4 Tips for taking care of your health while on tour

Touring takes planning and effort, and you’ll want to make sure everyone is firing on all cylinders when it comes time to perform. There’s a lot at stake, too, and you risk losing out on money and booking future gigs when you compromise your health on tour.

Eat healthy food

Just because you are on the road doesn’t mean that every meal should be fast food. You need to pack some healthy food and snacks, so you aren’t going to the only places open at 3 am. (None of them are healthy.) Bring a cooler so you have some fresh fruits to snack on throughout the day. Make the effort to go to a grocery store; not only will you save a lot of money, but also your body will thank you for the quality food.

Don’t drive for too long at one time

If you’re traveling with two or more people, be sure to switch drivers every few hours. Arriving safely at your gig and going to all the scheduled gigs on the tour should be the end goal of your drives. Staying awake and alert goes a long way for safety.

If you’re traveling alone in a car, you have fewer options. For more safety and less stress, you should take a break every two or three hours at least for a chance to rest your eyes, relax from the tension of the road, and stretch your legs.

Exercise when possible

Yes, you’ll be busy traveling around, but at some point, you will have some down time. Take a walk, even if it is just around the hotel property or to a nearby park. Most hotels have pools so pack a bathing suit and plan on taking a swim and unwinding in the hot tub. Exercise will help keep your mind engaged and your body functioning well, which will help to avoid getting sick.

20 minutes of walking once a day is great, if you can get more then you should.

Drink lots of water

Whether driving or on an airplane be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated.  Buy a bottle water and drink it during your flight.

Keep your blood circulating. Don’t sit in place for more than 3 hours whether driving or on a plane.

These rules may seem basic, but all of the musicians represented by Night is Alive follow them! How’s that for a #LushLife?

Learn more about our musicians and their schedules

What Makes Being a Musician So Great

Musicians are often the envy of the working world, and for good reason. Seriously, can you think of a more entertaining career? I doubt it. Here are a few solid reasons why music makers have the greatest jobs ever.

  1. Gratification and recognition. Your fans and peers express true interest and appreciation.
  2. Acceptance. Everyone wants to be accepted and have a sense of belonging somewhere in the world. Musicians are no exception and the music world is a very large and diverse place.
  3. Set your own hours. No punching a clock here. Just show up and do what you love every day.
  4. Day-to day variety. Not looking at the same cubicle’s interior every day. Something new every single day and this is how great memories are made.
  5. Meet and hang out with other cool musicians. Musicians are by far the most creative people on the planet. It is how their brains literally work and makes them exceptional at their craft.
  6. Inspire others. We all are looking for some inspiration at times and many times listening to a certain song or watching a performer can trigger some great inspiring life moments.

What about you? Why did you become a musician? Why do you think that being a musician is the greatest job ever? Have you had some great Gigs that you’d like to tell us about? Any tips you have for other aspiring musicians? Leave your most excellent comments below!

Where Did The Word “Gig” Even Come From?

Gig is slang for a live musical performance. Originally coined in the 1920s by jazz musicians, the term, short for the word “engagement”, now refers to any aspect of performing, such as assisting with and attending musical performance. More broadly, the term “gigging” means having paid work, being employed.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the first documented use “gig” in this way appears in 1926: Melody Maker 7 September 1926, with the story byline stating, “One Popular Gig Band Makes Use of a Nicely Printed Booklet.”

Currently the term “gig” refers to a “set”, which is a term that comes from “set list,” which is a list of all the music that an individual or a band is going to play throughout the course of a performance.

In recent years, the term “gig” has been used in a broader context in the economy. Our new “Gig Economy” refers to the new reality that many people now work several jobs just to make ends meet.

Night is Alive books gigs for some of the highest-ranking jazz artists today. Learn how we can provide the right musician for your performance venue at our Contact page!

Top 5 Jazz Festivals for the Ultimate Jazz Lover

If “will travel for jazz” is your motto, you’re in the right place. We’re going to share some of the top jazz festivals from around the country, and the world,  that will probably be right up your alley. So, go get a good suitcase and make sure your passport is ready to go. We’re certain the urge to travel will be even stronger after you read this list.

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Of course, we have to start with what has been ranked as the world’s largest jazz festival. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal was started back in 1979 and its goal was to bring some of the world’s best musicians to the public. Since then, festivalgoers have been treated to performances from the likes of Ray Charles, Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Tony Bennett, Pat Metheny group, Wynton Marsalis, Madeline Peyroux, Aretha Franklin, Esperanza Spaulding, Diana Krall and many more. The festival runs for 10 days in downtown Montréal towards the end of June. This year marks the festival’s 40th year.

