Bringing a new band to life

Raise the Bar Band - FINAL LOGO

This year has been phenomenal so far, and Carol Deminski Productions has gotten off the ground! I’m now managing three different bands: Carol Deminski and the Little Jazz Birds; The Carol Deminski Dixieland Band and now… the Raise the Bar Band too!

The Raise the Bar Band came out of my desire to play a wider variety of music beyond jazz, and to keep my band members, and me, playing out on a regular basis.

I started by thinking about what kind of music I wanted to focus on, which wasn’t easy. There are so many bands out there doing cover material, and I didn’t want to be playing songs that — while I enjoyed them — were being over-played. In my opinion, we don’t need another band doing Allman Brothers and Jimmy Hendrix covers, although I love both of those artists / bands.

So with that as my guide, I set off on a journey to bring together songs I felt were cohesive as a group. Things I liked and would want to sing, and would nod to my roots as a singer coming out of a jazz and blues tradition. For example, Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke is a pop song with a terrific dance beat, but the lyrics talk about the great lineage of jazz heritage we have in the works and performances of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and others. So yes, that’s on the list.

Certain artists began to pop up on my radar as I spent many hours listening to songs I loved, and then meandering around on YouTube, serendipitously moving from one video to the next with “suggestions” that sometimes appealed, and many times didn’t. This process of coming up with a core repertoire took weeks. Songs moved back and forth between a primary and secondary list (which I still have) and then even within the primary list, became further prioritized based on what might make sense for a 3 hour show … the typical length of time a band plays.

I’m often told that I’m organized, and I don’t disagree. That said, the process of finding the initial band repertoire was a lot of FUN. I wound up with early rock and roll, mixed in with fun “classic oldies” that people will know and love – but haven’t heard in awhile – along with New Orleans flavored material too. ALL of it is highly danceable too.

While I was doing that, I was simultaneously pulling together a group of musicians who wanted to do this music. That was also challenging because it’s no great secret that music is not a high paying endeavor.

—->I could diverge at this point and do an entire diatribe on how musicians are vastly underpaid for their talents, but I won’t. <—-

So for a musician to agree to get involved with my project, it meant a bunch of things. The music I was choosing was something that appealed to them, and they would enjoy playing it. Maybe they knew a bunch of the songs already, and they were willing to learn the ones they didn’t. And very importantly, they would be willing to REHEARSE.

Rehearsals are a dirty word to some musicians. For those that don’t want to rehearse, they will flat out refuse to get involved in a band project because it takes too much time. I get it, even if I may not like it! There has to be a balance between how much time you spend learning new material, and working on your own practice, which good musicians ARE doing on their own.

So I was very lucky to find excellent quality musicians to play with who agreed to participate in rehearsals. It’s not like we’re rehearsing every week, but we have to be able to get together just enough to nail down song introductions and endings, and for everyone to know their parts.

…so far, so good. I had a list of songs I liked, and group of musicians who wanted to play those songs with me.

The next hill to climb was … who would give us a chance to play this material at their bar / nightclub / restaurant, etc?

This is the part of being a bandleader that is pretty tough. Without existing relationships with club bookers where this kind of material was being performed, it meant I had to go to the phones and start from scratch. Until now I’ve been booking jazz gigs, so I’m in the process of expanding my reach to venues who want cover bands, and those types of venues are usually quite different.

I’ve spoken to some bandleaders and others about this part of the business, and they absolutely detest it. Some people dread making cold calls because of the rejection they have to face.

When I first started the process of making these calls, I didn’t like it either. It might take 15 calls with a NO answer to get to one YES (maybe more.) The amount of follow up to get the right person on the phone AND get a yes from them is time consuming. But now, after months of ploughing in and just doing it, I find I enjoy “the hunt” and “the close.” There’s a satisfaction when I book a new venue where I haven’t played before, and I’ve been able to establish enough of a rapport with the booker so that my band has a shot to come in, wow the crowd, and be invited back for that extremely important second gig.

Thankfully, given my time and energy, my band is now booked for a couple of gigs, and once I’m able to have my band on videotape playing this material, I’m 100% sure I will be able to book even more gigs.

If you have read this far, please be sure to visit the Raise the Bar band page here: http://CarolDeminskiProductions.com/raise-the-bar-band. There you’ll see a photo collage of artists that inspired me for the band’s song list, and photos of band members.

If you are also in New Jersey, and want to attend a Raise the Bar Band show, go to the Carol Deminski Productions website and check out the SHOWS  tab, for a complete calendar!

THANKS!

 

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Announcing the new Carol Deminski Productions website!

Hi All!

I have put together a website to make it easy for people to find me if they are looking to hire a Jazz/Blues band!

Please check out http://CarolDeminskiProductions.com!

On the website you can find a Contact Page; music videos; a show calendar; photos and bios of some of the musicians who play in my bands; a produced events page, and more!

carol-deminski-productions-website-feb-2017

Take a look at the “Shows” calendar page for a list of events, beginning with the next available show. Right now, it shows my event for tomorrow night at the top!

Carol Deminski Productions - shows.JPG

Click on the graphic on the left side, for the event poster, so you see the whole thing… it looks like this!

glen-rock-inn-poster

On the “Shows” page I hope you’ll notice I’ve gotten into creating a poster for each gig I’m doing. Some of them are very colorful.

