Now featuring jazz vocalist Vanessa Perea

I'm really proud of the musicians I work with.  Over the past few years we've developed a reputation for versatility and excellence. That means that when someone really wants to hear traditional New Orleans style jazz, or Gatsby era jazz, the Master Keys happens to have on hand the best young players in that scene, many of whom have toured extensively with the world famous Hot Sardines.  Similarly with blues and vintage RnB, the band really excels with authentic 3 horn arrangements and players like Sam Raderman on guitar who embody the tradition of blues pioneers like T-bone Walker.

As versatile as we are sometimes people want to hear an exceptional female vocalist and that's something that I just can't do! That's why I'm pleased to announce that the acclaimed jazz singer, Vanessa Perea will be joining us on special occasions.  She is a master of the American Songbook and an all-around great performer and I think she'll be a great fit for cocktail hours and private events. Really, Vanessa with the Master Keys is a sure bet. I could listen to her sing for days and I think you'll agree as well!  BTW make sure you check out her fantastic duets with the Ladybugs.

New photos from a jazz wedding reception at the Darien Community Association

We had a blast playing for Dan and Anna at the Darien Community Association this past May and I just got photos back to prove it!  Lacey Gabrielle is an amazing photographer and she was nice enough to share some of the photos she took.  Up til now I didn't have professional photos of the band playing a wedding with folks dancing in the foreground even though we've done a ton of weddings in the last year.  These look great but it's hard to capture the excitement of a live jazz wedding band at the reception! Of course we also played some great old rock 'n roll and throwback RnB like Ray Charles and Fats Domino when the time was right. 

 The aunts love it! This jazz wedding band makes sure that folks are dancing.

The aunts love it! This jazz wedding band makes sure that folks are dancing.

 The Master Keys is more than a great jazz wedding band. We also play a ton of great old RnB for dancing.

The Master Keys is more than a great jazz wedding band. We also play a ton of great old RnB for dancing.

New Residency at the Rum House cocktail bar

 The Rum House in Times square, NYC. Definitely the coolest bar in the area. Home to some of the best cocktails around.

The Rum House in Times square, NYC. Definitely the coolest bar in the area. Home to some of the best cocktails around.

I'm pleased to announce a new residency at the Rum House, definitely the coolest bar in Times Sq. Not that there is much competition but it's kind of the only place I like to go around there. The cocktails are inventive and top notch and the decor is old school New York. Of course I'm also a big fan of the music programming. Some of the best young jazz musicians in New York play here and it's a treat to hear them with an excellent rum cocktail in hand.  It's also a great place to meet with people. Just last week I had a young couple who were interested in hiring the Master Keys to play their wedding cocktail hour and reception. While I only play with a trio here and not the full 7-piece band, it's still a good opportunity to see what I do!

Whether to hire a band or DJ for a wedding reception

I was having this conversation recently with a client that has booked the band for various events showcasing luxury brands. She said something that stuck with me and that was this: Most people these days go to an after party after the wedding reception. The old folks go home and the kids go out to party somewhere. What kind of music do you think is happening at the after party? There is most likely a DJ. So isn't it kind of lame to dance to a DJ at your reception and then dance to a DJ at the after party? Why not have a great jazz band for your wedding reception or any kind of band really (I consider my band to be a party band). That way not only do you get variety but you get something unique and special. The Master Keys often make special big band arrangements of couples' first dance requests. How often do you experience that at other peoples' weddings? Then there was the time that we made a big band arrangement of an Elvis song that the groom knocked out of the park! When you hire a great band for your wedding reception like the Master Keys, not only will you have a great time but you'll have a one-of-a-kind hand-crafted experience. AND your grandparents, aunts and uncles who hate hip hop will have a blast!

Then you can go to the club!

 

 The best jazz band for wedding reception, Peter & the Master Keys

Getting into real estate

So... I'm getting into real estate. No, really. I've been getting into really expensive real estate. They let me in and when I'm finished with the gig, they let me leave. har har...

Anyway, I've been thrilled to link up with some great companies that either sell real estate or partner with other companies to create a luxury experience around a high-end product (Hennessy). They've found that nothing elevates the vibe of an event like excellent musicians joyfully creating a great feeling in the room. Guests can feel it and comment about it making the event. Everyone has heard DJs countless times and real music is fresh to our ears again. It really is a special thing and it shows good taste too!

