I (Chuck Braman) am the drummer in and the bandleader of all the bands that you see on this site. I'm the person who gives advice and consultations to my customers and creates and signs their contracts. I also created and designed this website and all of its content, including the videos, which I edited, and the sound, which I recorded and mixed. I‘m extremely friendly and reasonable and like answering questions, so if you have any, please feel free to call me anytime at 212-989-5281.
No, I am a drummer-bandleader who leads several different jazz trios, quartets and quintets in featuring a variety of lead instrumentalists, including vocalists, saxophonists, pianists, guitarists, and vibraphonists, and who works with both professional event planners and individuals. If you are an event planner, I offer the advantage of one-stop shopping whenever you need a world-class New York City jazz band. If you are an individual, I offer the advantage of saving you the cost of dealing with middlemen, avoiding having to interact with salespeople and marketers, and having the ability to plan your event by working directly with the bandleader himself.
I’m a bandleader who leads real working New York jazz groups comprised of some of the most highly regarded jazz musicians in the world. Agents are essentially salespeople who at best have an indirect knowledge of what they are selling. I deeply understand the music I play, the musicians I play with, and the professional and logistical considerations of a live performance. I can help you not only by directly answering your questions but also by sharing insights gained from countless past experiences, not to mention sparing you the cost of a third-party commission.
The national directories are generic databases open to anyone. The top ranking bands are largely dominated by the lowest bidders, who tend to generate repeated commissions for the site owners, which process tends to drive away the “best.” I'm a jazz bandleader with nearly 30 years of experience in New York City. My bands are working ensembles that have developed over many years, each with their own unique instrumentations, personnel, and styles. My sidemen are truly among the top jazz musicians in the world, the same musicians who regularly perform in New York City's top jazz clubs, like The Blue Note, The Village Vanguard, Smalls, and Jazz At Lincoln Center. I provide the highest level of expertise that you will find online and the best value.
I ask my sidemen to arrive in time to be set up 1/2 an hour in advance of the start of your event, which means that they will arrive at the venue about an hour in advance. I will generally arrive about 2 hours in advance.
Black suits, shirts and ties unless requested otherwise.
There is no charge for travel for events in or near Manhattan. For events outside of the city, we charge per hour of additional time for travel.
Because I lead many bands rather than just one, you can think of my site as “one-stop shopping” whenever you need a jazz group. You will be able to do your job as an assistant more effectively and make your boss’s decision much easier by simply directing him or her here. All of my bands feature New York‘s top jazz musicians, and with our professionally-produced videos, choosing one becomes a simple matter of your boss’s personal preference. Because of the consistent level of quality, this site provides a better and easier alternative than trying to pick one band from this site and combing through the national directories, which are dominated by semi-professional wedding bands, to try to find others.
There are several considerations that can influence your choice of a band. If your budget is limited, you may want to choose a trio rather than a quartet or quintet. If you want purely background music, and you have a small space, you may want to avoid bands with saxophone or trumpet, which tend to be louder than bands that don’t feature those instruments, and you may also want to avoid vocalists, who tend to attract attention rather than blending in as part of the ambiance of the room. If the venue has an acoustic piano, you’ll probably want to consider using a group with a pianist; if not, you might consider a group that features a guitarist or vibraphonist as the chording instrument. At the end of the day, of course, it all comes down to personal preference.
Yes, I'd be happy to help you to find the right size group and instrumentation for your event, taking into account volume-level desired, if an in-tune piano is available at the venue, the amount of space available, your personal preferences, and your budget. Having performed on thousands of occasions over the course of three decades at every kind of venue imaginable, I can guide your choices by giving you expert advice tailored to your particular needs and circumstances.
All of my trios feature a lead instrument along with acoustic upright bass and drums (I am the drummer). If there is an acoustic grand piano at the venue, I would recommend a piano trio. If not, I would recommend a trio with vibraphone or guitar as the lead instrument. A keyboard in place of a piano is also an option. If space is an issue, a trio with guitar as the lead instrument takes up the least amount of space.