On March 5th, I’ll be playing a Sunday Brunch event at Ocean Place Resort & Spa, in Long Branch, NJ. That hotel is located on the beach, and the restaurant has a beautiful view of the ocean, so I chose a watery ocean themed poster style.

ocean-place-resort-mar-5-2017

When you check out the site, if you want to reach me, feel free to use the Contact form!

If you know of someone who is looking for a high quality Jazz/Blues band, I’d appreciate any referrals too. It’s always tough, when getting started, to build an audience and I can use all of the friend-referrals I can get!

Thanks, and I hope you like the new site!

Continued Success for Singer Celebration!

singer-celebration-dlv-dec-17-2016-v2

One of the popular events I host each month is Singer Celebration. I’ve written about it on this blog elsewhere, but I thought I’d mention that there is a big Holiday Edition of this event coming up this Saturday night.

Details: Singer Celebration, Sat, Dec 17th, DLV Lounge, 300 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ. 9pm to midnight. SINGERS are welcome to come and sing a favorite Jazz, Blues or Holiday tune with my swingin’ band! It’s a great opportunity to meet lots of other singers from the area.

And if you are interested in live music performances in New Jersey, please look at my Facebook page: @CarolDeminskiProductions. There you will find a list of events.

Another place you can find more information is Carol Deminski Productions. I have music videos, photos, along with other tasty goodies you will enjoy!

We will continue on with Singer Celebration in 2017 too….

For the January Show, we will have an amazing Featured Jazz Vocalist!

singer-celebration-dlv-jan-14-2017-v3

For the February Show, our Featured Vocalist will be a fabulous Blues singer!

singer-celebration-dlv-feb-2017

 

 

Singer Celebration – THIS SATURDAY – Aug 27

Me and Michael - Priory April 27 2016

Carol Deminski, MC and Lead Singer with Michael Mittelsdorf, Drummer

 

SINGER CELEBRATION is this Saturday, August 27th, at the DLV Lounge, 300 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ. The action starts at 9pm; there is No Cover.

There will be a fantastic 8 piece band, including: piano, bass, drums, guitar, trumpet, saxophone, trombone and clarinet! We also have a terrific Featured Vocalist, and numerous singers… hopefully, including you!

Come on out and join the fun! Sing a jazz song with us, and meet the other singers and musicians in this wonderful community.

The DLV is a cozy place which regularly hosts live music. I’m glad we are part of their line-up. I look forward to seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. See you there!

DLV Postcard - final resize

Singer Celebration – Aug 27th

It’s getting to be that time again, for another Singer Celebration event at the DLV Lounge in Montclair, NJ. On Aug 27th, I’ll be hosting this end-of-Summer get together for jazz singers and musicians!

Saturday, August 27th, from 9pm-12M, DLV Lounge, 300 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ.

Carol and The Little Jazz Birds - DLV band regulars

I’m happy to say that the band that’s been playing at these events (since March) has had a lot of the same players. This time, we’ll have most of the same guys back again, including Steve Johnson – trombone, JJ Bell – tenor sax, Jim Bogle – trumpet, Michael Mittelsdorf – drums, Jon Boudrot – guitar (and this time, also ukulele) and Billy Carrion Jr. – bass.

Ahh, but who will be on the keyboard? I’m glad you asked! We will be fortunate to have the talented Max Marshall, who you may also sometimes find playing keys at Cleopatra’s Needle in Manhattan.

Max Marshall on piano

But, if you know the Singer Celebration program, you also know there is usually a featured singer. And this coming show is no different. I’m proud to announce that John Bianchi will be not just our featured vocalist for the evening, he will also be on the bandstand playing clarinet for the night … bringing our amazing bandstand to a whopping 8 players.

John Bianchi by Barney Bishop

Not only can John sing and play clarinet, he also plays saxophone, guitar and as you see in this photo, he rocks a mean ukulele too. As you might imagine for someone so talented, John also writes his own songs, and on show night he will perform “I’m Going Back to My Dreams” one of his original compositions. (I have heard him sing this piece, so trust me when I say you will not want to miss his charming performance!)

And what, if anything, is still missing for show night?

YOU, that’s what!

There are so many talented jazz singers that have come through to perform during these events, I’m very grateful to have all of you participate! I’m hoping to see some folks that have been supporters from the beginning (you know who you are!) as well as some new faces too!

Please join us, Saturday, August 27th, from 9pm-12 midnight … DLV Lounge, 300 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ.

The DLV doesn’t charge a cover, although our hard working band appreciates tips.

Hope to see you there!

May 7th at the DLV Lounge!

Singing at the DLV - Carol and Michael

“Carol Deminski and the Little Jazz Birds” will be playing at the DLV Lounge in Montclair, NJ on Saturday night, May 7, 2016, from 9p-12M.

Please join me and my band, including keyboard, bass, drums, trumpet and trombone … sit ins welcome! I’ll be the hostess and lead vocalist. We’ll have two featured vocalists, along with many expected guest singers. It will be FUN for participants and audience alike!

The DLV is a small club which emphasizes live jazz. They have jazz jams on Tuesday and Thursday (9-11:30p), special Latin Jazz nights, and other jazz performances. The DLV is homey and inviting, with reasonably priced drinks and a newly opened kitchen offering comfort food. DLV Lounge, 300 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07042.