October is always a busy month for Cutting Edge Entertainment, and this past October was no exception. Cairnwood is by far one of my favorite venues; I like the staff, the venue, and the fact that it’s located only a few short minutes drive from our office. However, the thing I like most about Cairnwood is that each and every wedding or party I do there is uniquely different. In other words, it never gets boring at Cairnwood. There are so many different caterers, decorators, planners, florists and other event professionals that all bring their own individual style, enhancing the event and adding something new and different to each event I do there.
Christine and Jon were a really fun couple to work with, and we had a blast at our wrap up meeting a couple weeks prior to the wedding. The meeting we had lasted about two hours and I believe it was good for Christine and Jon to get to know me better and gain confidence in my ability to rock out their wedding. For me, getting to know them was more like making new friends than working with a client, and as it turned out we had so much in common.
Their wedding was one of the highlights of my month, and by the pictures featured here you can tell this was one great crowd. Of course when I DJ a wedding I consider it a team effort, and the wedding can not be successful unless all of the wedding professionals work in sync. The photographer for the wedding Kevin from Kevin York Photography did an awesome job capturing the images of the event. Kevin is a superstar photographer that does great work. Finally, a successful wedding can’t be complete without the bride and groom, and Christine and Jon were perfect.
Images courtesy of Kevin York Photography
Cutting Edge @ April 21, 2014
“Blues and Gospel – American Black Music – is the
fountainhead of all of the 20th Century Pop music.”
“Black music became the music of the world. Every country has wonderful music.
There is beautiful music in Spain, in Italy, in Hungary, in Austria, in Russia, in Ireland and in France, but there is only one music that travels everywhere,
and that’s black American music.”
The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun by Robert Greenfield is a phenomenal biography, so much so that I literally couldn’t put it down, resulting in more than a few nights of falling asleep with book in hand.
The life and times of Ahmet Ertegun is not just a remarkable book – well written and captivating – but also a story worth telling. The author’s light and breezy style makes this a fun read, and his story-telling style is as delightful and amusing as an Ahmet Ertegun anecdote.
A son of the first Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Ahmet Ertegun came to the U.S. at the cusp of his teenage years, in his words “to what I thought was the land of Jazz”. Greenfields book follows the journey of the young Turkish boy and his love of what he called “American black music”.
As a youth, he would sneak from the Turkish Embassy and head to Harlem to hear Duke Ellington and other Jazz greats, and as a young adult he would (with help) found Atlantic Records, signing a parade of artists like Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Sonny & Cher, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Cream, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones to the famed record label.
What author Robert Greenfield’s book excels at is story-telling, something Ahmet Ertegun was famous for. Coincidentally, the stories Ahmet loved to tell most were about his self, so I imagine he would have loved this book.
Praise of this book aside, it’s an important and historical piece of work. Ahmet Ertegun was a remarkable and outstanding figure in both what he called “American black music” and American popular music in general. Ahmet was invaluably instrumental in bringing black music to white audiences while helping to shape the physical media industry in the latter half of the 20th Century.
If you love the behind-the-scenes stories of sex, drugs, money and the music industry, you can be sure a book about the life and times of Ahmet Ertegun has it all and then some. Robert Greenfield’s biography delivers a fun ride into the record business of the late 20th Century, with Ahmet at the wheel.
Cutting Edge @ April 21, 2014
On November 1, 2013, I had the privilege of DJing the wedding of Liz and AJ at the beautiful Curtis Center in Philadelphia. The Curtis Center is the historic location of Curtis Publishing during the day; but once 5:00pm arrives, the place transforms into one of the most beautiful wedding venues I have ever worked in. The staff of the Cescaphe Event group worked feverishly to get the lobby ready for this Friday night wedding and they definitely didn’t disappoint.
I met AJ and Liz a few months prior when Liz came in with her mother to meet with Richie and myself. By the end of that meeting, I knew that we were going to have a great time the night of the wedding. A month prior to the event we planned out all of the details of the wedding. By the end of the night, I felt like I was a part of the family. We planned all the details from top to bottom and listened to a few songs to make sure that they fit the vibe of the wedding.
