Here are the steps I think you should follow when hiring a jazz band.
- Have a listen. Does the band have some jazz songs you can listen to? No point of hiring a band if you don't like what they play.
- Are they versatile? A large proportion of function bands can only play 30 or so songs. A real jazz band should be able to play pretty much anything!.
- Give as much context as possible, especially a list of jazz musicians you already like. If you can't think of any, head over to Youtube and search "Jazz"
- Communication, are they helpful when you're hiring them? A good jazzer should be suggesting bands to fit your event based on your brief. When I was starting out performing 5 or so years ago a played a number of gigs where the set-up or the band wasn't the right fit. It's something you need to work with the band on to get right and avoid disappointment.
- Price, I am biased here but hear me out. Jazz musicians have generally spent the best part of their lives (15 years for me) practising, playing, honing and expanding their sound. It is one of the most qualified jobs around, so the price tag should match. The London standard rate for a jazz musician is £120 per hour, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to negotiate.
I hope this information helps you find a perfect jazz band for your event, and as always feel free to contact me about hiring a jazz band in London