‘Is jazz suitable for corporate events?’

Is jazz suitable for corporate events?

Some of our clients have asked me if jazz is right for a corporate event. In a word – yes! We have many corporate bookers who keep coming back for more. 

This year Savills have hired the Sara Oschlag Trio three times. The first occasion was a cocktail party at their London HQ. The get-together was chiefly about networking, and a small but classy jazz combo in the corner was just the right touch to show some sophistication without stealing focus. As the guests chatted and sipped cocktails, the band played a mixture of relaxing swing and bossa nova tunes. They never play too loud to talk over, and neither do they disappear into the wallpaper. Amy Brown, company PA, had this glowing endorsement, “Sara’s trio were fab! They set the atmosphere just right. I’ll be recommending them for other Savills events. Thanks!” As good as her word, she then went ahead and recommended the band to a colleague for another event.

Savills’ second event was a retirement party for a departing executive at the Cafe Royal on Regent Street in London. Having received Amy Brown’s glowing report, Alison Mennecier, Divisional Business Manager for Savills, booked the same trio. The spec was slightly different – it was a celebration. Accordingly, the band were able to play a little more upbeat after the speeches were made. We’re talking an almost infinitesimal switch from low-key to just above the hubbub. Still not stealing focus, but making people smile and tap their toes. The message here is classy and fun. Alison sent this note after the event, “The Jazz Agency and The Sara Oschlag Trio were professional, courteous and easy to deal with. Their live jazz music provided the perfect backdrop for a convivial evening.”

The third occasion was an activity day in a Savills-owned shopping mall, and not so relevant here as it was laid on for the public. However the band did an outstanding job in this context too, playing very popular songs from Frank Sinatra and being the main focus point. The thing to take from this is that professional jazz bands can be very versatile and adapt as required to a variety of situations. 

Another new corporate relationship we’ve courted this year is Liberty London. They’ve hired Duncan Hemstock’s trio twice this year, with more in the pipeline. Duncan’s lively swing repertoire was just the ticket for the private shopping events on the shop floor. Marketing & Events manager Maria Medvedeva told us, “Thank you! It went amazingly well – Duncan’s trio were excellent!” Unsurprisingly the band was asked back for a similar event and are currently discussing two more in the autumn. 

King & Wood Mallesons hired the Chris Coull Quartet for their rooftop summer party, another networking event. This party had a Mad Men theme and they found the right band for the job. The Mad Men series was set in the 1950s, 60s & 70s, and the band had music from each of these decades under their fingertips. Dressed in dapper suits and ties, the band gave off just the right vibe to help the event go swimmingly. Events manager Suzanne Evans said, “Wow! The guys made the night. Just perfect!” We are in discussions with them currently about booking the band for more events.

William & Sons needed a band for their summer party in Mayfair, and came to us after seeing Duncan’s band at Liberty London (see above). They had a slightly different notion – they wanted the sound to be a little more Parisian, but still of the 1920s & 30s era. We had the Jonny Hepbir Trio ready for just such a job, and they were duly dispatched to take care of the situation. Brand marketing executive Delphine Baz was very impressed, and has hired the band many more times since then. In a recent email she called us part of the William & Son family and had this to say, “Dan, it is always a pleasure to have you performing at our events. It creates such a lovely atmosphere. Thank you for everything and we’ll definitely see you soon.” We have two more bookings with them this year.

Neville McCarthy recently employed Ianthe Hylton as their brands manager. Ianthe previously worked at William & Son and had worked with us there. After she moved on to Neville McCarthy she found herself in charge of an event at Maison Assouline in Piccadilly. The event was a small party for customers of Oris, the Swiss watch company. We supplied Ultraswing for this job, and there’s a brief video of the evening over on our Facebook page here. Ianthe has been in touch to say there are more jobs in the pipeline.

Bang & Olufsen are a Danish firm. Their UK HQ is in Hanover Square. They had an event to show off their new top-of-the-range audio equipment during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. They had live streams and DVDs of famous jazz artists playing in store to an audience of audiophiles. They needed a cherry on the cake, and hired Sara Oschlag’s trio to provide high-quality live jazz in-store. This was a great bit of marketing, as Sara is Danish and comes from Copenhagen. This was particularly satisfying to us – they recognised the high level of musicianship and we take it as a great compliment to be hired by such a prestigious company in a similar field to ours. Client relationship manager Michelle Basnett had high praise: “That was amazing. Our clients are a discerning bunch and they all wanted to know where we found you. Hats off!

As I mentioned, these are some of our new corporate relationships. We have many more older associations with companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mercedes Benz, Bentley, Middle Temple, Grey’s Inn to name a few off the top of my head. So, yes, jazz can work with corporate events, if you make sure you’re hiring professionals. That’s why we only offer high-calibre acts at The Jazz Agency. We want our reputation to represent us, and as it keeps growing we’re feeling very positive that more and more big corporate names will turn to us when they require an experienced jazz band. And once they’ve tried it, they tend to come back for more.