On the night of the wedding, I knew we were going to have a blast as the guests started to file in. We barely had our equipment setup before the bridal party was making songs requests. This was an obvious sign that they would be up dancing all night. The guests danced from the start of the night until the last song. It didn’t matter if we played The Jackson 5, Black Eyed Peas or Pitbull; they were up partying with us. Liz’s sisters even gave a toast to their own rendition of Britney Spears “Oops, I did it Again!”
The Cescaphe Event group was a pleasure to work with as they gave us the opportunity to dance the guests between courses. They really know how to keep a party moving so that the guests can get the most time on the dance floor. Our photographer was on top of the action all night long as he was out in the middle of the guests. Steve rocked the dance floor as always.
Thank you to Liz and AJ for allowing me to be a part of their special day. I wish you both many years of health and happiness. You both rock and I look forward to seeing you guys again.
Images courtesy of Sean Michael Lin
Atrium at Curtis Center
Cutting Edge @ April 16, 2014
Client Testimonials, Weddings
Every once in a while I have the honor of being the DJ for a good friend’s wedding. That was the case on November 30th, when I packed my gear up and headed to New Jersey for Jason and Jenna’s wedding. I have known for Jason for many years, ever since he started working at Cutting Edge Entertainment. He was one of our DJs back in the day and he rocked at it. Although Jason moved on a few years ago, we still keep in close touch.
This was a wedding that I had anticipated for months, just because I knew it was going to be blast. The wedding was held at The Mansion on Main Street in Voorhees, NJ which is a venue I have worked at many, many times. Once cocktail hour ended, we brought everyone in to the ballroom and began our introductions. The parents, bridal party, and bride and groom each had came out and the guests were cheering so hard it almost overpowered the music. Once the first dance and toasts were finished, everyone enjoyed an amazing meal courtesy of the staff of the Mansion. Once dinner ended, we quickly got everyone out on the dance floor. I played everything from “Ain’t To Pround To Beg” by the Temptations to “Yeah” by Usher as well as tons of other great party hits in between. The bride and groom were out on the dance floor nearly the entire night, along with their roughly two hundred guests. It was a great time for all.
The staff at the Mansion did a great job, as they always do. It is always a pleasure working together with them and I look forward to my next opportunity. This was my first opportunity to work with Jenelle from Jenelle Kappe Photography. She did a great job and I appreciate her letting us use these images on our blog. Congratulations once again to Jason and Jenna, it was a pleasure to be your Wedding DJ.
A few weeks after the wedding the Mother of the Bride posted the following testimonial on Wedding Wire:
Cutting Edge provided the MC/DJ service for my daughter’s wedding last weekend. We could not have been happier with the service and professionalism of our MC, Richie, and his DJ. The music choices were perfect and the dance floor was packed the entire evening. While all elements of a party are important I am a firm believer that even if everything else is perfect, if the music is not up to par the night will never be a total success. Richie did an outstanding job and an amazing time was had by all. I would recommend this company highly.
Images courtesy of Jenelle Kappe Photography
The Mansion on Main Street
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ April 9, 2014
Client Testimonials, Weddings
I am very grateful to get the opportunity to work with so many awesome people – weekend after weekend – just like Valerie and Bill, the bride and groom from this wedding. Valerie and Bill were laid back and their primary concern was with making sure that their friends and family had a great time at their wedding reception. At our wrap up meeting just prior the wedding, we spent a lot of time going over the music for dinner, and dancing. We sat together for a while just listening to music and looking for the perfect grand entrance, cake cutting, and parent dance songs. The best part of my job is getting to know my clients and share in their excitement for their big day, and sitting down with them face to face really gives my the chance to do just that.
This was a great crowd to DJ for, as the dance floor was packed full as soon as dinner ended. I usually start my first dance set with music geared to older guests, and play some oldies, Motown, Disco, and Funk, then later on in the night I segue into the current hits. The reason I do it this way is because older guests are the ones that tend to leave earlier in the night, and I have found that younger people – for the most part – will dance to music from older generations, while many older guests are hesitant to dance to popular music of today. As the Wedding DJ, it is my job to play music and get guests of all generations out there during the course of the reception. Valerie and Bill were dancing most of the night, and their family and friends were right out there with them.
This wedding is the first blog post I’ve had the opportunity to write from a reception I did at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, in historic Bucks County Pennsylvania. I have worked at this venue before and I am excited to finally feature it on this post. I also had a great time working with Casual Candids Photography. I want to thank them for letting me feature the images from the wedding on our blog. Most importantly, I want to thank Valerie and Bill for choosing me as their Wedding DJ and allowing me to rock their wedding.
