Jazz Interviews

Tips and advice from around the world of jazz

Interviewing the industry

Over the last 3 years I’ve interviewed people from all areas of the jazz industry to get their insight and advice on how you – a gigging jazz musician – can grow your career faster and more effectively.

I’m happy to share my advice and experiences from 10+ years as a jazz booking agent & manager with you, but I’m a firm believer that when it comes to something as important as your career, we should all try to get as many different points of view as possible.

So, I’ve put together this ever-expanding series of jazz interviews and written specific questions for each person – based on their work and experiences – to try to dig out their most useful tips. As always, the goal is to help you:

  • Get more gigs
  • Release your music successfully
  • Promote your project as well as possible

Who’s involved from the jazz industry?

I’m regularly adding new interviews here, but I’ve already persuaded some great guests from the jazz industry to take part.

1) The Jazz Press

On the press side, there are Q&A sessions with the editors of both Jazziz in America and Jazzwise magazine in the UK.

The various journalists featured have written for a whole range of jazz publications, including AllAboutJazz, The Arts Desk, London Jazz, Jazz Journal and many more.

2) Gig Promoters

A BIG focus of this site is on how to actually get more jazz gigs. So, there are plenty of promoters from all around the world in this interview series.

In fact, a while back, I did a survey with more than 40 international jazz promoters who gave some great insight into what they’re looking for when booking bands.

This, along with interviews with bookers for the likes of Cheltenham Jazz Festival in the UK, Jazzkaar in Estonia and Jazz Fest Brno in the Czech Republic provide actionable advice on topics like:

  • How to better pitch for gigs by email
  • What promoters are looking for (aside from great music!)
  • How & why to grow your personal network
  • The promo tools you need to have

3) Booking Agents

I’ve also spoken to a bunch of booking agents who work specifically with jazz musicians. They talk about the things they look for in new signings, as well as how they approach getting through to promoters and actually confirming shows.

In particular, Dutch agents from the Good Music Company discuss their role in developing artists like Snarky Puppy & trumpeter Avishai Cohen and Danish agent Kat Jarby talks about booking avant-garde & contemporary jazz.

If you’re focused on booking gigs for yourself, really figuring out what people are looking for – aside from killer music, of course – can give you a big advantage… and I hope some of these agency perspectives will help you do that!

4) Other musicians

The most-read interview on this site is actually with a musician: the great Kurt Rosenwinkel. He talks about his journey from music student through to international touring, a major record deal and then launching his own label.

I’ve featured pieces from a few other musicians along the way too, who had some very specific advice to give:

I hope some of the things these musicians – and others like them – share, will give you some extra insight and motivation for your own project!

A few highlights from the jazz interviews

You’ll find all of the interviews available below, but if you want a quick overview (or something to check out later) you can download a free copy of my ‘key interview takeaways’ PDF by clicking here.

Here are a couple of quotes I pulled out to get you started…

“There are not anywhere near enough press outlets covering jazz to make it without doing your own outreach directly to fans” – Philip Freeman (USA), jazz journalist & digital marketing expert

“To get international recognition I think it’s important to, beyond obviously presenting great music, invest your time and effort into establishing a following outside of your country” Ernesto Cervini (Canada), jazz publicist & drummer

[on pitching for gigs] “The best thing is having a live video so I can check what the band is going to look like on stage” – Jakub Zitko, booker of Jazz Dock in Prague

[on breaking into a new scene] “Get in with some well-connected local players… Once you have raised your profile by association, you will likely have the contacts and the opportunity to gig in your own name” – Peter Bacon (UK), writer/editor for London Jazz News

Interview with Mario Steidl of the Austrian Jazzfestival Saalfelden

Interview with Mario Steidl of the Austrian Jazzfestival Saalfelden

At the end of August, many international musicians and industry people come together in Saalfelden for a jazz festival against the backdrop of breathtaking mountain scenery. Ranging from intense listening experiences to exuberant dance parties, concerts take place on...

Interview with Dutch Jazz Journalist Mathijs van den Berg

Interview with Dutch Jazz Journalist Mathijs van den Berg

If the goal is to win fans, book more gigs and sell more music, actually making a brilliant album is only half the story: you need to get it out there so people can discover it!  Of course, a great way to do this is by getting reviews from trusted journalists...

Women In Jazz Media | Interview with Fiona Ross

Women In Jazz Media | Interview with Fiona Ross

For today's interview we welcome Fiona Ross, founder of Women In Jazz Media, a not-for-profit organisation created to help support and create an equal, diverse, safe and healthy Jazz Industry. WiJM is a team of writers, photographers, painters, musicians, presenters,...

Interview with Øyvind Skjerven Larsen of Oslo Jazz Festival

Interview with Øyvind Skjerven Larsen of Oslo Jazz Festival

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges as an independent jazz musician is finding the time to pitch for gigs whilst still practicing, rehearsing, writing and doing all the other jobs you're expected to take care of... But until you have someone doing this for you,...

Interview with Pianist, Composer & Arranger Shai Maestro

Interview with Pianist, Composer & Arranger Shai Maestro

Widely regarded as one of the most talented musicians of his generation, Israeli pianist Shai Maestro has, in a relatively short amount of time, built a reputation as a strong musical personality and an in-demand bandleader and sideman. As part of our jazz interviews...

