This stylish ensemble of pedigreed jazz musicians swing hard and passionately and showcase original material, bebop, swing, standards, custom charts, and the American Songbook. Led by Grammy nominated JC Hopkins (who discovered Norah Jones and has collaborated with the likes of Elvis Costello, Mose Allison, The Killers, Lea DeLaria, Justin V. Bond, and more) his biggish band lends an air of elegance, energy, and fun while dancers and music enthusiasts alike enjoy the atmosphere set by this revolving cast of electrifying musicians and singers. The band is fully customizable, accommodating small, intimate affairs and events as a trio and grow, piece by piece – quartet, quintet, and so on - to a full big band (plus everything in between) complete with special additions like vibraphone and harp. In addition, we can also customize our presence to include world class tap dancers, swing dance lessons, burlesque, comedy/humorists, photography, video production, wedding officiation, and of course, the incredible vocalists leading today's new movement in jazz. As the New York Times says, "JC Hopkins Biggish Band may be the most swinging jazz band since Count Basie!" The group is thrilled to collaborate with Gigmasters and bring great, customized music to its community of arts supporters.
About the band:
Hopkins formed the JC Hopkins Biggish Band in 2001. He was introduced to a then fledgling singer Norah Jones through bassist Lee Alexander, who had played on Victoria Williams' album Water to Drink, which Hopkins had co-produced. Jones began singing with the Biggish Band as they performed in venues throughout New York City. Jones' wildly successful debut album, Come Away with Me, included "Painter Song," which Hopkins had co-written with Lee Alexander. Singer Madeleine Peyroux took Jones' place on the bandstand and began writing songs with Hopkins, many of which would later appear on Hopkins' 2005 album, Underneath a Brooklyn Moon. Peyroux continued to perform with the band along with vocalist Queen Esther, who eventually became the band's mainstay singer.
Underneath A Brooklyn Moon, the Biggish Band's debut album, featured nine original songs, including "One Never Knows," co-written by Norah Jones, and four written by Madeleine Peyroux: "Here Comes Love", "I Still Believe In Some Kind Of Love", "I've Got My Finger On A Star", and "Settle Down". The album received strong reviews from such notable media outlets as The New Yorker and National Public Radio.
Actor John Lithgow heard that NPR interview and asked Hopkins to produce his album of Tin Pan Alley children's songs, titled The Sunny Side of the Street, which was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Children's Album. In addition to his work on that album, Hopkins had lent his talents as a producer to albums by Victoria Williams, Water To Drink (Atlantic Records, 2000) and Sing Some Old Songs (Dualtone Records, 2002); Queen Esther's What Is Love (El Recordings, 2010); and Ben Fields' Extraordinary Light (Sire Records, 2014.)
As well as performing throughout the US, the JC Hopkins Biggish Band has notably played two tribute shows honoring-and featuring-seminal jazz songwriter Mose Allison. The first, in 2001, was held at Joe's Pub in Manhattan and included Hopkins' longtime friend and collaborator, singer Martha Wainwright, as well as Norah Jones, Madeline Peyroux and Queen Esther. One decade later, in 2011, the band held its second tribute to Allison, again featuring the jazz great, as well as his daughter Amy Allison. The performance featured longtime Hopkins hero and legendary vocalist Elvis Costello
performing Allison's songs with the Biggish Band as well as guest appearances by Orange Is the New Black star Lea DeLaria, folk singer Jolie Holland, Verve recording artist Lucy Woodward, and jazz singer Sasha Dobson.
The Biggish Band has also been featured at Lincoln Center's "Midsummer Night's Swing" and has at various times included songwriter and performance artist Justin Vivian Bond, Joey Arias, and Lea DeLaria, as well as jazz pianist and singer Champian Fulton. The band has regularly appeared at the Blue Note Jazz Festival and collaborates with various established venues and producers, including humorist and writer Kiki Valentine, at The Player's Club with Justin Bond, Martha Wainwright, Jolie Holland and The Minsky Sisters. They also celebrated Frank Sinatra's centennial as part of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, for which Hopkins created updated arrangements for classic Sinatra songs that were sung by actress and singer Lea DeLaria, artist Ne-Yo, singer Alice Smith, and The Killers front man Brandon Flowers.
In 2014, the band began its Wednesday night residency at Minton's, the legendary Harlem jazz venue formerly known as Minton's Playhouse, where Hopkins also served as music programmer. That residency led to the band's recording Meet Me at Minton's (featuring Jon Hendricks, Andy Bey, Brianna Thomas, and more).