Montreux Jazz Festival

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Montreux Jazz Festival

Created in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival takes place in Switzerland for two weeks in early July and it tends to draw more than 250,000 visitors each year. It’s been said to be one of Europe’s best-known events. While Montreux’s foundation was built on blues and jazz, many other genres have found a place at the festival as well. Montreux has seen historic performances by Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

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New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, started in 1970 when George Wein, the jazz impresario behind the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival was hired to design and produce a unique festival for New Orleans. Held during the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, the festival has since turned into an epic event for the city and generates about $300 million dollars each year.

The Festival tends to blend a wide mix of well-known artists. Past performers include Dizzy Gillespie, Santana, Sarah Vaughan, Paul Simon, B.B. King, Dave Matthews Band, Tito Puente, Al Green, Lenny Kravitz, Abbey Lincoln, and Erykah Badu.

Newport Jazz Festival

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Newport Jazz Festival

The Newport Jazz Festival is held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island. It was established by socialite, Elaine Lorillard, back in 1954. It was the first outdoor music festival that was devoted entirely to jazz. Around 13,000 people attended the first festival. This year’s festival will be held August 2-4. Past performers include Roy Hargrove, Gregory Porter, Corinne Bailey Rae, Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Billie Holliday, Carmen McRae, Nina Simone, Muddy Waters, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Miles Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Monterey Jazz Festival

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Monterey Jazz Festival

This year marks the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 62nd season. Founded in 1958, the festival has donated its proceeds to music education from the very start. Dave Brubeck was instrumental in getting city approval for the first festival. He even performed for the city council to persuade them to let it take place. He ended up performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival 14 times.

Five hundred top jazz artists perform on nine stages during the third weekend in September. In addition to the performances, the Monterey Jazz Festival features jazz conversations, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, clinics, and an international array of food, shopping, and festivities.

We know there are many more festivals out there for jazz lovers like you. Tell us. What are some of your favorite jazz festivals?

Are Artists Suffering from Streaming?

Who is really buying music?  Where the money comes from now.

The music industry has gone through some monumental changes in the past 20 years.  What was once driven by consumer purchases has now become a subscription-based model that eliminates the need for physical record stores.  For the vast majority of the modern music industry, selling records was the main business focus.  While some fans still prefer to purchase a hardcopy, the popularity of Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Pandora have opened up a new way to access artists’ material.  This computerized marketplace has begun a new debate within the music industry: how will artists get paid in the world of the digital download, and where does the money come from?

Without a doubt, the way most big acts make their money is touring.  Many artists are under the impression that when signing with a record label they will see profits once their album is live.  While a record label can legitimize an artist and help them launch their career, labels expect to be paid back for the money they put up for the new artist.  Even as the album begins to pick up steam and sell, the label is paid first. For example, the Black Eyed Peas didn’t see a big paycheck until their second hit album.  Touring is different. The artists are paid for the shows they do. The more shows they do, the more they make. U2 is one of the most successful bands, and it all comes from the groups’ dedication to hit the road and tour.  A recent Citigroup report stated that of the $43 billion in revenue the music industry produced in 2017, only 12% when to the artist. Of that 12%, touring was by far the most significant profit center for musicians. While streaming services are increasing in popularity, these earnings are not enough alone.  Album and soundtrack licensing sales usually come in second with streaming services, publishing, and merchandise sold at concerts following in that order.

Streaming through a music service has in many ways replaced the era of purchasing a record or CD.  Each of these streaming services, Pandora, Apple Music or the largest of the services Spotify, all have different pay scales.  For streaming services, it’s all about the number of requests for a particular song or artist. This is where a new artist will find it difficult to break in.  Many up and coming artists are not going to have enough requests on the platform to see any real money. Many streaming services do not count a song until it has reached 1000 requests.  These services benefit famous artist disproportionally from a new artist.

While there are still many methods for musicians to make a living, social media and the new marketing trends are leading the way.  Instagram, Facebook, and the 24/7 information cycle require musicians that want to reach the top to have a complete package to get there.       


Jazz on the Mind

You love jazz. You love how it sounds and how it makes you feel when you’re listening to it.  But have you ever thought about how it can affect your health? If you listen to your favorite jazz albums on a regular basis, you are helping your body and mind in a variety of ways.  Here are just a few of those health-related benefits.

Jazz Is Great For Stress Relief

After a tough day, go ahead and put on your favorite jazz album and cook, soak in the tub or go for a drive. If you have been doing that already, you’re on to something. When you’re stressed, jazz music can help you relax in a major way. Not only can it take your mind off of the day’s events, but it can also help facilitate relaxation. That’s why some music therapy treatment programs pair music listening with progressive muscle relaxation to further reduce anxiety.

Jazz Stimulates The Mind

Those pulsating, and sometimes frenetic, rhythmic patterns found in jazz music don’t just sound great – they help your brain feel great as well. As you listen, your brain will mimic those patterns, causing increased neural stimulation to occur as a result of the mental gymnastics.

