The Ken Ulansey Ensemble provides a flexible, varied palette of extraordinary instrumental and vocal music for every occasion. From soft dinner music to lively and versatile get-out-of-your-seat-dance-band …. From cooking Jazz to elegant Classical. From the Swing of the Big Band Era to the Funk of Motown. Looking for something different? How about Klezmer, Zydeco, Latin, and World Music from the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe and more?
Weddings, Corporate and Philanthropic Events, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, Anniversary parties…. Whatever the occasion, Ken Ulansey Ensemble has the music to make the party!
About The Band
The Ken Ulansey Ensemble is made up of a treasure-trove of Philadelphia’s outstanding musicians — Grammy Award winners, nationally-honored soloists, full-time professionals, who have played with the greats of popular music and jazz. music for every occasion. From soft dinner music to lively and versatile get-out-of-your-seat-dance-band. From cooking Jazz to elegant Classical. From the Swing of the Big Band Era to the Funk of Motown. Looking for something different? How about Klezmer, Zydeco, Latin, and World Music from the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe and more? Heath Allen on the piano
Ken himself has toured the world, from New York’s Lincoln Center to the finest concert halls of Europe and Latin America, playing with some of the best musicians of our time.
Appearing on more than 200 recordings and film scores, Ken’s versatility has earned him prestigious awards from the Philadelphia Music Foundation, as best performer in his field, and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts. His roots in Jazz, Classical, and traditional music create a deep musical wellspring, and his eight years with the renowned modern classical group Relache, paved a road of musical inventiveness he continues to explore.
The Ensemble has enlivened thousands of Weddings, Corporate Events, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Anniversaries and Galas (including the Beaux Arts and Academy Balls). Their concerts have taken them throughout the country, including live broadcasts from Philly radio stations WHYY, WXPN, WMMR, WRTI and WIOQ.
The Rave About The Ken Ulansey Ensemble
Critical Acclaim: Best of Philly – Party Band
“This band can get the crowd off its feet at any occasion, be it wedding reception, birthday party, Bar Mitzvah, gallery opening or antiques show.”
– Philadelphia Magazine
“ONE OF THE YEAR’S TEN BEST JAZZ CDs!”
– Philadelphia Inquirer
“If it’s got a reed, Kenny Ulansey can play it. Before anyone had heard of Kenny G, Kenny U was popping up everywhere on soprano sax — from an eight-year stint with Relâche to guest appearances with traveling folk artists at the Cherry Tree… Expect anything and everything, from very danceable traditional tunes to out experimental stuff.”
– Mary Armstrong, City Paper
“By inclination, uber-talented Ken Ulansey is a jazz musician. But how do you pin down a saxophonist whose musical range encompasses classical, folk, world beat, Klezmer and rock…? This kind of praise has become routine for Ulansey.”
– Frank Quattrone, Montgomery Newspapers
“…a group of accomplished and talented performers… augmented by the spectacular singer.”
– Nancy Heller, Philadelphia Inquirer
“A lot of players look up to Ken Ulansey. And rightly so; he is indeed a “musician’s musician.” Ulansey freelances all about town, as he puts it, ‘dabbling in seven or eight traditions of music.’ His repertoire includes Baroque music, contemporary classical, swing jazz, contemporary jazz, Eastern European folk tunes, Indian ragas and Brazilian samba. If you consider all the awards Ulansey has collected throughout his career, it’s obvious the instrumentalist does more than ‘dabble.’
– Deni Kasrel, Jewish Times
“The compositions are as intriguing, sharply designed, and crazy-quilted as the best work of Mingus and, more recently, Carla Bley and Henry Threadgill. (Pianist Heath) Allen’s tightly constructed pieces mix New Orleans, tango, Klezmer-type Eastern European influences, the ambience of silent-film accompaniment, and a precision in detail that rivals a Swiss watchmaker. With excellent sidemen, he cavorts across a dancer’s landscape, infusing it with the instrumentation and improvisational bursts of jazz. Few musicians could write such music; fewer still could play it with such discipline and unfettered joy.”
