New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Nashville — these are cities whose legendary venues for years were overflowing with talent, artistry and creative grist. While devotees continue the pilgrimage to these musical meccas to fill their spiritual reservoirs, classic jazz is becoming a more and more rarified artform. Traditions in style, improvisational technique, tempo and the arc of phrase—these are components shared and elaborated upon whenever musicians gather and perform together.
Here in Charleston, though far from the bustle of a large city, one is close to all that arouses the senses and attracts those who appreciate the finer things in life: an inviting ocean breeze, a refreshing cocktail on a hot summer evening, a swanky lounge setting, the sound of a well-turned musical phrase. With more than 160 bars, the city enjoys a vibrant nightlife, and Charlestonians have socializing down to a fine art. Classic jazz is right there, tucked in between a glass of Gentry Bourbon served neat and a beautiful woman. Perfection.
Ken Festa, leader of Singer 77 Productions, offers his authentic New York jazz vibe to the full gamut of Charleston social settings, from nightclubs and hotels to fine dining establishments to major life events and corporate gatherings. Consider making a holiday party or birthday extra special with live music or hire Festa’s trio for a private dinner party. The trio could also be a romantic gift for a wedding anniversary, a private performance that could include dancing on the balcony under the stars with classic melodies guiding your steps and caressing the ears.
What can one expect from Singer 77 Productions in addition to experiencing Charleston’s best jazz musicians and vocalists? As demonstrated on Festa’s latest CD, Once Again, you’ll enjoy his butterscotch vocals set against the velvety backdrop of a classic jazz trio and setlists drawn from a vast repertoire of American popular standards, jazz and melodies from the Great American Songbook. Coupled with this is stylish attire and a gentile decorum; the trio is ready to enhance the most sophisticated of events. And good luck staying off the dance floor. Sexy renditions of “Fly Me to the Moon” and “It Had to Be You” will have the ladies coaxing the gentlemen out there for a bit of cheek to cheek.
Though now a permanent fixture in Charleston, Festa worked for years in New York City, honing his artistry as he worked alongside the city’s jazz elite. Gigs included performances at The Iridium, the United Nations, the Eugene O’Neill Theater, Danny’s off Broadway, Windows on the World at the World Trade Center, the Waldorf Astoria, The Plaza Hotel and The Pierre, to name but a few. Ongoing engagements that spanned over a decade included a residency with World Yacht Enterprises, as well as other dinner cruise ships traversing the Hudson River off of Manhattan. Festa and his combos also performed throughout Europe, most notably at Jazz aux Champs-Elysées.
You may be wondering which of Festa’s combos will best meet your entertainment needs. The formulas for instrumentation are simple: If you are looking for a subtle yet sophisticated jazz backdrop that will enhance a culinary experience and won’t disrupt conversation, Festa and his trio (piano, drums, bass) is ideal. For those who want a bit more depth and color and the budget allows, Festa’s quartet with guitar or horn will do the trick. For larger events and occasions, where up-tempo dance tunes are desirable, Singer 77 Productions offers eight- and nine-piece ensembles that transform the group to a big band feel. A female singer is also available for interspersing with Festa’s vocals.
For those seeking a signature act to grace their establishment weekly, Festa’s trio is ideal. Customers will want to return week after week to hear favorite melodies, make requests and do a bit of dancing. Offering live music speaks to your good taste and generosity and is sure to bolster sales.
Bring the sounds of the Great American Songbook and jazz to your next event, with songs immortalized by the likes of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and more. And as part of the experience, anticipate that the crème de la crème of Charleston’s flourishing music scene will be part of each Singer 77 Productions ensemble, with Ken Festa at the helm. *
Christina Andrews is a freelance writer from the Napa Valley who specializes in personal and business bios, food and wine, visual arts, music, hospitality, the event industry, community interest stories, obituaries and political satire.