Jazz music can also help you think more creatively. By listening at a moderate level, you will increase your brain’s processing difficulty. This then leads to abstract processing, which promotes higher creativity overall.  So if you are writing, painting, studying, or simply need a mental boost, crank up the jazz.

Jazz Can Help You Sleep Better

Tossing and turning at night?  Studies have shown that listening to downtempo jazz can help you catch those Zzzs.  Jazz can help reduce noradrenaline, a stress-related brain chemical, and acts as a sedative while you are trying to go to sleep. If you have been having a tough time at bedtime, try popping in your earbuds and putting on your favorite slow jazz album.  We’re sure that, as a jazz fan, you’ll enjoy it much more than counting sheep.

Blog written by Devon F.  

Symbolic Jazz Albums

There are a lot of great jazz albums out there. Because of that, it’s kind of hard to nail down what’s a classic and what’s just a solid piece of work. So, we’re going to share some albums with you that have left lasting impressions on jazz lovers over the years. Please note that these albums are in no particular order.


John Coltrane
Blue Train

Coltrane recorded “Blue Train” in 1957 during his residency at Five Spot Café. At the time, he was a member of the Thelonious Monk Quartet.  He recorded the album with Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.  “Blue Train” has appeared on a number of essential jazz album listsIt represents the pinnacle of Coltrane’s hard bop phase, right before he moved on to more globally inspired sounds. “Blue Train” was released on Blue Note Records in 1958.


The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Time Out

“Time Out” was recorded as an experiment to convey the musical styles that Brubeck discovered during a Department of State sponsored tour of Eurasia. The Quartet was only allowed to create it after they recorded a more conventional album made up of songs of the American South. The album featured Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums. Critics initially panned the album, but despite the negative reviews, “Take Five” became a Top 40 hit single and remains the biggest-selling jazz single of all time.  Released in 1959, “Time Out” also became the first instrumental jazz album to sell over a million copies.


Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown

Sarah Vaughan

Vaughan’s selftitled album has often been called her greatest. Recorded in 1954, it is the only collaboration between Vaughan and jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, who won the DownBeat magazine critics’ poll for New Star of the Year that same year. In addition to Vaughan and Brown, the album featured Paul Quinichette on tenor saxophone, Herbie Mann on flute, Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums.  ”Sarah Vaughan” has been recognized for it’s remarkable ensemble work, gorgeous standards, and an intuitive interplay between Vaughan and her horn players, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.


These are just a few of the many essential jazz albums in existence. If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check back in the coming weeks when we discuss jazz festivals for the ultimate jazz lover!

5 Music Software Must-Haves

The art of recording has developed alongside advancements in technology.  In fact, tech mixes so well with the art of recording that it is now the only way to make music.  To have an album released nowadays and not be from the digital realm is an oddity.  Thirty years ago, it took rooms of mixing boards, amps, booths, tape recording equipment, and trained professionals who knew how all that equipment worked and all the little tricks to get the sound right.  That is no longer the case.

Successful artists still use much of the “old ways” to make their albums sound perfect, but the advancement of home recording software has leveled the playing field for those who want a richly produced sound without the expense and expertise.

If you are looking for a music software system to create your own home recordings, here is a list to help you find what works and is the best fit.  This list was created after researching what systems are available in today’s market, how long the system has been a force in the industry, and what level of tech is required to get the job done.


5 Music Software Must-Haves


  1. GarageBand ( Apple)

The best thing about GarageBand is that it is free and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Simply purchase an iPad, download GarageBand, and you are ready to go.  Apple packs a ton of additions to the stock program, and beats, instruments, and live recording are also part of the package.  It will not get you the same studio quality as some other systems on this list, but for very little money and hassle it will make your music sound great.

  1.   Ableton Live  (Windows, Apple)

Ableton Live has been making a name for itself for years.  Released in 2001, it was one of the only software programs that could change the tempo of the music without affecting pitch.  The ability to have a music software system that can record and mix live performances placed Ableton Live in a league of their own.  The mixing capabilities are still some of the best-designed software on the market today.   


  1.   Image-Line FL Studio (Windows)

This software system gained popularity for its ability to create amazing loops.  First known as FruityLoops, FL Studio is used widely in hip-hop and electronic dance music (EDM). FL Studio is also a favorite with producers for its ease of use and editing capabilities.

  1. Logic Pro (Apple)

Logic Pro has been on the scene from the beginning.  Logic Pro is a full-feature music production system that can create professional-grade music.  Apple purchased Logic Pro in 2002. The extra add-ons and features that Logic contains make it easy to control while maintaining a conservative user interface.