– Jules Epstein, Philadelphia Tribune
“On the new CD, red/blue…shift, there are elements of jazz and classical music, music from film noir and Nino Rota, tango, salsa and Klezmer and other less identifiable sources. With an extremely versatile band,…(they) create a series of musical vignettes that are carefully constructed but sound irresistibly spontaneous. The music is constantly in flux, with melodies divided among the instruments or one style morphing into another, literally without missing a beat.”
– Russell Woessner, Philadelphia Weekly
“…a breezy, intimate affair of sambas, blues, ballads and bop, exuding fine musicianship and maximum joie de vivre.”
– Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News
*** Ulansey is a resonant player who can negotiate a bewildering array of styles. …overall, this disc is bright…”
– Karl Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer
“….their group blends a variety of styles: Swing, bop, pop, Latin… plus some powerful poly-rhythms…grooves nicely.”
– Deni Kasrel, The Welcomat
“What’s most apparent…is that the group is comfortable playing together. Whether in the swinging Eddie’s-No-Big-Deal, the moody, rather far-out Approaching Storm, …this group performs as a unit. Ensemble is key to all music, and this group sounds like it has it all together.”
– Clark Groome, Chestnut Hill Local
“Although I’ve listen a dozen of LPs classical masterpiece in my audiophile life. Lois V. Vierk: Words Fail Me is one of the best classical albums of the last couple of years that I have ever heard. From the moment I heard it I was interested in this. This CD covers a wide range of picks that offer a journey of styles and times. The talent of the player is evident because they make the difficult sound fairly easy. My expectations were exceeded by the sound. Of course, the quality is nothing short of what you would imagine – fantastic!”
– Hellen Appling, Scatrecords.com
Corporate & Philanthropic Events, Anniversary Parties, Concerts, Etc.
I can’t thank you and your ensemble enough. You truly made our event on Saturday a super day, and one we will remember for a long time. The music was first class and I can’t tell you how many compliments I received about your band.
What a wonderful concert you gave us at the Andorra Library! You thrilled us with music. The audience was clearly involved in your performance throughout the evening, smiling, laughing, clapping and foot-tapping. Your song selection, sequence and pacing were excellent. Between songs, you reached us in a personal way by engaging us in rich conversations about music, history, and genealogy. Afterwards many told me what I had already discovered: they had an unforgettable evening.
I’ve always believed the music makes the party and Saturday reinforced that for me! Your band was perfect – – you knew what to play, when to play it, and for how long. Thank you for making my party such a success. Please don’t get too famous, because we have lots more parties that need your music!
Dear Ken, Phyllis & Dan,
Thank you from all of us on the Marjorie Kopeland Cultural Series Committee. It was a wonderful way to end our 2005 Series for the summer. It was indeed a sampler of music from many countries. Your presentation of many instruments; your ability to give us some knowledge about the music in an informal way; your professional way of giving each the opportunity to show your abilities, was appreciated and well received. The Marjorie Kopeland Series audience want to say “Thank You,” too. We hope to see you again.
Thanks so much for another great event. You guys are wonderful. Everyone loved you!
Allison (Event Planner)
You are a gift! It is an inspiration to watch you in action as you help music to be made with enthusiasm, wisdom and gentle, but firm, leadership. Your guidance made our recording session smooth and easy, and, I have every confidence, fruitful. I am deeply grateful for the generosity with which you shared your talents.
Bravo for another great performance! We’re heard nothing but rave reviews for the terrific job you all did at our wedding reception. Many, many compliments from all our guests – how great you sounded, how the selections were right on the mark, what a fantastic voice your female vocalist has, and what nice people you all are. It was a real pleasure to work with you – I’ve enjoyed all our conversations and sincerely wish you all the best ahead. You made our reception, and we’re so grateful we found you!
Our very best regards,
Nancy & Mike
Fantastic….you were fantastic! Everyone just loved the music. The true test, however, was having so many people on the dance floor in 98 degree-plus temperatures! Thank you to all. It was great!
