Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to an extremely talented musician-drummer-bandleader, who also has a background in jazz as an editor, critic, speaker, teacher, theorist, and author. WOW.
We first worked together at a wedding last June where he and a few of his fellow musicians played for the cocktail hour at a wedding I planned/designed. They were amazing - not only in terms of their music, but also in the way they presented themselves - such a pleasure to work with during the planning process, friendly as could be in person, and flawless in their musical execution. If you're looking for a jazz band for your wedding or other event, look no further.
Meet Chuck Braman of New York City Jazz Events...
Q. When did you form New York Jazz Events and what led you to start?
A. New York Jazz Events was formed in 2011 based on what I perceived as a unique need of the marketplace that I was in a good position to provide: a sort of one-stop shopping for event planners and brides, to be able to locate real, quality New York City jazz bands that are also experienced at performing for private events at a high professional level.
Q. What types of events do you typically perform at?
A. We typically perform at corporate events, weddings, private parties, concerts, and in restaurants and night clubs around New York City.
Q. What makes you different than a typical wedding band?
A. A wedding band by definition needs to be many things to many people, whereas I provide a niche service to a niche market. We are real, working New York City jazz musicians who happen to play weddings, rather than wedding musicians who happen to play jazz. We provide a very high level of sophistication and elegance which fits certain weddings very well, and our music can be combined with the music of a DJ for those clients who need all the stylistic bases covered.
Q. How many bands make up New York Jazz Events? How does someone decide between them?
A. I have several different groups, either built around a particular lead instrument, such as piano, vibraphone, guitar, or saxophone, or around particular individuals, such as the vocalists I work with. Each of these groups has worked together on a regular basis for many years. In addition to these, I’m able to mix and match my sidemen into additional groups if the client is seeking a different instrumentation other than what we already offer.
To decide between them, my website has videos of each of the groups that are categorized according to instrumentation and size, so our clients can both see and hear the various options. I’m also quite happy to help guide clients to a decision based on their preferences and my knowledge and experience.
Q. What areas do you service? Just New York?
A. One client who was a guest at a wedding in New York liked us enough to to fly the entire band out for his own wedding in Los Angeles! In general, though, we perform within the Tri-State area.
Q. What is your favorite part of the job?
A. Playing! I'm a musician first and foremost, so my passion for this field derives from the music that we create. That said, however, it's a wonderful feeling when our clients tell us how much they loved our music, how many positive comments they received from their guests, and that we made a special occasion even more memorable.
Q. What tips/advice would you give to couples who are considering a jazz band for their wedding?
A. Do it! We live in an age of recorded music, but there is nothing that can substitute for the experience of seeing great artists creating great music before your eyes, which is exactly what jazz musicians do. In addition, live jazz is synonymous with elegance and sophistication and the greatest jazz musicians in the world are concentrated in New York City. The trick is to find the subset of those who care about and can fulfill the special needs of a wedding or private event. Once you’ve located a band you like and can trust, you need to decide whether to use them for the entire event, or combine them with a DJ. Either scenario can work very well depending on your preferences.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. I can honestly say you are one of the nicest and most professional event planners I’ve ever worked with. Thanks a lot for the opportunity to present my music to your readers, I hope we have the opportunity to work together many more times!
Awww, shucks! Well, I think you guys are pretty great too and I know that we'll get to work together again - I wouldn't have it any other way!
To see more of what New York Jazz Events has to offer and to book them for your event, check out their site or call 212-989-5281. Don't forget to like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and watch them on YouTube too!
If you missed our previous vendor interviews, you check them out here and here.