When jazz musicians get married, who plays the wedding?

Originally published on April 12, 2012 8:30 am

Because of their skill and versatility, a lot of jazz-trained musicians occasionally find themselves playing wedding gigs. But what happens when jazz musicians themselves get hitched? How do they decide who, among their many musician friends, gets the gig?

The trumpeter Ingrid Jensen is married to drummer Jon Wikan. Weeks before their 2004 wedding, NPR's Weekend Edition interviewed Jensen. Naturally, the subject came up:

Liane Hansen (Host): Now, who has the final say when it comes to the band you get for music?

Ingrid Jensen: Well, I guess in the band it's going to really be decided by the guest list. Whoever says they're going to be there is going to be playing. Actually, it's a very beautiful thing. We found — I found these recordings of my mother playing when she was 18 or 19, when she was doing her final exams for her classical piano playing, and they recorded them on LP and 78s. And so we're going to use a piece of that, of her playing, since she can't be at the wedding. And then we're going to go into something a little happier, although it's going to be very sweet.

That's one solution: Nobody gets to play, then everybody has to play.

Musicians: Who did or who will you have play your wedding? Yes, jazz journalists and fans, you can weigh in, too. Somebody get Jason Parker on the line.

As for Ingrid Jensen, her band is playing tonight at 8 p.m. ET, and NPR Music and WBGO are webcasting live from Berklee College of Music. Four-fifths of the band pictured above will be in on the gig, including Jon Wikan, second from left. (Gary Versace takes over piano duties from Geoff Keezer, who lives in San Diego now that he's, um, married.) Pursuant to this discussion, I will request that the band play "Brown-Eyed Girl," but somehow I don't think they'll oblige.

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