Nairobi Gets A Taste Of New Orleans Jazz As We Host The Tin Pan Band


This week, jazz fans will enjoy a taste of the Tin Pan Band. The band is set to dazzle diners at the Ankole Grill in Kilimani for a whole week starting on 12th to 16th January.

Tin Pan is a band based in New York City and Izmir Turkey. Their musical style ranges from American roots music featuring elements of Jazz, Blues Rock, and Country. The band is known for its energy and amazing creativity which has led to their growth of a dedicated fan base and led to many concerts, tours, and appearances. When they are not playing in major gigs, you will find the band out and about playing at their usual spot at Central Park in New York. Even though they have played there for years, they still get large crowds smiling and dancing along to their music. Their wide range of music which has an earthy New Orleans tone is described by many as fun, danceable, accessible and passionate.

The Tin Pan Band currently consists of three members; Jesse Selengut who is on vocals, trumpet, and the piano, Steve Wood on vocals and acoustic bass and Pete Smith vocals and resophonic guitar.  The band which was formed in 2006 was actually Jesse’s idea. They started out as a quartet but tend to be quite flexible in performing with additional musicians. The band origin was necessitated by the need for music that meets people exactly where they are which provides an immediate, pure and energetic release from the everyday routine.

I Wanna Be Like You

Originally, the Tin Pan Band played on the streets of New York capturing many passersby. They produced their first album which featured mostly traditional works of jazz. The album ‘Early Jazz and Americana’ sold a warping 11,808 CD copies which are the highest number of CD sales ever recorded for their albums. This album served as the great shift in the career as a band.

For their second album ‘Alice McNulty’, they incorporated more quirky jazzy tunes into the mix. By their third album, ‘Hounds Tooth’, the band had mastered profound lyricism and produced songs with intoxicating rhythm. In 2011, the band decided to try something new and produced their first live album ‘Underdogs and Thunder cats’. The idea floated well with their audience as the album sold over 8,000 CDs.

Additionally, in the same year, the TIn Pan Band decided to produce an album featuring incredible guest musicians. The album ‘The Home Bartender’s Song Book’ added a great variety of tunes from across the jazz and American roots genres. Their recent 2015 album ‘Yes Yes Yes’ offers wild percussion, saucy instrumentation, and even more heartfelt songwriting.

So far, the Tin Pan Band is doing well for itself with 7 albums and 150 performances annually. They have also accumulated over 40,000 in CD sales over the years. This is an impressive fete since hit jazz records sell about 50,000 copies. The band has performed in prestigious spaces such as; Gracie Mansion, for the Men’s Tennis Finals at the US Open, and at the Guggenheim Museum. This has surely earned them a place in the cultural landscape of the city. Their festival Performances include the HOWL festival, the Williamsburg Jazz Festival, the MUNY Jazz Festival, The Cape Cod Jazz Festival.

Their song ‘Evening’ has 1 million hits on YouTube and is still fast rising. –The song embodies their rich jazz culture with a mix of the blues rhythm

Tin Pan – Evening

Some of their other great hits include;

I Wanna Be Like You’ which is fast-paced yet soulful. You can also check out their other songs on

Jesse has previously played in Nairobi back in 2008 at Mercury during the fundraising effort for the Shangilia Orphanage. He is also part-owner of Ankole Grill, which offers one of Nairobi’s suavest dining experiences. Jesse also writes a bunch of tunes which suit the band’s sounds. He then brings it the group who test it out and see it works for them.

Performance at Pete’s Candy Store


While performing at the Ankole Grill, the Tin Pan Band will also record a live album. On select nights, performances will include collaborative performances featuring pianist Jacob Asiyo, percussionist Kasiva Mutua, and the Nairobi Horns Project (NHP) as special guests performing alongside Tin Pan. There will also be an all-out open-house Monday Jam Session. As the guests listen to this fantastic music every night, they will be treated to Ankole’s signature cuisine of Texas barbecue meats and Sub Saharan African classic dishes.

Tin Pan – Putting on the Ritz


So save the date and treat yourself to some great food coupled with some great tunes!

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