June 1, 2022

How to get more (and better) jazz gigs in your music scene

It's very competitive out there. I get emails from people looking to play at Frankie's Jazz Club, and I reply, "Cool! have you ever been to Frankie's?"

Then, they'll say back, "No, I don't know anything about it."

Well, you need to! It's not about me wanting to get one more cover charge or meal sold at the club; you need to research the scene that you're on.

Jam sessions in your local scene

The sensible order is something like this: meet the musicians, set up a session, and then ask people if they want to play a gig with you some time.

It won't work if you have this thing in your head like, "I need a gig". Personally, I get turned-off by that vibe.

You don't need to start with Frankie's. I mean, take a look at what's happening at the club: international touring musicians, and the top-end Vancouver musicians. Regular working bands.

Work together with the venue booker

We have to work together. That's why I got into this business all those years ago; I was sick of club owners and musicians working at cross-purposes or, at worst, against each other.

Some old-school people are still like, "Look, I just play music. My job is to come to your club and play really great music, and your job is to pay me, and you deal with all the other stuff." It's not like that anymore.

If you send an email like, "Hey, I'm a young musician and I have a lot of family members in Vancouver, so I could probably draw some people on a Thursday night," then you start a positive dialogue with me, because you checked out the place where you want to play.

We're going to put it on our website, send email, and provide a really great place for you to play. In the case of Frankie's, we even give you guaranteed money. I need you to show me that we can work together and make this gig a success.