Saturday, March 26, 2005

With This Riff, I Thee Wed

You've probably heard of the traditional New Orleans jazz funeral, but today I attended something rather unique: a jazz wedding. A jazz vocalist friend of mine got married to a jazz pianist, so it certainly made sense that their ceremony revolved around the music they love.

The wedding itself was held in the theatre adjacent to the art gallery where my friend works (as I told her, you always hear about people being married to their job, but it's not so common to see someone get married at their job). It was a little different from a traditional church wedding--a little less pomp and circumstance, but the cool factor was way off the charts. A traditional white archway bedecked with flowers held center stage, while a jazz trio of tenor sax, guitar and bass hid (mostly) behind the curtain and played the wedding party onstage to a ballad. After a brief but meaningful official ceremony, the band played a snippet of the traditional Mendelssohn Wedding March (and, for the first time, in that setting, the thought hit me that the tune does in fact start with a nice minor ii-V-i progression; as an audience member, I don't always analyze classical the way I do jazz) and launched into another ballad as the rest of the wedding party left the stage.

The reception was held in the gallery proper, and it proved the perfect venue for such a gathering: food in the back, tables in the front, band near the tables in a special "caged" area that sounded really good in the high-ceilinged room with exposed ductwork (note to self: future gig venue?). The tunes were mostly bossas, but the upper-level-UNT-people band made them sound very nice, and the vocalist knew the Portuguese quite well. I got to visit with friends and colleagues old and new, and the food was great, the highlight being one of those chocolate fountain things, into which bananas, strawberries, marshmallows, etc. could be dipped.

Though I imagine that my own wedding will take place inside a church, the jazz theme was very cool indeed; I hope to incorporate some elements of what I saw today into that day.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I've never seen a bride who was almost constantly smiling before...and I've never seen a groom sweat quite so much."--the officiator at the wedding, during one of many light moments in the ceremony. (Actually, knowing myself and big occasions/dressing up, I might give today's groom a run for his money in the Sweaty Groom competition when my own joyous day eventually comes.)

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