Sue & Larry
Our guests are still raving about how wonderful the music was at my and George’s wedding. We were very impressed with how versatile – everything from Motown to Israeli folk to jazz – you all were. You and your band set different moods nicely and inspired us all to dance! Many thanks for the tunes as well as for giving me tips on wedding planning!
What a fabulous job you and your staff did with our 9/28 wedding!! Everyone raved about your talent and selection of music. You made our day memorable. We definitely would use you again and recommend your talents to others.
MaryKate & Chet
A special thank you for superb music at our reception on 11/29. So many guests were delighted, elated, and complimentary – saying the music was GRAND. ‘Til we meet again….
Elaine & Jules
Dear Ken (+Ensemble),
Dan & I cannot thank you enough for the most outstanding job you did on Sunday night! The band was phenomenal and did an expert job at getting the dance floor filled! All of our friends and family commented on how “sparks were flying”! When we were waiting to be introduced, we were lining up with our friends and close family – all looking at each other, saying, “are they really playing Ben Harper? How cool is our band — they’re playing Ben Harper!!” Then it went to, “they’re playing Sublime!” “Mia, where did you find a band that plays Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon AND David Broza?!?” Honestly, it was a smashing success and the most amazing night of both of our lives! Thank you for backing me up (effortlessly, I might add) and totally surprising Dan! Thank you for being so accomodating and generous and just incredibly talented musicians! You made the night!
Dan & Mia
What can I say? You – and the band — were incredible, amazing, wonderful – you really made the party a success. Unfortunately, I had such a hard time getting off the dance floor that perhaps I didn’t “chat” with the guests as much as I should have – but the music was TOO good and we all had a great time! The ceremony music was beautiful and I appreciate your guidance with the selections. You really are the best!
Alice & Ron
Ken, I am just calling to rave….you are just as good as everyone says you are! You are the bee’s knees! You did a great job….the only thing that mattered to me at the wedding was the dancing. The most important thing to our family is the quality of the music, so that everybody just parties down. So my enormous congratulations to you! (Alice)
Yep. They’re still talking about how grand our wedding was!! You and your crew really set the tone for the whole affair. Ceremony and reception tunes were truly exceptional! Thank you, Kenny – you guys were fabulous, soulful, inspiring, raucous, and groovy in just the right measure.
Richard & Mindy
Dear Ken (and “The Ensemble”),
Words cannot express how grateful we are! You guys were absolutely amazing at our wedding. You were classy, yet entertaining, elegant, but energetic! You played the perfect mix of music! More importantly, you played it so well. You are the perfect band for any occasion! The father of the bride is known to be extremely picky about music, especially with bands at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, etc. Well, he still won’t shut up about how great you guys were! I think the sister-of-the-groom said it best when she said, “It was nice to have a band at a wedding that is made up of ‘real musicians.’ Please let us be a reference for you! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
All the best,
Michelle & Scott
You guys rock! Thanks so much for making our wedding so festive. I wish we had more siblings so we could have another wedding. Thanks again!
Ken & Kathy
Dear Ken (and the whole band),
Thank you so much for being such a classy, talented, fun band! And, of course, for playing at our wedding. You made it so much fun, and so special. I can’t think of anything you could’ve done better. I truly mean that. You guys are just incredible. I could go on, but I’m running out of room. So again, thank you!
Deb & Sean
P.S. I will be recommending you to everyone.
Finally! A quiet moment to thank you profusely for making our wedding at the Cope House in Aubury Arboretum so perfect. I have been meaning to write you since we got back from our honeymoon to tell you how much we loved he music you and your colleagues put together that evening. It was absolutely perfect! The image of everyone boogying down together to your band on that fabulous porch is my most vivid memory of that day. Chris and I danced up a storm. And you were so great to make room for our friend’s rendition of “Sittin’ on The Dock of the Bay.” Truly – you were amazing, and I thank you!
