Retro Notes takes the audience back in time for a wonderful musical experience. Unlike many loosely connected jazz ensembles, our group practices weekly and gigs regularly all over the bay area. We keep learning about what works for a wide range of audiences. A gig we will play many, short (3-5 minutes) jazz standards with vocals, providing the audience a wide variety of music from 1920's, to big-band and latin jazz.
Retro Notes were beyond fantastic!
For our twilight open-house event, we requested to see if they could do a customized Trio Jazz Band (saxophone, piano, and bass) because our client wanted just a live background music - to which they said they could and boy did they deliver! They came on time, dressed up, and were very professional. I was also very pleased that I was able to maintain in contact with them whenever we wanted to reach them (asking questions, knowing their estimated arrival, etc) - so communication was a definitely plus! Last but not least, their jazzy music was amazingly beautiful, upbeat, and welcoming. Everyone enjoyed their presence :) To those reading this review, we STRONGLY & HIGHLY RECOMMEND booking Retro Notes for any Jazzy Band needs. Thank you again Retro Notes :) Looking forward to working with you again.
We hired the band for my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday and they were fantastic! They came very early and had plenty of time to set up and get their instruments in tune, they were extremely professional, and also so nice! I would highly recommend them!!!
We had Retro Notes for our Summer Series Concert at Sunny View Retirement Community. Our residents loved it! Some residents were dancing to the tune and others were singing along. Everyone had a wonderful time toes tapping! Thank you for the fun performance and a great start of summer.
TLDR; Getting people to care as much as you do is so, so rare, and I felt Bendik & Retro Notes's attention and care in every step of the process. I am sincerely thankful for their presence, and am planning to hire them again!
Booking + Contracting
I contacted Bendik about hiring Retro Notes for a backyard party/wedding reception. He called me within 12 hours of initial contact, and we connected about what I was looking for the event. I had little to no experience with booking bands, so Bendik patiently walked me through what to expect when hiring a band, what kinds of music his group played, what type of band would be appropriate for our gig, and what information he needed in order for the performance to be successful. He was very easy to talk to about logistics and pricing, and worked with me to make sure that we found a mutually agreeable price that made both parties whole. After these initial conversations, Bendik sent a copy of contract to my email to review and once it looked good, we signed the contact and paid for the band via GigSalad.
Following contracting, Bendik and I exchanged many emails. He generously offered to have his band learn a couple new songs for our event. I thought this was such a special sentimental touch to incorporate into our reception, and we were so grateful the group would go out of the way to do that for us. Bendik reached out with multiple drafts of the song list to get my feedback. Bendik was quick to respond and highly available to answer our questions, confirming final logistic details to make me feel comfortable.
Bendik asked to set up a couple hours in advance of the start of our party to make sure soundcheck and equipment flowed smoothly. Once everything was set up, he and the pianist played instrumental music for 1.5 hours, followed by the vocalist and drummer joining to round out the band for another 2 hours of music. The music was lovely -- the group had the finesse of many gigs together and we could tell they were comfortable around one another. Our guests were highly complimentary and wanted us to share Retro Note's booking information so they could book the band for their own events.
I have nothing but the most positive things to say about Bendik and Retro Notes. They are professional, great at what they do, and I'd love to invite them for future parties we host. Thanks again to Retro Notes for adding that extra sparkle to our party!
Band was able to accommodate my last minute needs. Great appearance, Great sound!! Thank you!!
I requested Retro Notes last minute, and they where able to make it to my Corporate Event with little notice. Overall, great experience with this band! Thank you! I will be sure to book you again in the future!!
Response from Retro Notes:
Thanks Casie. Five hours notice is a new record for us too, but we are very glad to help out!
I am so glad we hired Retro Notes to perform at our senior retirement center event. They were fantastic! They played a nice variety of music and had everyone smiling and humming along. One of the musicians walked around the room and visited each table while he played, making it a personal experience. Dancers in the front were fun to watch too. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The band arrived on time and were efficient with setup and tear down. Communication was good before and during the event. I would definitely hire Retro Notes again.
We were in a tiny space and the band really made it work. I thought guests would be more comfortable in other rooms but they all celebrated and danced with the band the entire time. They made it really fun. Best of all they set up early before the rush of guests.
We hired Retro Notes for our private party. Our decision to add live music to our party was kind of last minute, but Retro Notes was very professional and accommodating in terms of working with our time and space constraints. We worked out all the details in just a few mails. The responses from the band manager were always fast and clear and they were able to meet all of our requests.
The band showed up promptly on the day of the gig. They brought all their equipment and sound system and setup everything perfectly within the space we had reserved for the band. The music was very, very good. The quality of the musicians and the show they put on was certainly well beyond our expectations. It's like bringing a performance from Yoshi's stage to your own party. They were not only excellent musicians, but their low key but adorable stage presence and kept the full attention of our guests during the entire set. The quality of the sound system they brought was very good, not too loud but very clear and balanced.
