If you’re looking to add style and the sophistication of a live jazz band to your cocktail hour, non-profit gala, or dinner reception, look no further. Book Vance as a solo act or with his wonderful quartet for wedding music complete with keys or vibraphone and take your event into the jazz age to experience the timeless class of a golden era.
Tom Moon’s Jazz Casual
From classic to contemporary jazz, Tom Moon’s Jazz Casual is a live jazz band with the chops for any occasion. Tom’s saxophone harkens back to the bebop era, evoking a smooth and urbane atmosphere that is perfect for your cocktail hour entertainment. Comprised of some of Philadelphia’s finest session players, Jazz Casual plays torchy ballads and Great American Songbook tunes, as well as bossa nova classics and sleek, ear-pleasing originals.
For Tom Moon, music has the opportunity to create an experience of sentiment, emotion, and empathy. This model colors the experience he creates with Tom Moon’s Jazz Casual, his band made up of talented musicians who play the room just right. Jazz Casual takes pride in having a musical ear that flawlessly determines what is best suited for any given audience or event. Moon says, “We want to make people experience a sense of ease and warmth and welcoming, simply from the way we play. It doesn’t matter if they know the song or not. When you have that kind of mentality and you walk into a space, people sense it.” Moon continues, “The mandate is, ‘what can I do to enhance the room?’ That is our only real job.” If you ever have the pleasure of listening to Tom Moon’s Jazz Casual live, you’ll find yourself enamored within the music. Moon says, “For me, what music brings to an event is almost an atmosphere.” Moon continues, “Before people even realize they’re hearing something, they’re in it. That idea of something that’s special and a little bit off or out of the way, maybe you don’t even see it, but you hear it. There’s something magic about that.”
Luke Carlos O’Reilly
Colombian native and renowned jazz artist, Luke Carlos O’Reilly was born with a passion for music. Luke independently released his debut solo album, ‘Living In The Now’. The album featured several of his own compositions, as well as a few arrangements on some popular standards. Playing with Luke on the album are several of Philadelphia and Brazil’s finest musicians.
Luke’s love for jazz and soul has elevated him to be one of the few consistently in demand pianists and keyboard players in the Philadelphia area. Whether performing as a soloist or a trio, Luke’s live jazz band brings a soulful vibe to any atmosphere.
The Sermon! can best be described as an organ soul jazz quartet inspired by vintage music. While vintage describes their tone, The Sermon! is anything but old. This instrumental band performs with great energy and a high level of musicianship of a classic jazz band that blends perfectly with any event as they transition seamlessly from slinky jazz to high-energy blues-rock. Their dynamic repertoire lends itself well to a sophisticated cocktail hour. The quartet’s signature sound includes a Hammond B3 organ and their style consists of black suit & tie. They are well known up and down the east coast, playing regularly in New York City and Philadelphia and some of the hippest jazz clubs in town.
We asked the band’s keyboard player about the band’s history and the glue that holds the band together: The Sermon! started as a backing band for Hammond organ great “Papa” John DeFrancesco in 2005. When he left West Chester in 2006, I got approached about being in the band. Speaking for myself, I consider these guys to be brothers…after being in a band this long, I’ve seen some stuff with these dudes! A love of organ music ties us all together, but the bond of countless nights of slugging it out can’t be overlooked. Time spent on the bandstand is invaluable and irreplaceable for any act, and The Sermon! has logged some hours. I feel lucky to be in an outfit that finishes everyone’s musical sentences.
Christopher Davis Shannon
Christopher Davis-Shannon’s music brings you back to the time of Tin Pan Alley and early New Orleans Jazz clubs with a repertoire spanning from the 1910’s to the 50’s. His intricate guitar work and plaintive vocals are infused with soulfulness which cannot be imitated, and a respect for his predecessors which is rarely equaled in a jazz artist. Not content with being called a traditionalist he forges ahead with his own modern take on timeless classics, weaving together a sound that is enjoyed by both young and old. Whether you are looking for light jazz for a cocktail hour or music to get your guest’s feet moving, as a solo jazz artist or accompanied by his live jazz band, Davis-Shannon is sure to please.
