About Blue Harlem
Blue Harlem are a top quality jazz/swing/R&B band whose range covers sultry late-night ballads, sophisticated dance music from the big-band era, downhome blues shouting and roof-raising jump jive.
The band is led by Al Nicholls, a big-toned tenor sax player, who is also recognised as one of Britain’s leading swing band arrangers. After "paying his dues" playing with The Big Town Playboys, King Pleasure and Ray Gelato's Giants, he decided to put Blue Harlem together after he kept on meeting a core of like-minded fellow musicians in other groups, who were just itching to get together in one band.
Their love of the music of the golden swing era, and the classic songs of Gershwin, Porter, Irving Berlin, et al means that stylistically they are all hip to the same muse. With the likes of Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Jordan and Count Basie as their heroes, you can be sure that the band will get you jumping.
The band featured on our sound clips is the seven-piece line-up but the band can also slim down to a six piece version featuring the band’s glamorous female singer, Al (on tenor) plus keyboards, bass, drums, and a second saxophone. Alternatively, the band can expand to eight, nine or 10 pieces, enabling it to achieve an even more authentic big band sound. In all cases, this is a band of top jazz musicians whose combined honours include appearances with Georgie Fame, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Long John Baldry, Eric Clapton and Jools Holland. Our quoted price is for a seven-piece band. The band normally play for about two hours over a three or four hour period and bring their own PA system through which they can play CDs during their breaks.
The band have played at numerous weddings, private parties and corporate functions and recently shared the bill with Shirley Bassey at a royal celebration at Highgrove House. Blue Harlem have also played at many jazz festivals in Britain and abroad including Norway, Belgium and Germany and are now regulars at the world-famous 100 Club, as well as playing many other London venues including the Barbican Centre, the South Bank Centre and Jitterbugs.