Overall, this was a superb experience. We would definitely recommend Retro Notes for parties and events as a first rate jazz band that provides a memorable performance.
I'm on the board of a local non-profit down in the south county area and came across Retro Notes via many recommendations & their performance at the SJZ Summer Fest this year. I was definitively not let down at all by our entertainment choice, they add the perfect touch to our event. We did "cocktail party" style award event with a little difficulty getting set up due to the venue but.... as soon as these guys kicked off their set all heads turned, chat paused for a bit, and it was the as I said already, the perfect touch to pull our event together and make it great. I pride myself in finding fantastic talent every year for our event and oh was I smiling to say, "yeah book the band" ha ha as I kept hearing comment of our great they were. Talking & mingling was able to still continue while they played and we also have handful of guests take to the dance floor during their sets. So in summary, great band, highly recommended entertainers, and they were also So accommodating day of the event And communicated quite well from initial inquiry and time leading up to our date. (*bought a CD from them that day and it's currently being playing in the car now)
“Wonderful!” “Love it!” “We should have them play longer!” These are some of the comments I received after our gala event last week. We hired Retronotes to play for an hour at the start of our 300+ attendees corporate event. The focus was to connect or reconnect with people. We did not have a music program in the past so decided just to have jazz for an hour to set the mood. What a pleasant surprise! We received many compliments from attendees. In retrospect, we should have hired them for the entire event. Bendik and his group are very professional and easy to work with, from pre-booking to confirming details for the event to setup and tear down. I would definitely recommend them and hire them again!
What to Expect
We can come with groups in the range of 2-9, depending on your preference (above quote is for duo, 9 would be full band, vocalist, 2 horns, drums+percussion and dancers). We could do instrumental or vocal, and we can be background swing/ballads or play for dance with upbeat swing and latin with drums + percussion and several horns (Clarinet, Sax, Flute, Trombone).
The most booked configuration is a trio (about 25 events in 2018). The most popular trio is with vocalist (vocals, keyboard, horns (Clarinet+Sax). We also do instrumental trios (drums or bass, keyboard, horns). The full band (5-7) provides a wider range of styles (13 events in 2018) and is recommended for larger parties and weddings.
For weddings or memorial services, we also can do more classical pieces during the ceremony.
For corporate events and private party we can also add DJ service, esp. if you like specific dance tunes.
Retro Notes are a San Francisco Bay Area Jazz band combining elements of Swing and Jazz Standards with contemporary vocals and rhythms. Alexandra Beltran's sensual vocals and Bendik Kleveland's velvety sax blend seamlessly to create a bewitching sound.
Alexandra is an old soul, who began her musical journey at a young age. She has performed at multiple events and venues including the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and countless others. Known for her passionate and deep contralto vocals, Alexandra’s rich and sultry voice will leave you captivated.
After growing up playing classical music in Norway, Bendik explored the world with studies and work in England and France before he settled in the Bay Area. He was intrigued by the vast opportunities of exploration in musical improvisation. He played alto and bari saxophones in the Stanford Jazz Orchestra. When he started losing his hearing in one ear, he decided to drastically step up the pace of practice. His hearing still intact, he gives it all for every performance.
Retro Notes was formed in early 2017 in Santa Clara, CA. They have performed at local art and jazz festivals as well as numerous private engagements.They have been influenced by artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Amy Winehouse. Their music has been described as “a gulp of ice cold water on a hot summer evening.”
Additional Booking Notes
We bring entire PA sound system for inside or outside events. We can also add DJ/lights. We just need electrical outlet within 50 feet.
Past Booked Events
|August 16, 2019 • 5:00pm - 8:00pm||Cocktail Party|
|July 08, 2019 • 7:00pm - 8:30pm||Birthday Party|
|May 11, 2019 • 6:00pm - 10:00pm||Cocktail Party|
|March 15, 2019 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|February 02, 2019 • 4:30pm - 6:30pm||Nonprofit Event|
|January 19, 2019 • 8:00pm - 9:00pm||Birthday Party|
|November 22, 2018 • 3:00pm - 4:30pm||House Party|
Here are songs we played the last 3 months as of January 21, 2018:
Aint no sunshine
All of me
Baby it's cold outside
Bei Mir Bistu Shein
Button up your overcoat
Bye bye Blackbird
Bye bye blackbird
Chega de saudade
Christmas time is here
Dance me to the end of love
Don't get around much anymore
Five Foot Two
Fly Me To The Moon
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
In the mood
It don't mean a thing
It's only a paper moon
La vie en rose
Let's fall in love
Lullaby of birdland
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
My Favorite Things
Night and Day
Night in Tunisia
One o'clock jump
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Saint Louis Blues
Some day my prince will come
Song for My Father
Take the A train
The days of wine and roses
The shadow of your smile
Too Darn Hot
What a wonderful world
When the saints - Gospel
You know I'm no good
You'd be so nice to come home to
Your heart is as black as night
Influences & Inspiration
Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Post Modern Jukebox.
No special requirements.