We booked the La’al Big Band to play at our wedding as we wanted something different which our guests would remember and we are thrilled that we did! The band were amazing!! They got everyone dancing from the young, middle-aged to the older grandparents – they played songs for everyone! People are still talking about the wedding and how great the band were now!
If you’re looking for something extra special for your big day the La’al Big Band are it! We would thoroughly recommend them and are so pleased we booked them for our special day!! – Lynsey & Simon
We booked the La’al big band to play at our wedding reception whilst our guests arrived at our venue and during our meal. If I had my time again I would have loved to have given them a long break and then start them playing again for a couple of hours at the start of the evening. As looking back our evening guests missed out on hearing their lovely sound. I would have loved to have danced more to them as would some of our guests.
The band was the part that just set the atmosphere for our whole wedding reception. They were a major talking point and a “wow factor” as our guests arrived and they will be such a memorable part to us forever. I lost count of the amount of comments throughout the day from guests as to how fantastic they were. When they played one of my favourite songs “Fly Me To The Moon” my husband & I decided on the spur of the moment to have our first dance before we had even had our wedding breakfast. This again was a lovely memory and so spontaneous it took the pressure of the “first dance” off us.
For anyone that loves this era of music, I thoroughly recommend booking them for an event. Paul (their bandleader) was extremely professional throughout, corresponding with us before our big day. He checked with us how we would prefer them to dress i.e tie or bow tie, to songs, to timing and he worked with us to give us what we wanted, offering good advice along the way. It was the best money that we spent all day. I can’t wait to go and see them play again sometime.
Thank you for making our day very unique and special – Mr & Mrs Smallwood
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Cumbria, meeting and performing with the La’al Big Band. I have known their leader Paul Marks for over 20 years and he has done a marvellous job in getting this band together. I was especially impressed with the tasteful backing they provided when I played Moonlight in Vermont, the arrangement with which I won the Musicians Union Most Outstanding Soloist Award back in 1988. It was a very emotional experience for me to play that chart again and the band backed me perfectly. My gratitude to all the players and here’s to the next time we can make music together. – Janusz Carmello, international jazz trumpeter and winner of the Musicians Union Most Outstanding Soloist Award
To La’al Big Band, I just wanted to say thanks to you all for such a great weekend, it was a real pleasure to play with you all, you guys are really swinging!! Keep up the good work and I hope we get to play again sometime in the very near future! – Jamie Brownfield, professional jazz trumpeter, Winner of the 2012 Rising Star of Jazz Award
It was a massive pleasure for me to be able to play with the La’al Big Band in summer 2013. It was great to work with a wide range of musicians from young students, right up to seasoned professionals. The bandleader, Paul Marks, does an absolutely fantastic job in attracting big names in the jazz world to the fairly rural West Cumbria. In addition, the band has also proved to be a huge help for myself as an avid composer and arranger of big band music. Paul is always more than happy to perform charts that I have composed or arranged which, in turn, assists me with my knowledge of big bands and develops my own writing. This band are incredibly welcoming, highly professional and they sure know how to knock out a few top tunes!! – Connor Gallagher, multi-instrumentalist, composer & arranger
I enjoyed joining The La’al Big Band sax section on their gig at the Seacote Hotel. The band covers a wide range of styles and that evening the band was also playing some Mike Smith originals. Amazing tenorist Mike had been running a jazz workshop in the area and was joining the band that evening too. I would’ve been happy to just sit and listen, but leader Paul Marks asked if I’d like to jam on a funky number called ‘The Chicken’, great fun. Wish I could get to more of their gigs, and it’s great the the Big Band tradition lives on in West Cumbria. – Roz Sluman, sax player and jazz educator)
From my seat in the audience, La’al Big Band came across great: good energy, playing & excellent presentation from the whole band – and the audience loved it. Fantastic to see such a big room filled with such a big, enthusiastic crowd of all ages. And when invited to “sit in” on bass, I was made to feel really welcome: what a friendly lot! La’al Big Band do a great job at keeping the spirit of jazz alive in the Lakes. – Jonny Gee, professional jazz musician, www.JonnyGee.co.uk
The La’al Big Band are a jewel in the crown of West Cumbria. Having worked with the saxophone section over the past couple of years, I have been made to feel very welcome and part of their musical community. With a growing reputation, they won’t be ‘the Lake District’s best kept secret’ for very long. – Mike Smith, professonal sax player, www.mikesax.co.uk
This was the first tea dance seen in Millom for many years and people are still talking about it. You did us proud. Your playing was superb and your singer a delight. Within fifteen minutes of our initial online enquiry you phoned us back and we booked you straight away. What a wise choice. Rest assured that we hope to invite you back again to the Palladium in the future
– Terry – Millom Fundraising Group, September 2014
It was extremely easy to book you, you were easily contactable and friendly to talk to. You were not pushy (which many ‘acts’ can be), and this was much appreciated. You responded to any queries rapidly which was also important when planning a large wedding. You were very flexible regarding the actual day – timings of set up and start. I feel you went beyond your obligations by visiting the venue and liaising with the second band, this took away so much stress from us and helped ensure the evening party ran smoothly – it was seamless. Your appearance was in keeping with our dress code – you looked professional but not over formal. In short, I have not got a single negative point to offer. The talent you exhibited was fully appreciated by all, and absolutely made the wedding a very special day.