All the best,
From the beginning, you knew what we wanted – music was our most important focus and you made it yours! There was a constant party atmosphere and the music was unbelievable! People are still coming to us and expressing how great everyone was. Thank you for all of your hard work! We had an incredible time!
Orit & Matt
You and your associates did a wonderful job at Heather and Jonathan’s wedding. I would say you did more than a “job.” You gave the bride and groom, their families and friends, a perfect evening. We all enjoyed the music, danced more than any of us ever thought we would and watched some real foot-stomping. During the evening, a steady stream of folks came up to us and asked, “Where did you find Ken Ulansey?” Thank you again, and I hope to hear a lot more of your music in the future.
Esther & Allan
Thank you so much for the incredible music on our wedding day. The music was so wonderful and festive. Our guests said that they had never danced so much at a wedding before. Thank you so much again.
Nick & Jess
Thank you for the wonderful music. It was exactly what we wanted. Thank you, too, for being unflappable when it looked like we had to move to the Hilton. I certainly needed steady reassurance at that point! Please convey our thanks to the other members of the group. You all provided an important part of what turned out to be a truly unforgettable wedding!
You guys were awesome! We were so happy with everything. You seemed to hit the mark perfectly. I hope you were enjoying yourself as much as it appeared you were. Any time you need a recommendation, feel free to keep us in mind.
Tom & Michelle
Dear Ken & Band Members,
The band is Hot Hot Hot! WOW! Thank you for the excellent job of conducting the wedding of Meena & Jonathan at Aldie Mansion 5/22. Everyone thought the band was fantastic! – especially my husband Andy & brother-in-law, Jeff, who are both musicians. Of course they took over giving you guys a much needed break after playing so hard for us. You guys (and gals) are the best!
A belated but no less heartfelt thank you for your contribution to a wonderful, fun wedding reception! Dan & I were thrilled with all of it, and of course your music was a key part. Many people have complimented your talents since. Dan particularly loved your solos on the porch. I very much appreciated the process of working with you before the event, and your versatility, flexibility, confidence and relaxed approach. THANK YOU!!
All the best,
We want to let you know how much we appreciate the contribution that you and your colleagues made to our wedding party on June 7 at the Jewish center in Princeton. The ceremony was perfect in tone….Cantor Simon was delighted with the results, as were we….it was both traditional and spiritual. And then, we wanted everyone to dance all night long….and they did! Your musical choices were right on, a great mix of standards, rock and roll, Motown, soul, and funk. I doubt there has been another wedding that featured both “Low Rider” and “Ripple” on the play list. The vocalists were superb and the band blew the roof off. We heard over and over that yours was the best band they ever partied to….and we agree. Your coordination with the synagogue staff, the Cantor, the photographer, and the caterer, was seamless and invisible, making the night worry-free for the two of us. Ken, we thank you so much for your personal care and attention that helped to make our wedding magical and memorable – for us and our guests.
Martha & Harold
We wanted to let you know that we were delighted with the music that you and your ensemble provided for Christie & Mike’s wedding. Despite the multitudes of things that did not go as planned, we received many wonderful compliments at the wedding and then afterward from telephone calls and emails. Some were even generous to say it was the best wedding they ever attended. Here’s a sample of some of the comments on the music: “How did you ever find such a great band?” “The band is fabulous.” “They are really first-class.” “The food and the music were absolutely great.” “We could listen to the girl singing all day and all night.” And on and on. Ken, if anyone is ever sitting on the fence as to whether to hire you, we would be happy to give them a nudge by giving you a mighty fine recommendation. Thanks again for everything!
Chuck & Elaine
Thank you so much for helping make our wedding fabulous. You and your band were wonderful. The ceremony music was classic and elegant. The jazz at the cocktail hour was perfect. And the reception music was even better. Please thank everyone in the band for us – all of our guests had an incredible time – and so did we. Thank you for doing it all so well. It was perfect.
