I still watch old musicals for inspiration
and this is the typical scene: Fred Astaire
and Ginger Rogers dancing in a fancy
club, the orchestra is playing some tune
that would in later years become a "jazz
standard".
With the graceful union of horn section
and strings, it strikes the perfect balance
between beautiful elegance and rousing
swing.
Most of my favorite jazz artists made
albums that included strings, and it's an
absolutely gorgeous instrumentation.
We've put this ensemble together to
capture that feel and sound.
      
Our version of this jazz orchestra is the basic rhythm section plus one of two choices:

Economy: (10-piece) Consisting of a couple of horns(one sax, one trumpet) with a
small string section (our
quartet), this band is very classy and sounds fabulous, but
may not look as imposing on a stage.

Full band: (13-piece) The way that brass instruments harmonize with each other is
magical; it's very nice to have high, mid, and low (1st and 2nd trpt, trombone) all in a
section together. Then you have tenor and alto saxes in harmony, often in counterpoint
to the brass. And, once again, a small string section that lends a certain charm which,
in my estimation, the common, more modern jazz big band is lacking.  

For vocals we have Liz, my favorite female jazz vocalist around. She does "sultry alto"
very well with just a bit of brassy and a great easy-like swing feel when she sings. She
also plays piano in the rhythm section. And then there's me (my favorite male vocalist
around) on guitar, leading the band and sometimes singing.
Note: As this particular configuration is a relatively new project
(our first performance was this past
Christmas) we have not yet
had a chance to make recordings of this group. Nonetheless, you
can tell by the audio samples of the
string quartet and the jazz
quintet
separately that these are all musicians of the finest quality.
The main purpose of this ensemble is the dance. Everything we
play is centered around how it should feel on the ballroom floor.