The Hoppin’ John Orchestra
The Hoppin’ John Orchestra began their musical journey modeled on the classic brass bands of New Orleans, especially the Dirty Dozen. Their sound has adapted and evolved over the years and while a number of the tunes are still solidly in that style, the sets also include classic R & B from the 40’s and 50’s and even some “chamber jazz” transcriptions from the late 30’s and early 40’s. The Band’s notable local instrumentalists never fail to excite and wow an audience.
E. Shawn Qaissaunee
Shawn, a Berklee College of Music Alumnus, has been in demand as a multi-instrumentalist and composer for over twenty years. Sought out for his talents on guitar, bass, piano and both the rubab and dutar, instruments from his native Afghanistan, Shawn is known for his musical sensitivity, lyricism and spirited drive to create excitement among listeners and fellow musicians. If you’re looking to add an avant garde flare to your event and liven up your guests with a vibrant performance by a talented jazz artist, be sure to book E. Shawn Qaissaunee!
Chelsea Reed is the talented leader of the Philly early jazz band, Chelsea Reed & The Fairweather Five. Her music draws on influences including jazz artists such as Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Chelsea loves to explore the roots of jazz to find creative ways to interpret forgotten songs and beloved classics to captivate a new generation of listeners. Chelsea’s voice is the leading force behind the band’s prestige. If your cocktail hour, reception, or private event could use some beautifully soothing vocals and a marvelous American jazz band leader, give us a call and we can discuss Chelsea’s availability and rates!
The Herreras are Esteban and Sebastian who started out as a Latin / Spanish guitar duo in 2009. They play a variety of World Fusion tunes influenced by the styles of the great flamenco and jazz guitarists of this era like Strunz & Farah, Jesse Cook, Paco de Lucia, and Al Di Meola. Esteban and Sebastian come from a musical family. As cousins, their fathers and uncles make up the acclaimed group Los Hermanos Herrera. They each have their own unique style of playing. While Sebastian is a guitar virtuoso using finger picking techniques that allow him to reach tremendous velocity in his playing, Esteban has developed a technique using a teardrop pick which allows him to swiftly cover the entire fretboard with his high speed signature moves. For something different, check out the Latin guitar band, The Herreras.
Led by a French -born jazz artist, Bonjour Paris is a marriage of French Chanson and Golden Age swing. A repertoire of timeless American standards with French jazz songs and old classics, Bonjour Paris is a live jazz band that delivers a hot twist celebrating France, love and music! As a bridge between the old world and the new, these talented jazz artists combine their musical passions to make melodies hot and keep you swinging all night.
De Tierra Caliente
De Tierra Caliente brings the heat with their Latin-infused sounds that will get everybody up and dancing. The Latin party band mixes catchy melodies and unaffected lyrics with Latin, Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms to inspire an irresistible North/South American party. Since its formation in 2014, this flavorful group from Philadelphia, Puerto Rico and Colombia has released 2 full-length albums and played hundreds of shows throughout the US, Colombia, Brazil and Puerto Rico.
De Tierra Caliente paints a musical mural of the Caribbean, bringing the sound of summer with them everywhere they perform. The musicians draw from a variety of instruments, including the guitar, the bass, the flute, shakers, the jam block, the tambourine, the congas, a cowbell pedal, and the cajón. Each instrument is strikingly effective in creating the band’s jubilant sound, impressively mixing Puerto Rican, Colombian, Brazilian and Philly-style melodies.
Inquire About These Top Jazz Bands for Your Wedding
If you’re picturing your wedding band commanding the room onstage or providing a subtle and joyful ambiance to your event, you can take your pick from any of our favorite live jazz bands that encompasses that exact style. At Mole Street Artists, our passion is finding the perfect fit for wedding and event entertainment, so let us do just that!
Originally published December 4, 2019, updated March 19, 2021.