All the Best,
Amy & Joe
Tom and I want to thank you for the fabulous job you and your band did at our wedding. The music for the ceremony was lovely and we had an amazing time dancing at the reception. We received so many compliments on the music all around that we wish we could’ve recorded them for you. We also enjoyed very much working with you before the wedding to make arrangements and pick music. In the midst of many others making demand on us, you were flexible and accommodating, which we greatly appreciated. If anyone needs a reference you can feel free to give them our names for a ringing endorsement. We hope we will see (and hear) you again soon in the future. Thank you again!
Illana & Tom
Thanks so much to you and the members of your ensemble for the wonderful playing and coordinating at our wedding, and especially to you for your assistance in the weeks leading up to our ceremony. Your suggestions for ceremony music were just what I wanted; your version of The Swan was beautiful, and your colleague’s original composition played prior to that was exactly what I had in mind. I received numerous compliments on your ensemble’s performance. It looked as if the guests were dancing for most of the evening.
P.S. Even my mother loved it – the first time she’s enjoyed the music at a wedding reception!!
Thank you for your fabulous music at our reception. Please thank everyone in the band too! It was exactly what I wanted, and I will (and have) recommend you to lots of people, because you are not only excellent but you listened to what I wanted! (And were pleasant to work with!) I knew the second I walked into the club and heard you that it was going to be great. Moreover, all of my musician friends (some of them very picky indeed) went on and on about how much they enjoyed your group. I do hope you get some other gigs out of our friends. I have a feeling you will. I will certainly use your group for any parties I throw. Again, Ken, thanks so much!
Dear Ken, etc.,
We wanted to thank you for everything you did for our wedding: pre-wedding consultations, making nice to my mother, being flexible about musical selections, schedules and phantom contra-dancing bands, and especially for providing absolutely wonderful music and atmosphere. The wedding, on the whole, was as much as we’d hoped for – due, in (large) part, to you guys!
You have our sincerest thanks & appreciation,
Nancy & Mike
Your gang was absolutely fabulous at my wedding. We sang, we danced, we had the time of our lives. I can’t thank you enough for your time, talent and consideration. We’ll recommend you highly!
Bar & Bat Mitzvahs
We knew after our daughter’s affair that we would never have to shop for another band again. You were great then. But this time – wow! The band was the pulse of the best party we’ve ever been to. For us, as you know, it was far more than a party. It was a celebration of our son, and it exceeded our highest expectations. Everyone that was involved contributed in some way. You and the band contributed in a big way. Everything you did was great. Phyllis was perfect. The drummer was delightful. The band was hot. The band was spectacular. The band was the best band we’ve ever heard.
Neal & Diane
Thank you for making Joanna’s Bat Mitzvah so joyful. After attending many affairs with mediocre, loud music, I was so happy to listen to musicians. With music alone, you have cultivated a group of 13-year-olds who are your fans! We couldn’t be happier.
Thank you so much!
Ilene & Coleman
Thank you so very much for an evening of exceptional music at Jan’s Bar Mitzvah. I am particularly grateful that you knew just what to do to get the kids up and involved. Thank you for listening so well to our vision of what we wanted and for realizing it so beautifully.
Jean & David
Thank you so much! You were perfect and wonderful – you added to the joy of Ariel’s Bar Mitzvah, and we’ll always think of fun and good music when we think of you at the Bar Mitzvah.
Thank you for helping to make Susan’s Bat Mitzvah celebration so special. Your band was wonderful! Your guidance with candle lighting, speech, etc., was so helpful. Your selection of songs was great. We appreciate your talent and the talent of your group! David’s party is five years from now. See you there!
Ellen, Howie, Susan & David
Thanks for helping to make Brian’s Bar Mitzvah party such an enjoyable evening. We received many compliments on your band, all of them well deserved. Compared to what has become a “typical” DJ-type party, this was much warmer and more fun. Jeff and I were especially pleased with the entertaining music during dinner, as you strolled among the tables with your “talking” sax. And then there was that tuba…!
You were all amazing!!!! We got so many raves about the music I lost count!!!! You also did a great job with the Israeli dancing. Thank you so much for making Hillary’s party the event of a lifetime.