The quality that distinguishes us from other music services is the fact that all of our groups are real working New York jazz groups comprised of world-class musicians, and that you can see and hear the actual musicians we offer in our videos. With that said, I’ve been a bandleader in New York for nearly thirty years and so can assemble almost any group of any instrumentation you can imagine, including many not on the site. It is also quite possible to combine musicians from the various groups you see in the videos into other, different instrumental combinations. If you want a particular instrumentation that you don’t see on the site just ask. As you can see from our videos, I never assemble bands that are less than great. And if for some reason you are looking for a style of jazz that I don't provide, such as gypsy jazz or Dixieland, I'm happy to recommend other trusted bandleaders or bands.
Yes, we have comprehensive song lists available upon request for whichever jazz band, instrumentalist or vocalist that you choose.
Happily, if it is appropriate for our genre (the style and instrumentation of the band). Generally speaking, we already know and/or have music available for all of the Great American Songbook, Brazilian bossa nova, and jazz standards. For more esoteric requests, so long as there is sheet music available for it, yes. If we don't know it, don't have it, and the sheet music is not otherwise available, we can create a chart from the original recording for an additional fee.
Yes, I perform weekly at restaurant and concert venues throughout Manhattan and I always enjoy meeting fans and clients.
However, given that I lead many different jazz bands, on any given week you would be unlikely to be able to hear the particular band that you found on my website that you are interested in. In addition, because my groups are real working New York jazz bands, rather than club date, wedding or pickup bands, the repertoire and style of jazz that we typically perform at restaurants, concerts and nightclubs tends to be less traditional than the style of jazz we perform for private parties, and so not necessarily representative of the music we would play at your party.
Happily, the videos you'll find on our site features our bands performing with the exact musicians and in the exact style that we would perform for your party, and so is similar to hearing us perform live, only without having to leave your home, and with the ability to see and hear many bands very easily and in a very short period of time.
I offer something much better than an audio recording: full-length videos of each of my bands, so that you can see and hear the group and learn everything there is to know about our musicians and music. You will find them all on our website.
If you require loud dance music such as hip-hop, R&B, rock or Motown, the best alternative is to hire a DJ for the latter part of the evening and use one of our jazz trios or quartets for the cocktail hour and/or dinner music. Alternatively, if you're looking for upbeat jazz for swing dancing later in the evening, I would recommend simply adding a saxophone and/or trumpet and/or a jazz vocalist to the jazz trio or quartet that performs for the cocktail hour.
Jazz is essentially acoustic music, so ideal clarity and sound levels are produced when we only amplify the naturally quieter instruments (acoustic bass, guitar, vocal, etc.) up to the natural volume level of the naturally louder instruments (drums, saxophone, etc.). This works ideally in the vast majority of environments in which we play, such as concert venues, nightclubs, weddings, private parties, fundraisers and corporate events where background music is requested. In circumstances where more volume is required, most large venues have in-house sound systems together with their own sound crews.
You needn’t. More often than not, my jazz groups are hired to serve as background music for conversation, and we are expert at fulfilling that function. Because I am a bandleader in addition to being a drummer, I’m extremely conscientious when it comes to keeping the volume level of my playing at an appropriate level; in fact, typically, I’m able to play more softy than an acoustic piano. And as a bandleader, I’m used to directing my sidemen to keep their total sound levels below the level of the surrounding conversation. In addition, I’m very easy to work with; if for any reason you think we may be too loud, just let me know and we will adjust accordingly.
While there is no one style of music that pleases everyone equally, jazz is the American popular music that has the widest appeal to all demographics and age groups. In addition, jazz is the only American popular music that can function equally well as both background music and listening music. Jazz’s elegance, flexibility, and wide appeal is unique, and when combined with the fact that you will be presenting some of the greatest musicians in the world, your guests will love it!
While it is exceedingly rare that I or one of my sidemen ever need to cancel an event, there are unforeseen circumstances that could arise:
Should one of these two circumstances require a cancellation on our end, I‘ll offer you a full refund of your deposit or a substitution for the musician in question, your choice.
Because my sidemen and I pride ourselves on our integrity, we count on the same level of integrity from you. The purpose of your deposit is to allow me to request my sidemen to turn down counteroffers for your date, including more lucrative counteroffers when they arise. Therefore, refunds of deposits due to cancellations by clients are offered at my discretion in the context of unusual or unforeseen circumstances. Here are three past instances where I've volunteered a refund of the deposit to the client: