1) Alienate your audience
My #1 advice is to do as much as you
can to alienate your audience. Make them feel like you're
not someone who could even be spoken to or approached. I find
an air of superiority is always quite useful. One of the easiest
way to go about this is to make sure you look down on everyone
around you, including your peers. Remember, people that are
more successful than you are just 'sell outs' with no artistic
integrity. Also, look really disinterested at all times. Treat
everyone like this and they'll be thinking "who the hell
is this guy?" in no time.
Historically, Miles Davis did a great job of alienating the audience by refusing
to acknowledge their very existence; playing with his back to them. Today it's
a little harder to maintain that distance while giving Jazz fans access to your
life and opinions via social media. I'd like to praise Nicholas Payton for doing
a fantastic job at alienating the audience while maintaining an online presence
with his blog. By renaming Jazz into "Black American Music", he's
alienated a whopping 85% of the audience; who are white. He also does this brilliantly
by accusing anyone and everyone of being racist, while maintaining white people
have never added anything through the entire course of Music history. I know
for this reason I can't wait for his upcoming album "Fuck white people"
to drop in late 2015.
2) "You don't get it, you're not
If people don't understand your music
because you can convince them it's too complicated for them
to understand, you're on your way to becoming a famous Jazz
Musician. One good way of doing this is to tell them your
music is based on advanced math formulas. Another way is to
set up grooves that feel really disjointed and uncomfortable.
Jazz fans will be so busy trying to count and figure out the
time signature and what the hell is going on that they won't
realize the music totally sucks. It's important to remember,
your music doesn't need to actually sound good if you can
convince people they're not smart enough to 'get it.' Chances
are, they'll pretend to like it or understand it anyway as
a way to alienate their peers(see advice #1.) Steve Lehman
knocked it out of the park this year using this method, thus
scoring #1 on NPR's "Critics choice best of 2014"
list. His website even has his graduate dissertation listed:
"Liminality as a Framework for Composition: Rhythmic
Thresholds, Spectral Harmonies and Afrological Improvisation."
I have no idea what half of those words even mean. Bravo.
3) Selfies with Famous People
It is important to be seen with other
famous musicians as much as possible, to maintain the illusion
of being important or seen as "Someone people should
know about/Check out." Jazz Fans will judge you off of
those associations and project more relevance on you than
you actually have. Remember: Perception is reality…
and reality doesn't actually exist in Jazz. If you're seen
with important or famous people, you're perceived as important
by association. Also, if you thought selfies were just for
14 yr old girls, WRONG. Vijay Iyer has done some really excellent
work with Selfies. If you have to, go old school and have
someone else take the photo if need be but make sure you post
these photos excessively on every social media platform that
exists. Your stock will be rising in no time!
4) Finally it doesn't hurt to be a
It is very important to have an old Jazz
musician say you're good, so that the audience will also think
so. Remember, unless someone tells Jazz Fans you're good,
you won't be considered good. Jazz fans really dislike making
up their own minds, that's far too much work. And since everyone
knows old Jazz Musicians are dirty pervs, being an attractive
girl can really help you on your way. Old Jazz musicians will
just be so shocked there's actually a girl in the Jazz club,
you don't even really need to be that attractive! So if you're
a girl, seek out an older pervy Jazz Musician to "Mentor"
you. I'm sure he'd love to give you a good "Mentoring."
(The best part is you don't even have to actually sleep with
them, they'll just be so happy a girl is even talking to them)
5) The Soulful Path
Okay, so you're not an innovator, and
probably haven't had an original thought in your life. You
can still become a famous Jazz musician. You're going to want
to adopt a southern accent, a soulful old timey persona and
just go back to being as 'roots' as you can. Talk about "The
Tradition" as much as possible. Bring up 'The Blues'
until people start becoming annoyed with you. Ignore any cultural,
musical or societal changes that have occurred in the last
60 years. Also, it's good to claim some obscure influences.
I recommend Harold Land, Carmell Jones, Booker Ervin, Hampton
Hawes, Curtis Counce… you get the point; anyone no one's
ever heard of.
Regardless of your musical ability, you
can still become a famous Jazz musician if you have enough
money. Unfortunately most people don't have enough money to
afford a career in Jazz. You'll just need the right publicist(there's
actually only one.) But if you can afford him, he will get
your album to the critics and they might even actually listen
to it(or they'll skim through it and put it on the 'best of
2015' list anyway.)