Archive for the ‘Jazz and Swing in London’ Category

What is Gypsy Jazz?

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Hi and welcome to the new blog on Gypsy Jazz !  I’ve kindly been asked by the Morris Agency to write some lines about this vibrant and increasingly popular music style.

First off, apart from having my own gypsy jazz trio, I’ve been involved in playing this style for seventeen years and working as a professional guitarist for over twenty.

With gigs, there’s no end to the variety of events that gypsy jazz can cater for.

Over the years, we’ve played at jazz festivals, arts centres, theatres, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, gypsy music festivals, wakes, corporate functions, private parties, boat launches, embassies, museums, plus the odd bit of TV and radio. All thanks to the timeless popularity of the music.

So now a brief history for anyone who has just discovered gypsy jazz!

The origins can be linked to one man, a Belgian gypsy guitarist called Django Reinhardt (1910 – 1953).

Discovering jazz as a young man, he successfully fused his awesome ethnic playing style with the early American jazz that was finding its way into Europe. In so doing, he created a genre, re-defined plectrum style guitar, wrote enduring melodies and generally become a total legend on every level.

Oh! And he had a disability in the fact that his fretting hand was badly burnt in a fire and he could only fully use his index and middle fingers.

When his recordings started reaching the rest of the world, people were completely blown away. He became a world-wide phenomenon.

Many Gypsies from Europe play this style; Django ignited this quirky branch of jazz and for some, it has become part of their culture, adding a new dimension to their already amazing musical heritage.

I consider myself lucky and honoured, having learnt to play gypsy jazz from some of the greatest exponents on the planet since Django, including Bireli Lagrene, Stochelo Rosenberg and Lulu Reinhardt. Whether on a gig or a jam, I’ve soaked up every second of playing time with these remarkable musicians.

In the my own gypsy jazz trio, TMA025, we’ve kept the format nice and simple. Two acoustic guitars and a double-bass.

Because gypsy jazz is so adaptable we can incorporate elements of swing jazz, Latin and even a little funk into the tunes.

The music has an endearing quality of being both ‘street’ and sophisticated in its sound. Very European and extremely infectious.

Okay, that’s it for now, thanks for reading!

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WHAT IS THE COST OF A PARTY BAND FOR HIRE

Monday, April 12th, 2010

cost of hiring a band uk

Many people ask me this question, and the answer, I am afraid to say, always varies.

There are so many variables such as band size, band location, how long they have been performing in the industry and their popularity. At The Morris Agency we try to take these things into account when finding you an act, but to allow yourself £1200 – £1500 should find yourself a great few options (subject to availabilty, obviously)

click here to see some acts that fall into this catagory

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Corporate Events, Party Hairstyles and Prepping for the 100 Club By Kai Hoffman

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Wow what a week!  I’m just in the midst of preparation for my next gig
with Kai’s Cats at Ronnie Scott’s this Thursday, and for my next
performance with the Ray Gelato Giants at the 100 Club on Saturday…
and, after tomorrow night, will have sung 11 different performances in
6 days, worn, oooh something approaching 10 different dresses from
Vivien of Holloway, done a photoshoot for an upcoming project with
Ray, and… that’s before I even get to Thursday. Goodness. What a
week!! When does a girl find time to get her hair done? Hmmm….  After
much searching, I am sooo grateful to have found the best vintage
hairdresser in the world – as I’ve found with the dress-styles of the
40s and 50s, the hairstyles are also so incredibly feminine and
gorgeous… and Nina’s Hair Parlour in Alfie’s Antique Market
(Marylebone) does it all.  But… sadly no time for that this week!

As with all of my performances, both for private events – like
parties, weddings, corporate dinners, etc. – and for my public gigs, I
always, always like to be well-prepared. And well turned-out, of
course! But back to the music.. I always love to hear what the client
wants in advance – mellow background jazz, Frank Sinatra tunes,
up-tempo, swingin’ retro dance numbers,  the Beatles, Louis Prima, Cab
Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Carole King, Marvin Gaye, the Mamas and the
Papas, Nina Simone…or a combination of all of them… ! As a musician,
it’s great to fun to be flexible – and it’s so much more fun when you
know you’re singing exactly what the client wants! I also love to
learn new songs – it’s all part of the job.

Anyway… better get back to my Keely Smith and Louis Prima tunes for
the 100 Club… ”


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www.kaihoffman.co.uk

www.myspace.com/kaihoffman

www.kaiscats.com

www.myspace.com/kaiscats

+44(0)7793611231

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