“Vintage Fashion, Ronnie Scott’s and Walking Down the Aisle.. Kai Hoffman

I’ve been swinging and jiving and jazzing here in London for almost ten years – and the scene is amazing!  Having decided to make the trip from the USA across the pond (first to Germany and then to London, because of lurrrrve, of course!) – I feel incredibly lucky to be part of such a brilliant music scene. London has absolutely everything in terms of music genres, there’s something AMAZIng to go and listen to, every single night of the week – and the retro scene is HUGE!! I haven’t always been a vintage diva, I have to say – although I’ve always, always loved dressing up –  but the combination of swing jazz, gorgeous fifties dresses and the whole idea of glamour – that elusive and enticing quality —- love it, love it, love it!!!! The last couple years, especially, I’ve teamed up with the Queen of the Vintage Empire herself, Vivien of Holloway, and haven’t looked back – her dresses, all the different styles, halternecks, circle skirts, pencil dresses, the best wide-legged comfy trousers I’ve EVER found – why would a curvy lady want to wear anything else? You put on one of her dresses and it’s like being transported back to Hollywood circa 1953. Love it!! Anyway… got a little excited there! Back to jazz……..

This April, my band Kai’s Cats is going to be playing our sixteenth month of ‘Zoots & Toots’ residency at Ronnie Scott’s Upstairs Bar –  (myspace.com/zootstootsflutes)!’. What an amazing time it’s been! We’ve had all sorts of themes – Hawaiian, Las Vegas, Under  the Sea, etc.etc.–, we’ve had candy girls, top DJs, gorgeous models wearing Vivien of Holloway’s fabulously dresses, jive classes …– and loads and loads of fun.  We even got to put on an awesome, New York-themed New Year’s Eve party at the club – and I  got invited to come downstairs and sing a couple of numbers with the King of Swing himself, Ray Gelato!  Since then, I’ve sung with Ray over at the 100 Club , and we’re even planning a show together! Woohooooooooo!!

Of course, along with Zoots & Toots, I’ve had loads of other amazing musical moments in the last few years – I absolutely love singing for weddings, and have had so many wonderful, wonderful days! Performing for weddings can be incredibly emotional – especially when I get to sing the bride down the aisle.  For a traditional wedding, often it’s a classical soprano who gets to sing for one of the most important events in a person’s life and I’m always thrilled when I’m asked to sing as a jazzy alternative!!! Aside from the pressure of performing at your absolute best – I absolutely love singing that first walk-down-the-aisle song – I’ve almost cried a few times, it’s such a beautiful moment.  I’ve sung so many gorgeous, gorgeous songs, especially ballads, for walking down the aisle, Etta James’ At Last, the First Time Ever I Saw Your Face… It Had to Be You.. I can feel an entirely separate blog coming on about brilliant wedding songs!! So I’ll stop there for the moment…  I love singing that first dance song in the evening too. More on weddings soon…. ”

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