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 Tina Heine of Jazz & The City

Interview with Tina Heine of Jazz & The City

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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...

Interview with Don Lucoff of DL Media

Interview with Don Lucoff of DL Media

For today's interview we welcome Don Lucoff, a jazz music industry veteran who's worked with some of the biggest artists and labels in a career spanning more than 30 years.  Don Lucoff is the founder and president of the American PR agency DL Media Music. Since the...

Interview with Ray Jefford, Manager to Avishai Cohen

Interview with Ray Jefford, Manager to Avishai Cohen

Avishai Cohen is one of the most in-demand and well known musicians of today. The Israeli bassist sells out large concert halls and has millions of listeners all around the world, all whilst playing what has been described as a sophisticated mix of post-bop and...

Interview with Răzvan Scurtu of Smida Jazz Festival

Interview with Răzvan Scurtu of Smida Jazz Festival

Amongst the many brilliant jazz festivals around Europe, there are those that stick out as being extra special in terms of where they're happening. Smida Jazz in Romania is one of these. Built out of nothing each year, it takes place in a small village in the heart of...

Interview with Michael Stückl of Munich’s Jazzclub Unterfahrt

Interview with Michael Stückl of Munich’s Jazzclub Unterfahrt

For anyone familiar with the European jazz club scene, one name that has been around longer than many is the Unterfahrt Jazz Club in Munich, Germany. Across its 40-year life, it's hosted many of the biggest names in jazz - as well as countless rising stars and brand...

Interview with Saxophonist, Bandleader & Producer Ben Wendel

Interview with Saxophonist, Bandleader & Producer Ben Wendel

Today's interview is with Ben Wendel, the Vancouver-born, Los Angeles-raised and New York-based jazz saxophonist, bassoonist, composer and pianist. We thought he'd be a really interesting guest because, alongside making killer music, he seems to have a great all-round...

Interview with American Saxophone Great Greg Osby

Interview with American Saxophone Great Greg Osby

Hailed by The New York Times as one of the “most provocative musical thinkers of his generation” New York saxophonist and composer Greg Osby has been pushing the boundaries of contemporary improvised music for more than three decades. He recorded 15 albums for Blue...

Interview with jazz journalist Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther

Interview with jazz journalist Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther

Today's interview guest is German-based journalist Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther who currently writes for the Jazz'Halo magazine. He's been a active on the European jazz scene since the 1970s and, as such, has seen firsthand the influx of talented musicians performing on...

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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...

Interview with Don Lucoff of DL Media

Interview with Don Lucoff of DL Media

For today's interview we welcome Don Lucoff, a jazz music industry veteran who's worked with some of the biggest artists and labels in a career spanning more than 30 years.  Don Lucoff is the founder and president of the American PR agency DL Media Music. Since the...

Interview with Ray Jefford, Manager to Avishai Cohen

Interview with Ray Jefford, Manager to Avishai Cohen

Avishai Cohen is one of the most in-demand and well known musicians of today. The Israeli bassist sells out large concert halls and has millions of listeners all around the world, all whilst playing what has been described as a sophisticated mix of post-bop and...

Interview with Răzvan Scurtu of Smida Jazz Festival

Interview with Răzvan Scurtu of Smida Jazz Festival

Amongst the many brilliant jazz festivals around Europe, there are those that stick out as being extra special in terms of where they're happening. Smida Jazz in Romania is one of these. Built out of nothing each year, it takes place in a small village in the heart of...

Interview with Michael Stückl of Munich’s Jazzclub Unterfahrt

Interview with Michael Stückl of Munich’s Jazzclub Unterfahrt

For anyone familiar with the European jazz club scene, one name that has been around longer than many is the Unterfahrt Jazz Club in Munich, Germany. Across its 40-year life, it's hosted many of the biggest names in jazz - as well as countless rising stars and brand...

Interview with Saxophonist, Bandleader & Producer Ben Wendel

Interview with Saxophonist, Bandleader & Producer Ben Wendel

Today's interview is with Ben Wendel, the Vancouver-born, Los Angeles-raised and New York-based jazz saxophonist, bassoonist, composer and pianist. We thought he'd be a really interesting guest because, alongside making killer music, he seems to have a great all-round...

Interview with American Saxophone Great Greg Osby

Interview with American Saxophone Great Greg Osby

Hailed by The New York Times as one of the “most provocative musical thinkers of his generation” New York saxophonist and composer Greg Osby has been pushing the boundaries of contemporary improvised music for more than three decades. He recorded 15 albums for Blue...

Interview with jazz journalist Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther

Interview with jazz journalist Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther

Today's interview guest is German-based journalist Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther who currently writes for the Jazz'Halo magazine. He's been a active on the European jazz scene since the 1970s and, as such, has seen firsthand the influx of talented musicians performing on...

Interview with Frank van Berkel of Bimhuis Jazz Club

Interview with Frank van Berkel of Bimhuis Jazz Club

Despite its relatively small size as a country, the Dutch jazz scene presents an impressive array of music featuring both homegrown and international artists. In this interview we caught up with Frank van Berkel who is the programmer at Bimhuis in Amsterdam - one of...

Interview with music journalist Charles Waring

Interview with music journalist Charles Waring

Today's interview guest is Charles Waring, a British music journalist who is co-founder of the website Soul & Jazz & Funk and freelance writer for a host of magazines including MOJO & Record Collector. Over the last 2 decades he's written liner notes on...

Interview with Kim Macari

Interview with Kim Macari

From Kurt Rosenwinkel talking about his early days phoning Spanish jazz clubs to pianist Alan Benzie running through how he booked a 16-date European tour, some of the most-read Jazzfuel interviews and guest articles have involved musicians who've done the industry...