With two serious jazz musicians, a Big Band fan and a bassist with a love of folk, the band can turn its hand to everything from jazz standards and swing to soul and pop. Every musician is a dedicated, talented professional with a passion for playing live music and connecting with the audience.
As well as playing local gigs (see Events or Facebook), band members have played many private and public events at prestigious venues. These include everything from a dinner dance at the Covent Garden Hotel and jazz at Pizza Express, Soho to weddings at St Michael's Manor in St Albans and Hitchin Priory Hotel.
Why not hire The Kirsta Johnston Band, to make your party, wedding or corporate entertainment go with a swing. Call or email Kirsta to discuss your requirements and check availability.
|KIRSTA JOHNSTON - BAND LEADER, VOCALS, FLUTE/WHISTLE
Kirsta's love of playing and singing began at an early age. She started on recorder, at seven, before moving onto flute, inspired by her dad's James Galway records. Further inspiration came from the Fleetwood Mac album 10 year old Kirsta bought at a jumble sale. She went on to gain a BEd (Hons) in Music, followed by postgraduate qualifications in Acting and Musical Theatre and Music Technology. As lead vocalist in a folk/rock progressive band called Kara, Kirsta wrote two songs on their album of the same name. She's also recorded her own CD of cover songs. Being Scottish, born and bred, Kirsta has an affinity for folk music. But she also loves jazz standards, classical and musical theatre repertoire. Above all, she really enjoys discovering music - old and new - she hasn't heard before.
|JEZ GUEST - TENOR SAXOPHONE, HARMONICA
While he's known for playing sax with The Kirsta Johnston Band, young Jez grew up also learning flute, harmonica and guitar - really only because his brother already played and owned those instruments.
Jez has recorded and performed with household names Will Young, Rebecca Ferguson, Alexandra Burke, Cliff Richard, Alfie Boe and Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet ...and 'the bloke from Whitesnake, can't remember his name'. He likes pretty much any type of music, apart from rap, and currently also plays with a couple of big bands, jazz bands and a function band.
|CHRIS HARTGROVES - BASS, DOUBLE BASS
Chris grew up listening to pirate radio and grooving to Cream's Disraeli Gears. He played violin in the school orchestra before 'torturing' his parents and neighbours on guitar, then bass. Chris came to jazz late, having decided he 'wasn't pretty enough or lucky enough to crack the pop-rock scene'.
|PAUL DAVIS - BASS, KEYBOARDS, BACKING VOCALS
Paul's interest in music began as a 7 year old, discovering Tubular Bells - and he's a big fan of keyboard wizards Keith Emerson (RIP) and Jean Michel Jarre. So it's no surprise his favourite music leans towards new age, electronic and cinematic scores. But he can still play a mean bass on Mustang Sally (but only at gunpoint!)
He's played publicly with more than 100 acts over the past decade (either as part of an act or as a stand in) and is the original bassist with The Pimps, house musicians for the monthly Pimp My Band vocalist open-mic nights in St Albans.
|PAUL CAMPANY - DRUMS, PERCUSSION
Paul, who describes himself as 'old and grey', has been gigging since he was 14 years old. He began by playing in bands with school friends and taking lessons with a top London teacher. After turning professional, Paul played the cruise ships and the London hotel circuit, backed many a cabaret artist and has done his time as a session musician (including BBC radio).
Nowadays Paul indulges his love of Big Band and likes to play just for the fun of it, joking 'eventually I'll get the hang of it!'
|TONY ROBINSON - DRUMS, PERCUSSION
A professional drummer and multi-instrumentalist, Tony's the go-to guy for Jazz and Swing gigs. With a first class honours degree (and 'Best Overall Musician) from the prestigious Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, where he took masterclasses with world-renowned musicians, Tony went on to gain an MA (Distinction) in Jazz.
When he's not playing with Kirsta he teaches, writes music books (he published his first book for drummers while still a student) and works in music publishing. He also gigs with other bands, including the successful jazz trio The Whiting on the Wall.