First gigs…

Rosie - Jazz singer based in Southend!

Hello! Rosie here, Decatur’s singer!

One of the things I love about playing with James and Ben, is how rich their experience is of music from a variety of genres. Together we bring to the creative table a LOT of influences and this all adds to the collective melting pot that is our unique sound.

As well as playing gigs, we love going to them! To listen to other musicians is one of life’s great pleasures and I always know it’s been a good’un if I leave full of inspiration.

I very clearly remember experiencing my first gig at the age of 14. My friends and I had saved money/ done extra chores/ borrowed and begged to go and see Busted at Wembley Arena. I know, I know, Busted! Don’t judge me… I remember the electric (and overwhelming oestrogen-y) atmosphere and being completely spellbound by finally seeing my heroes doing their thing live, in the flesh.

I was very lucky to have my local music venue – Chinnerys, in Southend – which at the time would let you in if you were 16 or over! Many a Friday night was spent soaking up the music from the local bands who performed there. I badly wanted to be one of those musicians. I guess you could say I caught the bug!

I asked Ben and James what their first gigs were…

James jazz pianist in LondonJames – “Went to see my favourite band THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, with two friends, both of whom were kind of into them. My obsession with DMB was yet to reach its peak, so I didn’t know all the words/history to the band (there is a deep mythos). I loved the gig and atmosphere, but knew it wasn’t the DMB I’d been listening to (they had a different line-up recent to that gig) – so I felt one stage removed, because it wasn’t the sound that I knew. Great gig, but not a mind-blowing experience.”

ben jazz bassist london

Ben – “I went to see tower of power at Ronnie Scott’s with my dad. I was about 11 when I went which is technically too young to get in so I popped the wheels out on my heelys (those trainers with the wheels in them) which were a craze at this point so I looked a couple inches taller. The gig was great, most of the guys in that band were in the original so have been around the block but were still sounding on top form! It started me on a little bit of a tower of power phase which I’m still yet to get passed!”

 

Watch Decatur Street playing live!

 

Who’s in the band? Part III

Meet James – pianist and Pimms fan

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Our pianist is better than yours. A natural on the piano, James can also toot the trumpet and bang the drums until his (and your) heart’s content. Always ready with a smile and a raunchy riff, James also teaches piano to all ages and abilities by day – keys really are at the core of all he does!

Here’s a little more on James, the man who puts the tinkle into the Trio…

How would your bandmates describe you in 3 words?

Mildly amusing, chilled (I hope!) and sexy.

Favourite thing about performing?

That it’s in the moment, and fresh things happen and you react to each other, and anything you play is new every time.

Best event you’ve ever played at?

I played at the event where the Olympic Torch went through my village. It was quite a few years ago, and was my first decent gig!

Favourite jazz song ever?

Skylark – lovely chords and a great melody.

Favourite jazz musician?

It’s hard to define ‘jazz’ musician, but it would be someone like Tigran Hamasyan maybe. Herbie Hancock if we’re talking more strict jazz.

Favourite thing about being the group?

I really enjoy our takes on rock/not jazz classics.

Favourite memory of being in the group?

We had a rehearsal quite recently where we were writing originals; one of the grooves we came up with was so fun to play!

One interesting fact about yourself:

For some reason, I used to learn lots of useless things, like the longest English and German words, and the longest place name in the world. My mind retains things pretty well!

Best time of year to be in the band and why?

I really don’t know…

What’s your favourite sound? (Musical or not! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!)

There are some really nice sounds on the Star Wars prequels; Obi-Wan gets shot at by Boba Fett (I think) with these weird explosion things that make cool sounds. Also, there was a funny sound on Age of Empires (I think) whenever you clicked on a unit.

Which events are your favourite to play at?

Relaxed pub gigs are great. When I’m relaxed, improvising in new ways comes easier, and Ben and I experiment more and have had some really fun hook-ups at those kinds of places.

4 dream dinner party guests (dead or alive!) and why:

Jesus: the single most influential man ever, and I’m a Christian…

Butch Taylor: he played the piano in the Dave Matthews Band, and I’d love to know what and how he thought about their music and chat about add4 major chords;

Joe Gatto: from a show called the Impractical Jokers (which everyone should watch!), and is a really really funny guy, seems genuine too;

Elon Musk: probably quite intense company and I would feel very inadequate, but I’m kind of obsessed with him, and I think he’s the most valuable human there is at the moment.

Do you enjoy performing any other genres of music?

I love folk music and singer-songwriter stuff, but don’t play it enough sadly!

If jazz music were an animal, which animal would it be?

Probably a hyperactive and slightly annoying dog. Sorry, jazz.

What do you love so much about jazz?

I love that it’s improvised; my favourite moments are when a band has an incredible hookup and you know it’s not been planned, and that moment is new for everyone. I love when people experiment with genre and mix jazz/improvisation into other sound worlds. Some of my favourite jazz isn’t really jazz…

How do you unwind after a gig?

Nothing too routine, but I really enjoy getting into bed and being by myself – performing by nature is pretty extroverted.

Any pre-gig traditions?

Actually, no!

If you’re keen to find the perfect jazz band for hire in Londonlisten to our sound or get in touch with Rosie at info@decaturstreettrio.co.uk to find out more and book.

Who’s in the band? Part II

Meet Ben – Double Bassist and Bantersaurus Rex

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With a knack for the strings (plus a penchant for the piano) Ben provides the rounded sounded of the Double Bass for the Decatur Street Trio, a jazz band for hire in London. As a full-time performer and part-time comic (in his own mind), Ben enjoys getting into the swing of things and gives every gig his all.

Here’s a little more on the man himself…

How would your bandmates describe you in 3 words?

Handsome, hilarious and… modest.

What’s your favourite thing about performing?

When you get into a kind of flow state. Flow is kinda spiritual (although I’m an atheist) and it doesn’t happen every time you play – but it’s the best feeling when it happens!

Best event you’ve ever played at?

I’ve played the Royal Albert Hall a couple times while I was at school for competitions, which was the biggest crowd I’ve played to. Saying that, some of the smallest gigs with DST have been my favourite!

Favourite jazz song?

That’s like asking to pick a favourite child! I’ve been digging Bye Bye Blackbird recently.

Favourite jazz musician?

Bill Evans.

Favourite thing about being in the group?

Spending time with James and Rosie ❤️

Favourite memory of being in the group?

The photo shoot was a pretty funny day!

One interesting fact about yourself:

Before the age of 18, I had never burped… (thanks, Ben!) 

Best time of year to be in the band and why?

Summer! It’s hot!

What’s your favourite sound?

Rain on a conservatory roof is pretty satisfying.

Which events are your favourite to play at?

The ones that are somewhere I’d never normally get to go to.

4 dream dinner party guests (dead or alive!)…

Jesus Christ, Karl Marx, Genghis khan and Kanye West.

If jazz music were an animal, which animal would it be?

Octopus.

What do you love so much about jazz?

Melody! Harmony! Groove! It’s all there, baby!

How do you unwind after a gig?

Tea and reading, every time.

Any pre-gig traditions?

Find somewhere to park!

Favourite tipple?

Canned polish lager. Can’t knock it.

If you’re keen to find the perfect jazz band for hire in London, listen to our sound or get in touch with Rosie at info@decaturstreettrio.co.uk to find out more and book.