Peter & the Master Keys is a unique jazz and blues band that is stacked with some of the finest young musicians in New York City today. We specialize in the kind of soulful, jazz-inflected rhythm and blues that was popularized by greats like Ray Charles in the 50's and 60's, but we also play jazz from the 30's through the 50's - with a whole lot of swing and verve. After all, one of our goals is to evoke the cool sophistication of jazz with the deep rootsy-ness of the blues. Another is to get everyone moving with us, and maybe even traveling to another time with us - to an era when real musicians, with real instruments, reached and moved people through music that was soulful, live, and real. And with three horns (trumpet, tenor sax, baritone sax) and an ace rhythm section (keys, guitar, upright bass, drums), you could say that we're something of a "small big band".

From selling out historic concert halls like the Coe House to playing weddings at the Yale Club and events at Columbia University and Sotheby's, Peter & the Master Keys is establishing itself as the one of the premier jazz and blues bands of New York City. If you are looking for the perfect jazz band for a wedding reception, a cocktail hour, or if you are just looking to hire a great party band, look no further!

Contact us at petermaness@gmail.com or click below to book the band through Gigmasters.

Other bands: quartets, trios, female vocalists

A variety of bands for various needs

The full 7-piece band is amazing for larger events like festivals, wedding receptions or corporate events but many times it can be more than what you need or over budget, which is why there are options for smaller groups. The quartet is the most popular (upright bass/voice, sax, guitar, and drums). It has a wide range of material from American songbook to blues, rock 'n roll, and even 60's surf rock all tailored to the client's preferences and the mood of the party. This is perfect for cocktail hours, backyard parties, community events, and smaller venues. The trio has the same effect but has a smaller physical and sonic footprint since it loses the drums or sax. It's ideal for parties where the music is intended to be in the background. 

Sometimes people want a female vocalist, and I happen to work with some of the best in the world, several of whom are making names for themselves on the international jazz scene. If that is what you are looking for, let me know and I can happily accommodate you. 

Here are some videos featuring the talented Vanessa Perea with the group along with videos of the quartet and trio playing American songbook standards.


Hiring live music for your wedding celebration can be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll make as you plan your big night but there are so many New York City wedding bands to choose from that the options can be daunting. Here are a few tips for choosing a great one. 

First, you need to decide on the aesthetic of your wedding if you haven’t already. Is it glamorous,  super casual, sporty, country, quaint/charming…? That will go a long way in helping you to decide what kind of band to go for. If you’re getting married in a fancy New York ballroom then plaid table cloths and a country band won’t work obviously. They would go great, however, in a barn. Of course, you should hire a band that will play the music you want to hear but it’s worth noting if  the band is congruent with everything else. 

If you are looking for the best wedding bands in New York City then you have many options. There are many good “top 40 bands” around. They will typically play some jazz for cocktail hour (though the quality can vary greatly since many are primarily pop musicians) then play a motown medley and then move on through the decades to the latest pop hits and invariably end with a Bruno Mars song! 

This is a great option for many people but not everyone. First of all, maybe you don’t really want to hear Bruno Mars or Rhianna.  A wedding band in New York City will usually play that material but it often leaves relatives over 40 in the cold. And lastly, they all start to sound the same and maybe you want your wedding band to be different.

Peter & the Master Keys is one of the best wedding bands in NYC because we are a bit different.  We play classic American songbook jazz that is quintessentially New York and if you want, we can also play timeless blues, soul and RnB from the artists like Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry.  You get the class and sophistication of having a swinging little big band at your reception and you get a band that plays great party music for dancing that won’t leave anyone out in the cold. Best of all, instead of a band just like all the other wedding bands you can have one that is fun and unique. 
 

 peter maness of peter & the master keys, a great band for wedding receptions in New York city. 

Peter Maness

New York City-based upright bassist, bandleader, & singer of jazz and blues

Peter grew up in North Carolina surrounded by great music: his father’s classical record collection, and the blues and bluegrass music that has always been a part of the Carolinas' cultural history. Peter received degrees in both music and Spanish, later teaching high school Spanish for two years. In 2006 he moved to New York City, where he has since played upright bass in various early jazz bands all across the city, and where he has also allowed himself to follow another one of his passions: singing and playing jazz, blues and rock n' roll.

Playing the triple role of bandleader, singer, and bassist, he channels and pays tribute to 1950's blues greats like Ray Charles, Johnny 'Guitar' Watson and others with an excitement and verve that is palpable. Now, with the creation of his own seven-piece mini big band Peter & the Master Keys, which performs Peter's original horn arrangements of 1950's jazz and blues songs, New York has taken notice. His band performs in distinguished venues around the city such as Sotheby's, the Manderley Bar at The McKittrick Hotel (home of 'Sleep No More') and others, and sells out shows at historic concert halls like the Coe House on Long Island. The Master keys have also become popular as a jazz band for wedding receptions and cocktail hours, having performed at New York's finest venues like the Yale Club and Harold Pratt House.