Frequently Asked Questions

I'm not sure which band is right for my event. Can you help me decide?
Absolutely. We've created this helpful guide to aid you in choosing the right band. But if you're still not sure, fill out the inquiry form below, let us know you're unsure about which band is best for your event, and we'll help you make the right choice. 
What is the makeup of each band? What instruments do they have?
The Aaron Stanley Jazz Combo is a purely instrumental classic acoustic jazz quartet or quintet. It features trumpeter Aaron Stanley, the creator of MonteJAZZ Vintage Bands, with optional Saxophone, plus an acoustic rhythm section of Piano (or Digital Piano), Upright Bass, and Drums.

The Calico Jazz Cats is a classic jazz quintet (5 musicians) featuring a female jazz vocalist and solo trumpet (usually Aaron Stanley) with an acoustic rhythm section made up of Piano (or Digital Piano), Upright Bass, and Drums.

The Dixie Bootleggers is a 7-piece band modeled after Louis Armstrong's Hot Seven. It is made up of Clarinet, Trumpet (usually Aaron Stanley), Trombone, Tuba, Banjo, Piano, and Drums. There is no dedicated singer. Instead, band members take turns singing some of the songs. Not all songs include vocal. 

The Speakeasy Jazz Orchestra features a female vocalist dressed as a flapper girl, while the band has a similar configuration to 1920s jazz orchestras by Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Fletcher Henderson. It is made up of Violin, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, 2 Trumpets, Trombone, Tuba, Banjo, Piano, Drums, and directed by Aaron Stanley, who often solos on Trumpet.

The Gorillas of Swing is fronted by a male "crooner" vocalist accompanied by a 6-horn "mini big band" made up of Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, 2 Trumpets, Trombone, Piano, Guitar (or Percussion for Latin repertoire), Upright Bass, Drums, and directed by creator Aaron Stanley, who often solos on Trumpet. 
What does the booking process look like?

After you reach out to us and decide we’re a good fit for your event, we’ll send you a digital Performance Agreement. Once you digitally sign the agreement, you’ll be prompted for a 50% deposit, which can be paid by credit card. Upon receipt of the signed Performance Agreement and deposit, your date will be secured, and we can start planning out all the details of your music. The remaining balance will be due by seven days prior to the event. 

Do we need to meet in person?
It is not absolutely necessary. We can arrange all details over the phone, Zoom, email, or in your Planning Portal. However, if you prefer an in-person meeting, we are happy to arrange one. We are based in Lewisville, TX. 
How far in advance should we book the band?
We encourage you to book as early as possible to ensure your date is available, especially if your event is during the peak season of March-June or October-December. As a general rule, we recommend booking at least 6 months prior to the date of your event. We reserve dates on a “first come, first served” basis.
Will Aaron Stanley personally be at the event?

If you hire The Speakeasy Jazz Orchestra or The Gorillas of Swing, then absolutely. As larger bands, they have more “moving parts” and require some preparation, so it is important that Aaron attend personally as music director. Therefore, these two bands, which also share some personnel, cannot be double-booked with each other, at least for the time being.

For the smaller bands (The Calico Jazz Cats and The Dixie Bootleggers), if booked any other day than Saturday, chances are very high that Aaron will be there personally. Saturdays depend on whether one of the larger bands has been booked that night. Both of these bands can manage on their own with an appropriate substitute trumpet player and designated leader if Aaron is required elsewhere. Aaron will still manage the back end, ensuring set lists are created, arrangements are prepared, and appropriate musicians are contracted for the event. 

If you hire The Aaron Stanley Jazz Combo, Aaron will personally perform. Keep in mind, this band is generally not available on Saturdays unless hired in conjunction with The Calico Jazz Cats or The Gorillas of Swing, which share personnel

Are your rates negotiable?
Because we work only with highly experienced and capable musicians and staff (which ensures not only a high quality musical performance, but that your event goes as smoothly as possible), we are unable to negotiate the price, unless the event is open to the public. Musicians of this caliber expect a certain level of payment. In addition, we have other expenses, such as a professional audio engineer, equipment, and other administration, support, and marketing expenses that are necessary to cover. 

However, we do have various options to accommodate different budget requirements, and we do offer limited-time promotions, as well as discounts for non-peak days. To find out more, fill out our inquiry form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible, usually within a day.
How do you charge?
We set our prices based on the size of the band and the number of sets to be performed. Most events have a 2-set minimum. The price per set goes down with each additional set you wish the band to perform. For example, the price per set for 4 sets is lower than the price per set for 3 sets, and so on. 