In these photos we are in the Penthouse at Manhattan View and 70 Vestry.

So, if you're looking to hire a wedding band in New York city, NY or just looking for a great jazz band for hire to make your event special, look no further!

 the wedding band at Manhattan view
 Want to hire a wedding band in New York city, NY? Look no further
 The Jazz wedding band at 70 Vestry in Tribeca, NY

Hennessy tasting at the new Zaha Hadid condos

This is another installment in the series, "Peter & the Master Keys" in amazing places. I was asked recently to play for a Hennessy tasting at a brand new building on the west side of Manhattan where there has been a lot of development lately. I was familiar with this building, 520 W 28th because I often play at the Mckittrick Hotel (home of Sleep no More) right across the street. It looks like a silver space ship with beautiful curved lines and I had admired it as it went up. So of course I was thrilled to play for a Hennessy tasting in one of the show apartments that was going for a cool $15 million. I can't quite afford it yet but it was fun to enjoy it for a bit as we played some nice jazz standards for the guests.

The new and improved trailer is here!

I'm pleased to announce that the new trailer for the band is here! The previous one, filmed by my brother, Alex Maness, had served me well but after two years and some personnel changes it was time for another edition. As I said in the last post, we recorded it in the Relic Room in Chelsea, which boasts a lot of great vintage gear and microphones that we were able to use. We only had a couple of hours but we knocked out 5 full songs and 5 partial songs. If you've never recorded before, let me tell you that is a lot in a very short time! A testament to the professionalism of the band. As of now we have a sweet trailer that you can see here that features a few songs. In the works is another trailer and a couple of videos that highlight entire songs that I think showcase the band well. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you soon!

Video shoot- behind the scenes

This past weekend Peter & the Master Keys had a very successful video shoot at the Relic Room, a fantastic recording studio that also happens to look great on film.  I've been working on a new promo reel for the band and got Aaron Rockers to shoot footage and edit.

Behind the scenes, the talented Mai Comeros shot this footage that you see here. You can tell that there is a great feeling in the room when this group gets together and that comes through in the music. I can't wait to share the video with you!

 

First wedding of the year at the Yale Club in New York City!

This weekend was another high-water mark for Peter & the Master Keys.  We kicked off the new year with a magical wedding at the prestigious Yale Club in New York City! 

First, the band played some beautiful arrangements of Bach and Chopin for the ceremony in the library. Then we quickly made our way up to the glassed-in roof deck where we played jazz standards for the cocktail hour.

Of course, the most exciting part was the reception.  The newlyweds had their first dance to my arrangement of "I've Just Seen a Face" by the Beatles. Instead of the usual tempo, we slowed it down so that it was closer to the feel of "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke. Soon after the guests flooded the dance floor and we all had a fantastic night of music and dancing. It makes such a huge difference when folks come with the intention of celebrating. These guys certainly did and I'm glad I thought of grabbing my phone to capture this hilarious moment. Enjoy!

In the lap of luxury...

 Coe House Historic Museum

That's where the band and I found ourselves this past Friday the 13th as we ventured to Long Island to play at the Coe House Historic Museum.  It was our second time playing at the beautiful Gatsby era mansion turned museum as we had been invited back to kick off the "All star series".  What an honor! We played for a capacity crowd of almost 100 people in the grand living room, which was the size of a ballroom. It's a real treat to play for a crowd of people who are actively listening. Thanks to all who came out to support live music! Here's a photo I couldn't resist taking after the show:

 Peter and the Master Keys

We've also been busy with other endeavors like playing for a third time at the residence of the Pakistani ambassador to the U.N. and at the prestigious Joe's Pub.  I've also been busy booking the band for holiday parties so if you're interested, let me know!

Lastly, I'd like to share a fun photo with you. We were asked to play for a first year birthday party this past weekend and the mom specifically asked me if I could bring drums because her son was obsessed. Sure enough, Jonah was fascinated the whole time and even cried when he was pulled away. Watch out, mom!

 Alex Raderman, drums

New Residency at Arlo SoHo

 Arlo SoHo lounge

I'm pleased to announce that I have a new residency performing at the Arlo Hotel SoHo.  Drop by Wednesdays this month and you can hear me and my ace trio performing in this beautiful modern lounge from 6-9.  I have on board my indefatigable sax player, Nick Myers and my new friend Adrian DiMatteo, who is a fantastic guitarist as well as singer.  I love turning the mic over to him since he has an amazing voice and does some material that I love but don't sing yet like Bill Withers.  Hope to see you there!