A few weeks after the wedding the bride and groom were nice enough to post the following testimonial on Wedding Wire:
Richie was our DJ for our November 10th wedding at the Michener Art Museum, and we are not only thrilled by how amazing he was, but we are still, a month later, hearing praise from wedding guests about how perfect he was for our event! People were dancing the whole night away, he knew exactly what to play for our crowd, and he made the wedding not only personal to us, but also the best dance party I will ever have in my entire life! We could not be happier with his services, and I would recommend him to anyone!!
Images courtesy of Casual Candids Photography
The James A. Michener Art Museum
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ April 2, 2014
Musicology, Random Thoughts
Five tall, handsome well dressed young men take the stage. All are dressed alike, in matching fashionable and stylish suits. One of the five steps forward wearing dark rimmed glasses, tossing a microphone in the air, then spinning on his heels in a 360 only to catch the microphone again before breaking into song in a raspy, yet powerful voice pleading with emotion. With each word he sings it is as if he is weeping at the same time, and behind the tears is a mighty sadness that is both beautiful and tormented at the same time. As he gestures with his hands in a visual accompaniment to each lyric, the four men behind him join in with melodious accompaniment to compliment his singular and lonely phrasings.
As a showman and vocalist, David Ruffin was unrivaled, and possessed the “it factor” long before the turn of phrase was coined, and upon first joining the Motown group The Temptations, even the sky itself posed no limit. But behind the dashing good looks and amazing talent was an ominous darkness. Whether a brooding anger or a deep sense of depression, it’s undeniable that Ruffin was his own worst enemy, making wrong decision after wrong decision that would ultimately lead to his undoing and demise.
“Oh, determination is fading fast
Inspiration is a thing of the past
Can’t see how my hope’s gonna last
Good things are bad and what’s happy is sad”
‘Since I Lost My Baby’
Accounts tell of a childhood filled with mental and physical abuses causing deep seeded damage that David Ruffin would carry with him into adulthood. As an adult, he would struggle with monogamy, and himself be abusive to the women who loved him, and at the height of his popularity he would turn to drugs like cocaine, ultimately be attributed to his undoing and, in the end, his demise. The duality of David Ruffin was that he was as talented as he was tormented, by demons whose origins we can only speculate.
Are the sadness and heartbreak of songs like “I Wish It Would Rain” or “(I Know) I’m Losing You” so believable because the origin of the sentiment is real? Even the iconic Temptations classic “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” is made all the more convincing with David Ruffin pleading the lyrics. The voice of David Ruffin is so filled with great despondency that the listener cannot deny that the despair and anguish seem eerily authentic, part of a struggling internal conflict.
“Day in, day out, my tear stained face
Pressed against the window pane
My eyes search the skies, desperately for rain
‘Cause raindrops will hide my teardrops
And no one will ever know
That I’m crying, crying when I go outside
To the world outside my tears, I refuse to explain
Oh, I wish it would rain”
‘I Wish It Would Rain’
On January 18, 1989 – coincidentally David Ruffin’s 48th birthday – The Temptations were officially inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where four of the original Tempts took the stage to accept the award. Ruffin, third to speak, paused frequently during his thank you speech, as if searching for words, closing with “A thought remains from the endurance we have been through through the years… but this makes up for a lot of it”. His meaning is unclear, almost cryptic, but seemed to allude to a sense of closure. Two years later, in June of 1991, David Ruffin would die of a drug overdose in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
David Ruffin is a fascinating figure in the panorama of American popular music, and perhaps one of its greatest tragedies. He stood on the precipice of success, but fell victim to his own insecurities and self-defeating behaviors. Yet his artistic contributions are all too well documented, and his legacy – his soulful recordings – will remain beloved by millions, myself included, for many years to come.
Sources: Mark Ribowsky’s ‘The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of The Temptations –
Ain’t Too Proud To Beg‘, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the great musical mind of
Mr. Nathaniel Jones (the senior) whose input was invaluable.