Q&A with the booking agent Jakob Flarer of Saudades Tourneen

Q&A with the booking agent Jakob Flarer of Saudades Tourneen

For today’s interview we asked a few questions to Jakob Flarer from the Austrian booking agency Saudades Tourneen whose motto is this: Creative, experimental, improvised, avantgarde, progressive, contemporary music is THE MUSIC WE LOVE In “normal” times, Saudades...

jazzahead! 2021 (Interview with Sybille Kornitschky)

jazzahead! 2021 (Interview with Sybille Kornitschky)

If, like us, you were preparing for Jazzahead! last year, we know how disappointing it was to hear it was being postponed to 2021.  As one concert after another was cancelled with the onset of the pandemic, we waited anxiously for the inevitable news from jazzahead!...

Interview with Patrik Lindgren of the Swedish Lira Magazine

Interview with Patrik Lindgren of the Swedish Lira Magazine

If you're familiar with Jazzfuel already, you'll know that we try to talk to as many other 'industry' people as possible to extract great advice, strategies and insight that you can use as an independent musician. Of course, releasing music and getting international...

Interview with Krzysztof Komorek of Donos Kulturalny

Interview with Krzysztof Komorek of Donos Kulturalny

If you want to discover more about the thriving Polish jazz scene, Donos Kulturalny, by jazz journalist Krzysztof Komorek, is a great place to start! Krzysztof joined us for a short interview to share his long and varied experience in covering this music. He is not...

Interview with Tina Heine of Jazz & The City

Interview with Tina Heine of Jazz & The City

Today's interview guest is Tina Heine who, after founding and running the Elbjazz festival in Hamburg for many years, now runs the Jazz & The City Festival in Salzburg, Austria.  It's certainly not a conventional festival - with 'blind date' concerts, unusual gig...

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Interview with Mario Steidl of the Austrian Jazzfestival Saalfelden

Interview with Mario Steidl of the Austrian Jazzfestival Saalfelden

At the end of August, many international musicians and industry people come together in Saalfelden for a jazz festival against the backdrop of breathtaking mountain scenery. Ranging from intense listening experiences to exuberant dance parties, concerts take place on...

Interview with Dutch Jazz Journalist Mathijs van den Berg

Interview with Dutch Jazz Journalist Mathijs van den Berg

If the goal is to win fans, book more gigs and sell more music, actually making a brilliant album is only half the story: you need to get it out there so people can discover it!  Of course, a great way to do this is by getting reviews from trusted journalists...

Women In Jazz Media | Interview with Fiona Ross

Women In Jazz Media | Interview with Fiona Ross

For today's interview we welcome Fiona Ross, founder of Women In Jazz Media, a not-for-profit organisation created to help support and create an equal, diverse, safe and healthy Jazz Industry. WiJM is a team of writers, photographers, painters, musicians, presenters,...

Interview with Øyvind Skjerven Larsen of Oslo Jazz Festival

Interview with Øyvind Skjerven Larsen of Oslo Jazz Festival

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges as an independent jazz musician is finding the time to pitch for gigs whilst still practicing, rehearsing, writing and doing all the other jobs you're expected to take care of... But until you have someone doing this for you,...

Interview with Pianist, Composer & Arranger Shai Maestro

Interview with Pianist, Composer & Arranger Shai Maestro

Widely regarded as one of the most talented musicians of his generation, Israeli pianist Shai Maestro has, in a relatively short amount of time, built a reputation as a strong musical personality and an in-demand bandleader and sideman. As part of our jazz interviews...

Q&A with the booking agent Jakob Flarer of Saudades Tourneen

Q&A with the booking agent Jakob Flarer of Saudades Tourneen

For today’s interview we asked a few questions to Jakob Flarer from the Austrian booking agency Saudades Tourneen whose motto is this: Creative, experimental, improvised, avantgarde, progressive, contemporary music is THE MUSIC WE LOVE In “normal” times, Saudades...

jazzahead! 2021 (Interview with Sybille Kornitschky)

jazzahead! 2021 (Interview with Sybille Kornitschky)

If, like us, you were preparing for Jazzahead! last year, we know how disappointing it was to hear it was being postponed to 2021.  As one concert after another was cancelled with the onset of the pandemic, we waited anxiously for the inevitable news from jazzahead!...

Interview with Patrik Lindgren of the Swedish Lira Magazine

Interview with Patrik Lindgren of the Swedish Lira Magazine

If you're familiar with Jazzfuel already, you'll know that we try to talk to as many other 'industry' people as possible to extract great advice, strategies and insight that you can use as an independent musician. Of course, releasing music and getting international...

Interview with Krzysztof Komorek of Donos Kulturalny

Interview with Krzysztof Komorek of Donos Kulturalny

If you want to discover more about the thriving Polish jazz scene, Donos Kulturalny, by jazz journalist Krzysztof Komorek, is a great place to start! Krzysztof joined us for a short interview to share his long and varied experience in covering this music. He is not...

Interview with Tina Heine of Jazz & The City

Interview with Tina Heine of Jazz & The City

Today's interview guest is Tina Heine who, after founding and running the Elbjazz festival in Hamburg for many years, now runs the Jazz & The City Festival in Salzburg, Austria.  It's certainly not a conventional festival - with 'blind date' concerts, unusual gig...

Dave Liebman – Interview with a Jazz Sax Master

Dave Liebman – Interview with a Jazz Sax Master

For today's interview we're joined by a real jazz legend with a career in contemporary music which stretches back nearly 50 years. NEA Master Dave Liebman emerged in the 70s performing saxophone (and sometimes flute) with artists including Miles Davis, Elvin Jones...

Jazz Special (Danish Magazine) | Interview with Editor Cim Meyer

Jazz Special (Danish Magazine) | Interview with Editor Cim Meyer

If you're looking to get your new music to the widest possible audience - as well as use it to get gig bookings later - press coverage is a very important focus. In order to run our own press outreach campaigns better, as well as advise musicians who go down the DIY...