Playing on a Yacht

Well, it's not easy. As the Royal Princess pulled out from the dock in Weehawken, NJ into the Hudson river, we were rocking and swaying so much with the wakes from other boats that it was quite difficult to stand and play upright bass.  Fortunately, once we got underway things smoothed out and we were OK.  This gig was for a pre-Indian wedding and you can see the older crowd was really getting into it. I'd like to thank NY Boat Charter for the video.  Enjoy!   

Aperitivo Tuesdays at PHD Terrace

Rooftop season may be drawing to a close but here's a little secret for you: there is about a month left and, once it starts to get a little chilly, the folks at PHD Terrace have a very nice enclosure that they erect over the roof to keep the party going through the winter. 

I've been playing this weekly gig with the great Nick Palumbo for over 6 months now and it keeps getting better. We've been playing classic Rock 'n Roll from the 50s and 60s with some Italian songs thrown in to create a vibe for the Italian themed event. 

If you haven't been,  PHD Terrace is a beautiful rooftop space in midtown Manhattan and epitomizes the kind of classy nightlife that many people seek out in the Big Apple.  We hope to see you there one day!

The Master Keys deliver thesis on the Blues at Columbia U.

 Nick Myers, Michael Sailors, Peter Maness, Stefan Zeniuk, Todd Caldwell, and Alex Raderman

We're in the big leagues now. Ivy, that is.  The band was invited to play for the incoming class of graduate students at Columbia University this past Monday and we happily bestowed them with bluesy wisdom as they gnoshed on Columbia branded cupcakes and blue (school colors) champagne!  What a great crowd of bright-eyed PHDs to be, all eager to meet one another and get to know some of their professors. 

You can't see it in these photos but we played for a crowd of about 1,500 people under a huge tent covering most of Low Plaza. 

Thanks again to the folks at Columbia for making this possible!

 Peter and the Master Keys play blues and jazz for an event for incoming graduate students at Columbia University.

Check it out, I'm in Vogue Magazine!

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful! Just kidding.  This amazing photo by Alex Nero appeared in the online Vogue Magazine this week along with a great article about a huge immersive party called 'You Are So Lucky' that I was part of a couple weeks back.  It was really a sight to behold, everyone was decked out in their finest regalia, be it forest nymph face paint or Egyptian head dress.  I was playing in a room curated by the event producer, Shanghai Mermaid, with the fabulous singer, Megg Farrell.  This experience was just one facet of a huge immersive experience that took over the grounds of an historic mansion in Yonkers for 5,000 guests!  You can read all about it and see more photos here.

 This amazing photo by Alex Nero shows Peter Maness and Pete Mathiessen playing with Megg Farrell at the You are so Lucky party recently in Yonkers, NY.

It's the season for rooftop parties in New York!

 Rooftop private event band Peter and the Master Keys at the Starrett Le-High building in Chelsea, Manhattan

"I like New York in June..."  Well it's shaping up to be a beautiful spring in the big city and the Master Keys have been doing more and more gigs on rooftops all over town.  Here's a couple of shots from the Starret Le-High building in Chelsea.  We played there last week for a building wide rooftop event where they screened the classic film, An Affair to Remember.  Later on in the evening we were treated to a beautiful sunset over the Hudson river!

 Beautiful sunset over the Hudson river with Peter and the Master Keys performing jazz and blues for a corporate event at the Starrett Le-High building in Chelsea, Manhattan.

Peter and the Master Keys rock Hava Nagila at a farm wedding in upstate NY!

We had an amazing time at Blooming Hill farm  this past weekend in upstate NY!  The bride had requested Hava Nagila, a traditional song played at Jewish weddings, but then got a little shy and changed her mind. Fortunately, a friend or two of hers assured us that it would go over well and boy did it ever!  Make sure you watch till the end.

Chuck Berry night was a great success!

We celebrated the music of the great Chuck Berry this past Monday at the Wayland in New York's East Village. It was a great chance to bring together many fantastic musicians and have a lot of fun with the music. I think we had about a dozen folks stop by in addition to the smokin' house band of Eric Finland, Erik Blicker, Alex Raderman and yours truly. Somehow I have to find out how to have another great party like this again.  In the meantime, check out my main man, Nick Palumbo doing Johnny B. Goode!