  1.   Avid Pro Tools (Windows, Apple)

Pro Tools is the top music production software system used today in the music industry.  Avid, the creator of Pro Tools, is the movie industry standard for video production, so it was only natural for them to own the audio market too.  Pro Tools has a few different levels available depending on where you are starting.  (maybe include a sentence or two about the different levels that are available, i.e. Pro Tools First, Pro Tools, Pro Tools Ultimate.) They also make proprietary hardware for their professional level software system.


While there are many programs to choose from, this list represents the systems that have displayed longevity, a strong fan base, and the ability to consistently get the job done.  Pro Tools as our number one pick offers a level of depth and focus that has made it a mainstay in the music industry, but any of these Top 5 Music Software Systems will deliver.  


Post Written by Michael Brigger

Sometimes You Have to Improvise

Tours, being comprised of several moving pieces and intricate details, are often booked a year or more in advance. Therefore, things are bound to change after the initial planning stage, and this opens the door for many exciting and unexpected things to happen.

Successful tours require attention to key details: travel, accommodations, transportation, stage plot, and backline, or sound equipment (not the worst place to be at Starbucks when you need a coffee). If one or more of these pieces is not in order, the tour quickly becomes interesting and “fun”. The “fun” begins when details begin to go wrong or disappear – and often times, regardless of careful planning, they do disappear, nowhere to be found except in old faithful email conversations.

One such disappearance occurred on a tour with some very talented musicians, who were able to “improvise” and still perform an incredible show despite the unfortunate absence of a backline.

A backline most often includes sound equipment for the rhythm section, the heartbeat of a jazz ensemble. This particular instance involved an acoustic bass and drum set. These instruments are not travel-friendly due to the fact that they are large, bulky, fragile, and simply too costly to transport due to the lack of support from airlines. Therefore, it was communicated to the venues many weeks ahead of time that a backline would need to be provided for the tour (though sometimes this means the drums are supplied by a reasonably elderly gentlemen who you find dragging pieces from the back of his car shortly before the gig. In that particular case, however, it ended up being one of the finest drum sets made thirty years prior, and the musician had such a wonderful performance that he offered to purchase the set. Sadly, the gentleman was not interested in giving up the drums, though he rarely used them).

With the tour about to begin, the request list had been provided, all venues, accommodations, travel, and other necessities were booked, and no sign of trouble was yet on the horizon. Happily, things did go smoothly at first – but excitement was just around the corner.

In the middle of the tour, en route to the next performance on a highway in central Florida, a call came across the car Bluetooth. It turned out to be the stage manager at the next venue, where the gig was scheduled to begin in a few hours. The call began unassumingly, exchanging pleasantries and a final performance confirmation. But a single question was all it took to set about a whirlwind of excitement that would consume the next three hours: “What kind of bass and drum set will you be bringing?”

Silence filled the car. The reflection in the rearview mirror showed the musicians glancing at each other sidelong, their thoughts clear as spoken words: “Oh great, she forgot to tell them about the backline!” “She is new at this, no wonder something like this happened.” “How are we going to perform without instruments?” The silence was deafening. Pulling the car over to the side of the road at a stop sign, the conversation over Bluetooth continued.

“We all live out of state, where is the backline request I gave to your venue weeks ago?”

“What backline request? I never received one.”

After frantic searching, one thing was made clear: the request never made it to the stage manager.

When these unexpected disappearances occur, there are two options: give up and drive home, which, honestly, is never truly considered; or find a way to solve the problem and continue as planned. In the end, after many phone calls and frenzied searching, an acoustic bass and drum set were secured in time for the performance.

Thinking we were nearly out of the woods, even more excitement ensued when traffic slowed to almost a standstill. Trapped in the sea of vehicles, we had to ask the venue to hold the audience in the lobby so the musicians could have a quick fifteen-minute sound check. Finally, upon arrival at the venue, we mounted the stage to inspect the backline instruments with the short time remaining before the downbeat. The drums were nothing surprising: a used set from a local area high school. But the drums were not what caught our eye. Instead, we all stared at the electric blue acoustic bass that sat perched on stage like a peacock spreading its bright feathers wide to the world.

A truly outstanding group, the musicians performed that night as though no excitement had occurred, a testament to their extraordinary artistry and musical ability. The bright blue bass became a running joke, and we laughed about it during the days that followed. Though that part of the tour did not go exactly as planned, the “fun” we had sticks with us, and the blue bass will always be a memory that musician and myself share and can joke and laugh about every time we get together. In the end, the most important part of any tour are the musicians and the music that is performed, and we will handle any unexpected disappearances with those values at the center. After all, that is what makes this job truly fun.

For more information about the musicians with Night is Alive, please visit our web page or contact directly via phone.


Article by Kathy Salem, Managing Director, Night is Alive

Transcribed by Elizabeth Carney, Content Editor, Night is Alive