To book the band, we require a 50% deposit upon signing of the Performance Agreement, with the remaining balance due by seven days prior to the event. 
What is a "set"?
A "set" is the amount of time the band plays continuously at a time. Due to the demanding nature of the music, we do 45-minute sets followed by a minimum 15-minute break between each set. That means one set, with break, is about one hour. 
What happens during the band breaks? Is there recorded music provided?
The band breaks are perfect times for scheduled activities or speeches, and you are welcome to use our sound equipment (which is managed by our own audio engineer) for addressing your guests. If you'd like to have recorded music playing, we are happy to provide that during band breaks. That means there is no need to hire a DJ, unless you specifically want a DJ to take over after the band finishes its last set. 
Is there a minimum or maximum amount of time you play for?
Yes. Most events have a 2-set minimum. Events on a Saturday night during the peak months of March-June and October-December have a 3-set minimum. Events on Mondays - Wednesday for the smaller bands (The Aaron Stanley Jazz Combo, The Calico Jazz Cats, and The Dixie Bootleggers) have a 1-set minimum. 

The maximum number of sets each band performs is 4 sets, which is about the limit of our endurance! However, it is possible to combine two different bands (as long as their set minimums are met) so that fresh musicians can come in and continue to provide entertainment. For example, The Aaron Stanley Jazz Combo or The Calico Jazz Cats or The Dixie Bootleggers can play a cocktail hour and dinner set while The Gorillas of Swing or The Speakeasy Jazz Orchestra take over when it's time to get the party started! Alternatively, The Speakeasy Jazz Orchestra and The Gorillas of Swing can be combined in the same event, as long as the set minimum is met for each band. 

There are two situations in which a set-minimum will not be required: Since The Gorillas of Swing or The Calico Jazz Cats can incorporate the same musicians as The Aaron Stanley Jazz Combo, no set-minimum is required for the Jazz Combo in that case, only for the larger ensemble. The same is true with The Dixie Bootleggers and The Speakeasy Jazz Orchestra. The Dixie Bootleggers is a smaller subset of The Speakeasy Jazz Orchestra, so set-minimums only apply to the larger ensemble. However, the maximum number of total sets in that case is still 4, since the same musicians are involved.
What time will you arrive at the event?
The Performance Agreement requires specifying a "Load-In" time, which is when the tech team arrives with the equipment. It also requires specifying a "Sound Check" time, which should be an hour or two later (depending on the size of the band). 

The rest of the band arrives at the Sound Check time to check sound levels and settings, and have a quick rehearsal, if necessary. The Load-In and Sound Check should be at a time when guests are not present in the room. The Sound Check time should be no more than three hours before the start of the first set. If a Sound-Check is not possible within this time frame (because the room is being used continuously), the band will arrive an hour before the start of the first set, and the audio engineer will use "best guess" settings based on the last event to get started, then adjust on the fly. 
When should the timeline and song requests be finalized?
Both are due at least two months before the event. 

The timeline is essential in securing musicians and staff for the event. And since we are still in the process of creating arrangements for all of the several-hundred songs in our repertoire list, we need the song selection as early as possible to ensure all necessary arrangements are ready in time for your event. Otherwise, we may have to make some substitutions. 
Does the timeline need to be 100% firm?
The timing within an event can be flexible. The most important times to finalize ASAP (and which are difficult to change last-minute) are the Load-In time, the Sound-Check time, and the Start/End Times. 
What if I want to hear a song not listed in your repertoire?
Each band has a pretty extensive, and ever-expanding, repertoire list. However, if you really want to hear the band perform a song not listed there, we are happy to do so (as long as the song is adaptable to the band's style and makeup) for a modest arranging fee. Our in-house arranger, Aaron Stanley, will write an original arrangement of the song for the band in question. 
What is an "arrangement"?
In the context of music, an "arrangement" refers to the specific version of the song the band performs, including all its unique elements. (Usage example: "That's a great arrangement of that song!") 

Traditionally, small bands work out their own arrangements collaboratively in rehearsal. But this can be time-consuming and doesn't always produce the best results. Moreover, as the size of the band grows, and as the repertoire grows, this approach becomes more and more cumbersome and unwieldy. The solution is for an "arranger" (one who writes arrangements) to create an arrangement and write it down in the form of sheet music. 
What is a "set list"? / Set List Template?
A "set list" is a list of songs, in order, the band will perform for each set. Defining a set list before the event avoids any possible confusion about which song to play next, and avoids delay while the band tries to decide on the spot which song to play, with more possible delay as each member searches for the sheet music. 

We work hard to come to every event prepared with well-balanced set lists. That means we keep in mind style, tempo, character, time-period, and other factors to create a good flow and variety, so it never feels monotonous or boring. 

If you'd like to select your own songs, we've created Set List Templates for each band to help guide you in selecting an appropriate balance of songs for each set. 

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