Celebrity Jazz Bookings
Whilst adding bands to the site I’ve noticed that a high proportion of our musicians have been hired by celebrities. I confess, celebrity culture isn’t high on the list of things I’m interested in, but in this instance I was genuinely interested to see which celebrities like jazz. There are a few obvious ones, for example Ken Clarke is a well-known aficionado, so I wasn’t completely surprised when he showed up at The Lobster Pot when I was playing there with the Sara Oschlag Trio. On the other hand, who’d have guessed that former Liverpool and England midfield enforcer Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock would hire the Jonny Hepbir Quartet for his wedding last year? Well, he did, and they went down a storm. Here are a few more brushes with fame our artists have enjoyed:
Sir Paul McCartney hired The Jonny Hepbir Quartet for his Christmas party in 2012 – he sat right in front of the band and led the applause. He joined the band for a number on a tiny harmonica that he got from a Christmas cracker, telling the band “Hey, you guys are good – really good!”
Prince Charles had The Stacey Dawson Trio perform during an event at Buckingham Palace – I don’t believe he joined in.
Jonny Hepbir crops up again having been engaged to play at Paul Merton’s wedding. Also Mark Williams from The Fast Show has hired Jonny’s trio twice.
It’s Jonny again, hired to play at Sir Terrence Conran’s 80th a couple of years ago, which resulted in a lovely testimonial from Sir Terrence’s Mrs: “Jonny, you and your band were brilliant, couldn’t have been better! Such a good feeling throughout your sets, thank you for making such an excellent contribution to the great enjoyment of the evening. Terence really, really loved it.” – Lady Victoria Conran, 2012
Personally, I regularly play at the private members club above The Ivy Restaurant, called The Club at The Ivy. I can’t say that the celebs in there have specifically hired us, but I’ll just mention a few that have come over to us to say a kind word or two: I’m mostly not one for getting star-struck, but Arnold Schwarzenegger striding up to us to say he liked our band did impress me. He had a huge cigar and nobody had the nerve to tell him about the smoking rules; Tom Hanks sat close to us and seemed to be enjoying the music, nodding along and applauding; Steven Fry always has a few nice comments when he comes in; Kate Moss sometimes joins in on the piano. This list could get very long, so I’ll curtail it here.
The Ivy has a sister restaurant in Mayfair called Restaurant 34 – it’s another of my regular gigs. Here are a few faces with some form who have graced that gig:
Bill Clinton, an amateur jazz sax player himself, was enjoying the jazz at Restaurant 34 when I was there with The Stacey Dawson Trio last year. He only needed 6 body guards; Similarly, the cast and crew of Prometheus showed up at Restaurant 34 after the UK premier, and Michael Fassbender sang a song with the band; Bernie Eccleston is a regular here too. I could go on, but it’s getting a bit silly now.
This collection of stories shouldn’t lead you to believe we are expensive and exclusive – read this article about how we keep our costs down – I think it does illustrate that our jazz musicians are in the higher bracket of professionalism, and can be trusted to be punctual, well-dressed and polite. If you need a reliable, presentable, talented jazz band for your event, use the professionals – use The Jazz Agency.