Thanks to loyal reader Mike Dooley for this funny letter:
Dear Band Leader:
My wife and I look forward to you providing music at our daughter's wedding. We have a list of songs we would like you to play. Don't worry if you don't know all of them.
Any Chick Corea composition would be great, but we would especially like you to play "The Three Quartets, No.1 as the guests walk in. For the bride's mother, please go right into the piano intro to "Quartet No. 2." Keep playing it till she gets up to the altar. Also, have it arranged for the full ensemble.
Don't play any of the "Electric Band" songs. Make sure the drummer uses "Evans" drum heads so his drums sound like Steve Gadd, our favorite drummer.
Now, when I walk in, please play "Birdland" (but the version from "Live"). My wife and I were at that show, and we particularly like it. If you find it too difficult, you can play "Sister Cheryl" from "Tony Williams Live in Tokyo."
Now, for the song in the middle of the Mass during the communion, we want the singer to sing Alan Holdsworth's "Against the Clock" from his "Wardenclyffe Tower" CD. We love this song and especially the drum solo by Vinnie Colaiuta. We think that it's his greatest solo, although some will argue against this. Keep repeating the drum solo till the priest tells you to stop.
Any of John Coltrane's duets w/Pharaoh Sanders would be grand. I understand that their use of atonality is not everyone's cup of tea, but all of our guests LOVE high register tenor saxes.
We thought a little Stravinsky right after the toast would be nice. We particularly like the "Infernal Dance. . ." or whatever it's called, from the Rite of Spring (second version c. 1932). If you want to use the sheet music, that's OK. We like a tempo of about not = 93 (Ozawa). Faster would be cool, too, but don't play it too slow. That would ruin it.
Next, for the "life candle" lighting ceremony, please play Frank Zappa's "The Black Page." If you want to play it in the original key of Bb minor, that would be fine, but my cousin Janeen would like to sing it, so you may have to play that part in another key (she majored in voice at UCLA).
During the cocktail hour, we want some nice Keith Jarret tunes from his 'Standards Vol. 1 and 2' and, feel free to take things out as far as you like.
When my daughter throws the garter, could you play just a little of "Varese's Ionization"? It's such a cool piece. We think it would go over really well. It's much better than "The Stripper."
Now, for the bride and groom's first dance, please slow things down a bit by doing Barber's "Adagio for Strings." It's so much better than "We've Only just Begun" or "The Anniversary Waltz." When my wife and I join in the first dance, could you please segue to Thelonius Monk's
"Ruby, My Dear?" That's in honor of my wife's grandmother, whose name was Ruby. It would mean so much to the family. Then, we would like to hear some nice Mexican music while we eat dinner. We love the sound of Los Ponchos, so any of their hits would be great.
Thanks very much for all your help. We'll certainly be happy to recommend your band to all of our friends. We thought that $50.00 per man for 4 hours would be sufficient. So that's $350.00 for the entire group. If you get our guests dancing, I will throw in an extra $50.00. So, get 'em dancing.
We want you to be set up TWO HOURS before your start time @ 5:00 pm., and do not be late. We don't want to see any cases, bags, coats, boxes, cables, wires, or any unnecessary clutter on the stage or within view of the guests. Play 1 hour and then take a break of no more than 10
minutes, but don't forget, to leave the guitar player or the piano player playing while the rest of the band breaks.
Absolutely no drinking! In fact, we don't even want to see the musicians near the bar or food tables. Also, NO TALKING ON STAGE!! Go outside quietly where no one can see you. Of course, no smoking anywhere. Someone will be watching you on your breaks to make sure you
don't consume any alcohol. Before you leave, please feel free to ask the caterer for a sandwich (or, a "bandwich" as you people call them). And, perhaps a soda to take with you. Oh, and one more thing. . . .and this is very important. In between songs, we don't want to hear any musicians practicing "licks," or running up and down high speed scales. Nothing sounds worse than hearing musicians all "fooling around" at the same time.
I believe you people like to call it "noodling." or something like that. But, it is a terrible habit. It's very unprofessional. You don't hear the members of the Berlin Philharmonic "noodling around" between movements. . . .right?
We look forward to hearing you play.
Sincerely, The Bride's Parents.