County Music

All that Jazz...and Rock, Blues and Country musicians for hire


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Throwing a party? These local talents will get your guests on their feet.

 

 

When it comes to throwing a memorable party, you’ve just got to have a rocking band. Perhaps that’s why the Rolling Stones were hired to play at Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday bash. When the guest list is a Who’s Who of Hollywood and Washington elite and Martin Scorsese is your videographer (he filmed the evening’s events), you just don’t mess around. Want to make a similar splash without shelling out millions or getting upstaged by a giant pair of lips? Then consider some of Westchester’s talented local acts.

 

Whether you’re looking for a big band to play your wedding, cool jazz for a cocktail party, or spicy Cajun Zydeco for your company barbecue, you can find it right here in 914. We’ve found the bands and collected the names, contacts, and pricing information. So get ready to rock—and samba, waltz, and tango. Your invitation just got a little hotter.

 

 

Bock & Blu Music

White Plains

(914) 682-7078

www.bockandblu.com

 

Who They Are: Is it a band? Is it a company? Actually, it’s both. Founded nearly 20 years ago by a group of seasoned musicians, Bock & Blu is a 10-piece band (though it will work with a minimum of seven) lead by New Rochelle native Gary Blu (who also sings, plays guitar, flute, and sax, and has worked closely with Steely Dan) and featuring nine other killer musicians who have toured, recorded, and performed with Barbara Streisand, Carly Simon, Bela Fleck, and Michael Jackson.

 

What They Do: Bock & Blu’s specialty is creating music for private functions—without sounding like a “wedding band.” There’s nothing generic about these guys (and gal—Barbara Bock, wife of Gary Blu).

 

How It Works: When it comes to music for private functions, Bock & Blu is the equivalent of a fine custom-tailored suit: there’s no one-size-fits-all playlist here. A Bock & Blu rep (one of the band members) will meet with you several weeks before your event to help you sort through a huge repertoire of songs and styles.

 

Fees:  $4,000 to $8,000, depending on the number of musicians, the location/distance, and the duration of the event. A seven-piece band for a four-hour event typically costs $4,500.

 

 

Gigmasters.com, Inc.

73 Redding Rd, Ste 7

Redding, CT

866-342-9794

www.gigmasters.com

 

Who They Are: Gigmasters.com, an e-commerce site that began in White Plains and now is headquartered in Redding, Connecticut, bills itself as “The Internet’s preeminent entertainment booking agency.” Founded in 1997 by Kevin H. Kinyon, Michael Caldwell, and Alfred Freund, this site/search engine is an information-packed, easy-to-navigate, one-stop shop, offering more than 20,000 entertainment choices. “Member” musicians pay a fee to be listed and booked by Gigmasters. To find out which bands are Westchester-based, use the search engine.

 

What They Do: “We do literally everything except hand you the contract and stand there while you sign it,” Kinyon says. He’s not being facetious. Simply log onto the site and start searching. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices somewhat, you’ll be asked to submit an event request form. Gigmasters will take it from there. “The site is really an online organizer. We contact the bands on your behalf, provide performance demos, process deposits, send out reminders, furnish contact info and directions for the musicians.”

 

How It Works: Even the most Internet-challenged can book a band online in a flash with Gigmasters. You can search the site for music and entertainment by type (everything from a classical harpist to a 20-piece orchestra to a magician or an Elvis impersonator), read feedback and ratings on bands you’re considering from others who’ve booked them, watch and listen to demos, and make secure deposits.

 

Fees: Gigmasters charges a five-
percent booking fee. This can be paid directly by the buyer to Gigmasters, though some musicians waive the fee.

 

 

Hal Prince Music and

Entertainment/The Jay Prince Band

111 Bowman Ave

Rye Brook

(914) 937-4700

www.halprince.com

 

Who They Are: This family-owned and -operated, full-service music and entertainment booking agency, founded by orchestra leader Hal Prince and his wife, singer Anabel Prince, has been serving Westchester and the tri-state area for 45 years. Operated since 1990 by brother and sister Jill and Jay Prince, who live with their families in South Salem, this company is regarded by many as a Westchester mainstay. “We have a passion for it,” says Jill Prince.

 

What They Do: The agency books top-quality music and entertainment for all types of events. “Our musicians are not nine-to-fivers who put on a tuxedo to play on the weekends,” says Jill. Indeed, many of Hal Prince’s musicians have toured and recorded with major acts, including Michael McDonald, Chicago, and Gloria Estefan. The Rye Brook-based agency, which also has a Manhattan office, can “get just about anyone,” says Prince, but also works with and represents its own stable of regional professional musicians, including the Jay Prince Band (a 10- to 14-piece variety band with a full horn section led by Jay Prince); Nitesong (an R&B/classic soul band whose leader played sax for Tina Turner for two decades); and the very popular Route 66, led by Dina, who has performed with Meat Loaf and Norah Jones. The company books bands of any size or style, as well as DJs, emcees, and dancers.

