Interviewing the industry

Over the last 2 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



Q&A with Dave Douglas “The Unassuming King of Independent Jazz”

Q&A with Dave Douglas
“The Unassuming King of Independent Jazz”

Dave Douglas is a trumpeter, composer and educator with more than 50 recordings as a leader, including projects with Joe Lovano (Sound Prints), Uri Caine (Present Joys) & Mark Guiliana (High Risk). He founded his own label - Greenleaf Records - in 2005 to release...

Q&A with Michael Fagien of Jazziz Magazine

Q&A with Michael Fagien of Jazziz Magazine

Today's interview is with Michael Fagien, the founding editor of America's Jazziz Magazine. With over 30 years of experience in the jazz industry, he's seen first hand how things have changed and gives his insight on building your audience and connecting...

Q&A with Eva Frost of JazzDanmark

Q&A with Eva Frost of JazzDanmark

Eva Frost is a project manager at JazzDanmark, the national organisation in Denmark responsible for supporting jazz musicians both within their country and with exporting Danish music around the world. A lot of countries have these organisations, but in my experience...

Q&A with jazz journalist Bruce Lindsay

Q&A with jazz journalist Bruce Lindsay

  I spend a lot of time on my laptop checking out jazz and, when it comes to reviews, the name Bruce Lindsay is one that comes up a lot! Based in Norwich, UK, Bruce wrote his first album review in 1974 and has gone on to write HUNDREDS more in the years since,...

Czech It Out! Interview with Jakub Zitko of Jazz Dock in Prague

Czech It Out! Interview with Jakub Zitko of Jazz Dock in Prague

Jakub Zitko - today's guest - was already an established musician before he became programme manager of Jazz Dock. Dissatisfied with the tourist-oriented set ups of many venues in town - primarily restaurants with jazz on the side - he helped start a club where people...

9 Tips From 9 Jazz Industry Experts

9 Tips From 9 Jazz Industry Experts

A whole bunch of agents, promoters, journalists, musicians and PRs have taken part in the Jazzfuel Q&A series and, in this article, I wanted to pick out 9 highlights. Each one of them answered around 10 questions specifically related to their area of expertise and...

How I crowdfunded my debut jazz album 111% in under 30 days

How I crowdfunded my debut jazz album 111% in under 30 days

With record labels in a period of, let's say, "transition" these days, funding your next jazz record with help from fans is proving more and more common. From Kickstarter to Pledgemusic to Patreon, there is plenty of choice for how to set this up and what to offer...

International Touring + Jazz PR – Q&A with Ernesto Cervini

International Touring + Jazz PR – Q&A with Ernesto Cervini

I've noticed a strange phenomenon in the jazz world recently: there are people out there - both musicians and 'industry' - who seem to find extra hours in every day that no one else, myself included, know about. Today's Q&A guest - Ernesto Cervini - is certainly...

Hope you got some useful ‘takeaways’ from those interviews!

If you’d like to get updates when new interviews are posted – as well as other content and tips not published on the website, you can join the Jazzfuel mailing list here.