David Ruffin Illustration by Rick Cortes
Cutting Edge @ April 2, 2014
Client Testimonials, Weddings
On November 2nd, 2013 I was at the North Hills Country Club in Glenside, PA to rock out the wedding reception of Lauren and Bill. In my line of work, I meet a lot of couples in love. I could tell right away that Lauren and Bill cared very much for each other (and no, I don’t always say that). In our meetings prior to the wedding, the bride and groom would constantly exchange smiles, winks, and I even caught them playing footsies underneath the conference table. The bride and groom were excited and their eyes lit up as we sat and discussed the dance music we would play during the wedding reception.
Lauren and Bill are definitely both party animals, and they really wanted all of their guests to have a great time. They picked the right DJ for the job, because getting (and keeping) people out on the dance floor happens to be my specialty. I played everything from “Runaround Sue” by Dion & The Belmonts to “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, and everyone had a blast. One thing remained the same. It didn’t hurt that this crowd was ready to go as soon as dinner was over, and did not stop until the reception came to a close.
Now, of course, I can’t take all the credit for the success of the party. The staff at the North Hills Country Club did a magnificent job. There was constant communication between myself and their staff, which enabled us to work together toward the overall success of the event. I also had the chance to work with Photographer T from Alimario Photography. He took amazing pictures and was very kind to let us feature some here on our blog.
In conclusion, everything could not have been without the bride and groom. The wedding was amazing and I was so glad to be a part of it. I wish both Lauren and Bill the best in the start of your new life together, and I hope to see you both at future events. Thank you for choosing Cutting Edge Entertainment.
A few weeks after their wedding the bride and groom posted the following testimonial on Wedding Wire…
Richie Abrams was our FANTASTIC DJ for our 11/2/13 wedding. Richie had the dance floor packed all night with his great choices in music. He was professional, yet fun throughout the entire process. So many of our guests commented on how much fun the wedding was and how great the music was. Even the bartenders at the venue told us that they work a lot of weddings and they all seem to be the same, but that this one was really awesome due to the DJ! I can’t say enough great things about Richie and ABSOLUTELY would recommend him! We are SO glad that we had him there to create and maintain the great atmosphere during the reception!
Images courtesy of Alimario Photography
North Hills Country Club
Cutting Edge @ March 24, 2014
More often than not being a wedding entertainer has more to do with managing the proceedings, rather than leading them. Some couples just go with the flow and take it as it comes; others plan their day to be as timely as broadcasting the Grammy Awards. Both have their advantages; the first can be simpler for the staff and less stressful to boot, while the latter can cause unnecessary strain depending on those involved. However, being the type of person who loves organization and streamlined plans; the couple I had to honor of working with on September 13, 2013 was my type of planners.
Making diligent schedules and tight plans ensures that the Bride and Groom receive exactly what they paid for. Lauren and Kevin had a vision in mind that I was enthused to make a reality, and beginning with our setup we knew that we had a group of party-animals ready to set the night on fire. The room was brushed in color from the abundance of up-lighting and the sound was powerful with dual sub woofers. Jack and I knew what was coming from the moment the bridal party entered the room.
While the parents strutted in the room to Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra, our bridal party kicked off the night with choreographed entrances and a flash mob. Before introductions I routinely line-up the group and give them the “hype-speech” to officially start the party; this group didn’t need it. The point I try to make is that it’s “dinner and show”, so they storm out of the gates to show the crowd that we are here to celebrate. Lauren and Kevin – and their friends – were more than prepared for the show.
The night was stuffed with memorable moments; from the Matron of Honors “story of us” slideshow to the “Dancing with the Stars”-style first dance. A combo of old-school jams and new-school hits kept the dance floor packed all night. This was an unforgettable night of sweat and blistered feet! It was all thanks to the careful planning and team-effort put forth by all involved.
Thank you to the RiverCrest Golf Club staff for your hospitality! Also, thank you to Photographer Ken Lee for these amazing images.
Like a pro-athlete, we judge ourselves on our “last performance”. Thank you, Lauren and Kevin, for allowing me to throw a perfect game. Congratulations!
Images courtesy of Marsella Studio
RiverCrest Golf Club
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ March 19, 2014
Natali and Bob were married on Saturday, February 14th, 2014 – a snow covered Valentine’s Day – at The Lake House Inn in Bucks County. It was a breathtaking winter wonderland, and the house and grounds seemed like a scenic snowy resort in the Alps while the bride, Natali, glowed like a princess against a backdrop of white.
