You’ll get a small, local professional group to play in a public venue for about £80 per player.
For a private function they’ll charge you more – normally £100 per player and £200 for a special guest soloist.
If you want a band led by a national name, at the lower end you will be looking at £1,500 for the band for a private function. The named star may cost you £350 – perhaps £500 from the USA plus travel and accommodation. The rates don’t vary much around the country, not even in London. Semi pros and amateurs are often happy to do the
gig for £50 per head but you’ll get what you pay for.
If you have a limited budget, then just say so up front, before they’ve named their price and ask them if there is any way to do the gig at your price. Sometimes they can put in a semi-pro to their group or reduce the numbers and cut their costs. It is worth asking. But this is their living remember, so if they refuse to cut their rates then don’t get cross. Would you find a decent living wage in playing jazz? No? Neither do they.
If the gig is local for them, they’ll probably pay their own travel costs, otherwise they’ll expect you to pay
mileage for travel and accommodation if this is necessary. This is all fair enough.
Ask them to help promote the gig
What you could do is to ask them if they can help you with promoting your gig. They’ll know of local listings, web sites, and might provide you with some posters and so on.
Don’t do this. Its not right.
The real rubbish way of hiring a jazz band is to ask them to take a slice of the door money or to set up a collection. You set the entry prices, you don’t care whether people turn up because you are going to take your profits on the drinks,