Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in our music. Here are a lot of the questions that people ask us. Please review this FAQ sheet as you explore the possibility of bringing Bill Carter and his band to your venue. 

What kind of engagements does this band take? 

  • Concerts that present music from our recordings and the jazz repertoire. We play many concerts, often for a performing arts series for churches or local communities. 
  • Jazz worship services/vespers on the full range of the liturgical spectrum, individually crafted for each setting. 
  • Presentations that integrate our music with Bill’s insights on jazz and faith (sample descriptions sent on request). 
  • Workshops that encourage people to do what we do. 
  • Clinics for high schools and colleges that demonstrate jazz and improvisation techniques. 

When is the best time to book the band? 

  • Sunday afternoon or evening: If you live within two hours of northeastern Pennsylvania, a start time after 4:00 p.m. on a Sunday is often the band’s best available time. If you are further away, a 7:00 p.m. start time works well, with overnight accommodation provided if needed. 
  • Sunday morning events are at a premium since Bill works full-time as a pastor and the other musicians often work on Saturday nights. However, once or twice a year, the band may book a Sunday morning event for a generous patron. This engagement is usually the heart of a tour lasting four to seven days. The band often does two of these tours each year, booked long ahead. 
  • Events in the mid-week or weekends are possible with advance notice, depending on the availability of the musicians. 
  • National and regional events are always considered. We have been privileged to serve as a nationally recognized model for integrating faith and the performing arts. It’s what we do best. 

How many musicians are in the quartet? 

Usually four, perhaps five or six, but always more than three! For consistency, Bill prefers to call the band “a quartet” even though it is an expandable band of indeterminate size. Most of our music is conceived as instrumental jazz chamber music for a four-piece ensemble. 

Does Bill ever go out as a solo act? 

Absolutely! Mostly those occasions are to speak, to preach, to teach, or to play for a solo recital. Bill speaks widely and usually plays the piano at his presentations at conferences, gatherings, and religious communities of every kind. If the budget permits, he really likes to bring other musicians with him. 

In addition to the Quartet, what other musical configurations are possible? 

  • Duos - Bill and Mike Carbone on saxophone; or Bill and Tony Marino on bass 
  • Presbybop Quintet/Sextet with Jeff Stockham on trumpet or others on sax or trombone 
  • Presbybop Christmas Eve Band – a dynamic quartet or quintet that plays seasonal music. 
  • Blue Note Band – a dynamic quintet or sextet that plays classic jazz tunes with some of Bill’s tunes. 

Does the band play free for benefit causes? 

No. Our musicians are generous with their time and willingness to share their skills, but making music is the way they make a living. They cannot play for free or reduced rates. 

How does your office calculate the fee? 

We calculate a living daily wage for each musician, multiply it by the number of musicians, and add expenses. That is how we figure out our fee. For our band members, music-making is not a part-time job. It is the way they support their families. It is their life. That’s why their music sounds so good. 

What is it like to travel as a jazz band? 

When driving, the band compresses into a minivan or two. Frankly it’s a tight fit. The hours are long. Conversation is sparse. Believe it or not, they prefer not to listen to much music while they travel. It is a hard day’s night, with a lot of miles, and it helps when you can offer some gas money. 

When they fly, the musicians often approach from different airports. This can be quite complicated, especially given the current indignities of air travel. It is nearly impossible to carry instruments safely on a commercial plane. The bass doesn’t fold in half, the multiple saxophones are rightly mistaken as weapons, and all we can bring of percussion are sticks and cymbals. This requires renting professional quality instruments, which will be an additional cost for the venue . . . in addition to the plane tickets. 

Where do you keep the piano in the minivan? 

Somebody once asked us this question and we knew that gig was a mistake. We rely on our host venue to provide a well-tuned acoustic piano of concert quality. Not a spinet, not an electronic keyboard, not a piano-shaped-object – but a real piano. Please tune it no more than five days before the engagement. We reserve the right to shorten or cancel the engagement if the piano is not tuned. 

Can we have jazz musicians stay at our home? 

No, you wouldn’t like that. Some of them snore. They keep odd hours. They do not feel like socializing after playing their hearts out. The safest way to house them is by providing separate rooms in a nice, reasonable motel that serves breakfast and Wi-Fi (like a Hampton Inn). Please do not offer exceptions. 

What do jazz musicians eat? 

It depends. Bill is not much of a meat eater but has been known to swallow hamburgers in three bites. The other guys are pretty much carnivorous. Salads and pasta are always safe. It’s always great when a venue provides food before an engagement, although the band often eats lightly before it plays. 

Can the local plumber sit in with the group and toot his saxophone? 

Not unless he is John Coltrane. Even then, he might not fit the style of the group. Our music is well rehearsed and can be quite complicated. Plus, there’s that “quality control” thing. Since you are interested in booking the Presbybop Quartet, we want to provide the real Presbybop Quartet. 

How do we begin the booking process? 

  1. Review our booked dates at www.presbybop.com 
  2. Select an open date that might work for you and us, with alternate dates suggested. 
  3. Send an e-mail to office@presbybop.com or leave a phone message at the Presbybop Music office at (570) 586-6776. 
  4. Tell us your preferred date and time, the setting and location. 
  5. Suggest what kind of performance fee you might offer. 
  6. Promise to cover our expenses (travel costs, housing, and food) 
  7. Declare boldly that there will be a freshly tuned piano of concert quality.

  

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    Upcoming Dates

    April “mixes memory and desire,” wrote the poet T.S. Eliot. This poignant springtime theme will be explored by the Presbybop Sextet in a musical celebration for Jazz Appreciation Month. The afternoon will feature the music of pianist Bill Carter and his late mentor Al Hamme, and coincides with the publication of Carter’s new book, Thriving on a Riff. Featured musicians include Ron Vincent on drums, Tony Marino on bass, Jeff Stockham on trumpet and French horn, Joe Carello on alto sax, Tom Hamilton on tenor sax and flute, and Bill Carter on piano.

    The concert will be broadcast for free on YouTube. Enjoy it at https://youtube.com/live/4kcz3PbHaBY

    Online Book Launch Party for Thriving on a Riff: Jazz and the Spiritual Life

     — (EDT, UTC-04) — (EDT, UTC-04)

    Presbybop International Headquarters, Clarks Summit, PA 18411

    Join us for our online party on Zoom. To register for this free celebration, go to https://forms.gle/Em4X85pR7tVaBRAs6. A link will be given to you upon completion of the registration form. Our office will also e-mail a reminder with the link on the day before the party.

    It's going to be a lot of fun! The author will answer questions about the book and offer a few short readings. We will also have a prize drawing for autographed copies, CDs and downloads, and Presbybop Swag. Hope you can join us!

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