Parlor Tricks is the world's first and foremost industrial ragtime band, a hot-music quartet led with sultry vocals, resonator guitar, upright bass and horn or drums. The music is swing and jazz standards, vaudeville, and bluesy originals -- all distinguished by syncopation and stomp.
We call our music "industrial ragtime" because we approach the music of the last century through our own high-energy lens. We are often booked for Speakeasy, Steampunk, and other creative events. Everything we do is firmly under the flag of great entertainment -- lead by our engaging and beautiful lead singer. The fun and excitement of this music is infectious.
Through subtle power of suggestion and sleight of hand Parlor Tricks has remained a musical lightening rod for more than a century.
Originally founded in 1904 by the Kalamata sisters, Ernestine and Bertrude, who deserted the family vaudeville act to pursue their more bawdy musical aspirations. The act floundered until the sisters recruited bassoon virtuoso Boris Matzatoff to arrange their hit Edison cylinder phonograph recording of “Muffins on Sunday,” featuring Bertie’s now famous flugelhorn solo. Accompanying sheet music sales set the band on the path that it has followed, with occasional personnel changes, to the present day.
Parlor Tricks achieved a new measure of press and popular notice in the summer of 1922 while performing as the house band at Oheka Castle, the Long Island estate better know as the luxurious abode described in The Great Gatsby.
In 2008 Parlor Tricks relocated to San Francisco from New York, inspired by a promise issued by the then 102 year-old Matzatoff of rich audience, ample appreciation, and much improved sushi.
The relocation of Parlor Tricks brought this reaction from the editors of Catfish Musicology Monograph and Journal of Good Sense and Trusted Opinion,
This move breathes new life into a musical act that has survived on great singing, fine songs and scintillating banter for longer than anyone cares to remember.
“I remember,” says Matzatoff.