Truth be told, it’s hard to reckon when Bob and I first made one other’s acquaintance, but it’s been a few years. It was therefore quite an honor to have Bob approach us to handle the duties of Wedding DJ, which I would take on with the help one of our other Wedding DJs, Steve.
One of the most important (and fun) parts of planning a wedding is the planning itself. Bob and Natali met with Steve and I on two occasions, the second of which being when we put together the timeline for the wedding reception. Pre-planning does not ensure perfection, but it certainly helps to be as prepared as possible. Our second meeting ran several hours going over the agenda, checking pronunciations and of course talking music.
Music is a universal language, and each bride and groom has their own unique dialect while having individual tastes in music at the same time. While Natali loved to dance, she had very eclectic tastes in music, Bob was all Pearljam, and together they chose the Pearljam song “Future Days” for their first dance. We even slipped in “Evenflow” during dinner. Very cool, and yes, Pearljam rocks.
The crowd – particularly Natali, her bridesmaids, and a guy with really shiny shoes (see image below) – danced all night, and there was even a dance-battle between the shiny shoes guy and a guy dressed in purple! The stuff fun weddings are made of. This was truly a great crowd of really nice folks who were a lot of fun, and I was honored to have been a part of it.
It was great to work with Photographer Lynda Berry, and thank you for letting us use your beautiful images on our blog. And the folks at The Lake House Inn and Jeffrey Miller Cater Catering are always a pleasure to work with!
Most of all, I wish Bob and Natali only the best in everything, and that their futures are filled with happiness, laughter and love. You’re both very cool people, and you deserve it.
Images courtesy of Lynda Berry Photography
The Lake House Inn
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ March 17, 2014
In November 2013 I was the Wedding DJ for Kristin and Tom’s wedding reception. The party was held at the Manor House at Prophecy Creek, in Ambler, Pennsylvania. The first time I met Kristin and Tom was actually a few months prior at an open house, which the Manor House holds regularly. The property is being run by Robert Fair Catering, and they’ve done an extraordinary job renovating the Manor House and beautifying the landscaping, which looks truly breathtaking. I’ve worked with Robert Fair Catering many times at other venues and I am very happy to have such a good working relationship with their whole staff. Terri does a great job working together with her clients to make certain they have an amazing event, while her husband Kerry can be found in the kitchen, putting together the mouth-watering meal. Their entire staff truly does an amazing job accommodating the guests and seeing to every detail.
When the big day finally came, my assistant DJ and I arrived at Prophecy Creek about two hours before the start of the ceremony. We quickly got set up and settled in, before the roughly one hundred and fifty guests arrived. Being prepared is paramount to success. The ceremony was held on the property, and we were happy to provide a microphone for the officiant and the vows. Sometimes, when having your ceremony outside, it is nice to have a microphone to guarantee everything is heard by all attendees. Following the ceremony we provided music for the cocktail hour, but were very conscious of the volume of our music. Of course we want people to hear the music we are playing, but, at the same time, we don’t want people shouting at each other as they are trying to mix and mingle. Once cocktail hour was over, guests headed to their tables underneath the tent, where we introduced the parents, bridal party, and our bride and groom. Once we introduced Kristin and Tom into the room, we had them begin their first dance.
Kristin and Tom are definitely both party animals, and they really wanted all of their guests to have a great time. They picked the right Wedding DJ for the job, because getting (and keeping) people out on the dance floor happens to be my specialty. I played everything from “Shout” by Otis Day and The Knights to “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, and everyone had a blast. One thing remained the same… It didn’t hurt that this crowd was ready to go as soon as dinner was over, and did not stop until the reception came to a close.
Now, of course, I can’t take all the credit for the success of the party. I worked together with a great staff at Prophecy Creek, who did a great job and were easy to work with. Great food is a key element to a successful party, and the food at Prophecy Creek was outstanding. I also worked alongside Nicole of Nicole Leigh Photography. She took some great pictures from the party. As always she rocked, and I can’t wait to work with her again.
Thank you again to Kristin and Tom for choosing Cutting Edge Entertainment as your Wedding DJ, and wishing you both all the best life has to offer.
Images courtesy of Nicole Leigh Photography
The Manor House at Prophecy Creek Park
Cutting Edge @ March 5, 2014