 

How it Works: The company books bands and DJs from its own stable of clients as well as virtually any other band or DJ that’s bookable. The company also can combine live music and a DJ. “That’s become a very popular trend,” says Jill. Hal Prince books about 500 events per year.

 

Fees: Prices range from $5,000 to $15,000 and up, depending on the size of the band and the size of the event. DJ packages start at $1,900. Lighting and audiovisual design services are available at an additional charge. The company requires a non-refundable 20-percent deposit. Balance is due three weeks prior to the event.

 

 

Hot Band New York (led by Jim Hynes and Ralph Rolle)

H & R Music, Inc.

4 Faith Walk

Cortlandt Manor

(914) 737-2925

www.hotbandnewyork.com

 

Who They Are: Jim Hynes calls himself “the busiest studio trumpet player in New York.” He also may be the most familiar “unknown” player in America. “People hear me every day,” he says, “and have no idea who I am.” Indeed, Hynes’s trumpet can be heard on many TV theme songs, including the “bump-bump-bump-bah” theme for ABC World News Tonight. Hynes has also played in the orchestra of major Broadway shows, including Cats and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He has performed and recorded with Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, and Tony Bennett, and has toured with Paul Simon for the past six years. Together with Ralph Rolle, a seasoned musician who has been the drummer for Showtime at the Apollo for a decade, he leads Hot Band New York, a high-energy, 14-piece band. This group is a treasure trove of talent that performs R&B, soul, disco, and more. Don’t believe us? Ask the Rolling Stones, with whom trombone player Mike Davis tours, or Paul Simon, who employs not only Hynes but sax player Andy Snitzer too.

 

What They Do: “We provide music for every aspect of a party,” Hynes says. “We can do a string quartet, a brass quartet, a thirty-five-piece orchestra—anything. And we handle the sound, lights, all the logistics.” And when these guys say “orchestra,” they mean “orchestra”—not students from the local music conservatory. “I regularly hire members from the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,” Hynes says. “I just call ’em up.”

 

Fees:  Pricing varies widely depending on the number of musicians and type of ensemble, but expect to pay from $13,000 to $20,000 for music for a four-hour engagement. A 50-percent deposit is due upon contract signing; balance is due day of event. Deposits can be refunded with a reasonable amount of notice.

 

 

Perrone Brothers

Entertainment and Naked Soul (the band)

(914) 237-5214

www.perronebros.com

 

Who They Are: Founded in 2000 by twin brothers Thomas and Anthony Perrone, Perrone Brothers Entertainment provides high-quality music from a variety of musicians, including Thomas and Anthony’s own 10-piece dance band, Naked Soul. Other bands booked by PBE include dance bands like WeGroove and Collage; jazz artists like Jazzolution and the more traditional Joe Giglio Trio; classical instrumentalists and ensembles, including the Elan Ensemble (chamber music); and specialty bands like the Mariachi Boyz.

 

What They Do: The company books acts for all types of private functions, and the brothers perform with their own band. Naked Soul has performed at many notable venues throughout New York City and Westchester, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Harold Pratt Mansion, New York Botanical Garden, Glen Island Harbour Club, and the Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club.

 

Fees: Fees are based on band size and type. The cost of a dance band for a four-hour engagement ranges from $4,000 to $8,000; jazz bands start at $2,500 for a quartet. DJ packages start at $900 and go up to about $4,500 for a “blow-out package” (advanced lighting, plasma TVs, performers, etc.). Cocktail hours and ceremonies are priced per musician and average $300 per hour, depending on the artist.

 

 

John Ragusa/John Ragusa Music

60 Wesley Ave

Port Chester

(212) 706-7227

www.johnragusamusic.com

 

Who they Are: John Ragusa Music was founded in 1991 by John Ragusa, a Port Chester native who’s an expert flutist and multi-instrumentalist. The company has produced and/or provided music for hundreds of events from small private parties to elegant soirées to lavish shindigs at such venues as the Rainbow Room in Manhattan and Westchester’s own Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

 

What They Do: “We provide high-quality musical ensembles and DJs for virtually any type of event, private or public,” Ragusa says. “We can do mainstream music, but we also get very esoteric. I have bands that do Cajun Zydedco New Orleans swamp rock, and bands that do hard-core funk. You name it.” 

 

Fees:  Prices range from $2,500 for a basic jazz trio to $10,000 and up for a big band or large dance band. DJ prices range from $1,500 to $5,000. Ragusa requires a 50-percent deposit upon signing of the contract. Balance is due two weeks prior to the date of your party.

 

 

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