Thank you again, we will certainly recommend you to friends and family. It really was wonderful.
– Helena and Dan, August 2014
As a lover of the big band sound of the Golden era of popular music, imagine my pleasure to hear that the wise musicians from West Cumbria had got together to make music. But how good was the band going to be? I stood on the stage at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick and hoped they would full fill my expectations – and they did exactly that – and much more. They showed off their musicianship, versatility, enthusiasm plus their ability to play, not only from the music on the stands in front of them, but also from their hearts. 300 music lovers agreed with me, it was a very special night, not only for the band, but also for this very appreciative audience. I have a feeling that the band will get better and better with every confidence growing concert they perform. I was delighted to witness one of West Cumbria’s best kept musical secrets in action. The toast now, and in the future from me is here’s to the La’al big band, long may they continue to entertain and give us so much pleasure.
– Harry King, Presenter/Producer, BBC Radio Cumbria
Hello, firstly may I congratulate you all on being so wonderful!!
My father is a very keen fan of yours and promised to take us to one of your shows if ever you performed on a Sunday. We were delighted to attend your Christmas show with my father (aged 79) and our children aged 17 and 23. Even though we are all very different in age we really really enjoyed the show. In fact our daughter enjoyed it so much she will be with you this Saturday at the Seacote with her husband and several friends and relatives celebrating her 24th birthday. Sadly we will be working so wont be able to be at the show but hope you have a great night
– Louisa Le Voi
Hi Paul, Thank you for your email, was great to know you guys had a good night too! We had an absolutely amazing time and you all played a really big part in that. Everyone has been singing your praises all day and last night! We will definitely be recommending you to all who will listen! Many many thanks again, Claire x – Claire Owen, Ambleside
Many thanks to Paul Marks & the excellent La’al Big Band from Cumbria who played at Morecambe Jazz 2013 at the Platform. Appearing for the first time, they were a breath of fresh air and even included a rousing rendition of Blaydon Races in their pad. I would definitely welcome them back at future festivals. – Steve Middlesbrough, festival organiser, Morecambe Jazz Festival
Well, what can I say – La’al Big Band is one hell of a big sound. From the word go you will reminisce and tap and clap along. Each musician brings something special and different to the overall sound but put them together and, wow, it’s certainly a performance to remember. – Debra Park, festival organiser, Maryport Blues Festival
We hired the La’al Big Band after hearing about them through a work colleague. We went to watch a performance and made an informal booking there and then for them to play at our wedding as we were so impressed with them! We later got together to discuss what songs we’d like and if it was possible for the band to play them. We left them a list and they said they’d practise them and play what they could along with some of their own choices. We had our wedding in the Liner Hotel, Liverpool (ship themed) and our guests were blown away when the band started! Some of the comments made by our guests, “They were so good we didn’t want to dance as we just wanted to listen to them instead”, “It’s like being on the Titanic” (the room looked like a ship!) “They are so good, what a great performance!” and “When you said you had a band we never expected this!” Needless to say they certainly made sure we had a day we and our guests will never forget! They gave 2 performances and played a great mix of songs that both young and old enjoyed. The dance floor was packed and they even had to play 2 encores! The band were very professional, looked great and charged a reasonable amount. I have no hesitation in recommending them. They will really make your night go with swing!!! – Mr & Mrs Fletcher, Liverpool
We hired the La’al Big Band for our wedding and have to say they were by far the highlight of our day and even now are still talked about amongst friends and family who attended, and by some who didn’t. The band played an eclectic mix of songs during 2 halves of one brilliant 2 hour performance that suited all ages from the very young to the very old and was helped considerably by the fact we were allowed to select the track listing ourselves. After selecting half dozen songs or so, we decided to leave the rest up to the pro’s, we were not disappointed. I found the band to be exceptionally professional in both their attitude and musicianship and highly considerate in their approach to our special event and were without doubt the ‘cherry on the cake’ for our special day. Making bookings with them could not have been easier, or more straightforward, with absolute minimal fuss, 2 short phone calls was all it took to secure a fantastic service at a fantastic price. The La’al Big Band will most definitely be our first port of call for our upcoming christening and any future family events beyond that. Five stars all round. – Mr & Mrs K McEnroe, Merseyside