60+ industry professionals share tips & advice on booking gigs, releasing music and promoting your project
The Jazzfuel interview series showcases advice from a range of industry professionals including club & festival promoters, journalists, managers, publicists, record labels and even a handful of well-known jazz musician veterans.
Words & Music with author Matthew Kohut
Watford Jazz Junction: Interview with Festival Founder Chris Newstead
Interview with Lincoln Jazz Center’s Jason Olaine
Interview with Estonian Jazz Union Co-Founder & Jazz Musician Jaak Sooäär
Interview with Metropole Orkest’s Vince Mendoza
Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories
Bandcamp tips & strategies with Florian Arbenz
Interview with BBC Radio’s Linley Hamilton
SubmitHub – Interview with founder Jason Grishkoff
Interview with Yellowjackets’ Russell Ferrante
3dots Venture Studio | Cultural Entrepreneurship with Çağıl Özdemir
Interview with Swiss Jazz Days’ Simon Petermann
Interview with Jazz Promoter and Label Boss: Ahmet Ulug
Interview with Publicist Matt Merewitz
Mailing List Building with Guitarist Dario Napoli
Interview with Donna Schwartz
Interview with George W. Harris of Jazz Weekly
Interview with Nicky Schrire of The Jazz Session
Interview with Timo Hoyer, the writer of “Anthony Braxton – Creative Music”
Interview with Danilo Pérez: Each Culture Has Its Own Blues
Interview with Maurine Knighton (DDCF): $1M for Leading Jazz Artists and Presenters
Interview with Steve Williams of UK Vibe
Interview with Robert Soomer – Artistic Manager of The Metropole Orchestra
Miguel Zenon – Interview with the Puerto Rican Saxophonist
Interviewing the industry
Over the last few years we’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.
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?
We’re 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:
- American saxophonist Mike Casey explains how he successfully crowdfunded his debut album
- Scottish pianist Alan Benzie talks about how he booked a 16-date European tour fresh out of Berklee College of Music
- Florian Arbenz from Swiss-trio VEIN talks about touring & releasing music with ‘special guests’
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