Adrian Cunningham

Reedman extraordinaire Adrian Cunningham is the leader of Professor Cunningham and his Old School Jazz Band, based in New York City. Adrian Cunningham was voted in a 2017 Hot House Jazz Magazine readers’ poll the Best Alto Sax Player in New York. His most recent album is Duologue, issued on the Arbors Jazz label. Visit him on the world wide web:

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How to be the Star of the Band

At some point, you may have heard some jazz educator rabbit on to a group of students with a speech like, “jazz is a group

The Joy of Sax

The Professor in Bed

Okay folks, let’s talk about sex. We may as well do so…it’s on our minds all the time anyway (just ask Freud). Most of us

How to pick up a musician

How to Pick Up a Jazz Musician

We, in the jazz community, can sometimes get lonely barricaded in our practice rooms or in green rooms. I know it can be intimidating to

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Let’s Keep Jazz Alive…

I’ve heard this speech many times since moving to New York…a charitable request to the audience, and somewhat of a plea on behalf of the

Smalls Jazz Club

Starting Your Own Jazz Club

Do you guys know that old joke: How do end up with a million dollars in the music business?… Start with 2 million and open

I'm sorry I made you cry

A Sincere Apology

Hi folks. I’ve been writing this regular column for a few years now, a pursuit that I’ve very much enjoyed. However, recently I received a

Inside the Musicians Brain

The Mind of the Jazz Musician

Jazz musicians are highly trained professionals, just as in any other skilled professional field. Whilst on stage, it may appear to the causal observer that

Sound Check Guy

The Sound Guy

Performing live cuts to the essence of what we do as jazz musicians. We love performing in intimate settings (because jazz is traditionally acoustic music)

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The Art of the Vibe

With the relatively recent advent of formal education in jazz, coupled with the endless resources provided by the internet, I am excited and heartened by

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The War Between Trad and Modern Jazz

There is a long-standing battle between modern jazz fans and traditional jazz fans. It seems that the trad fans loathe modern jazz, and the modern

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My Confession

Folks, I’m a fairly private person. By now, most of you regular readers may have noticed that my monthly articles are somewhat cheeky observations of

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The Misery of Jazz

I often recall a highlight from one of my first adventures as a young man, visiting the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania

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Staying in Jazz Shape

I’m sure the good readers of The Syncopated Times are well aware by now that jazz musicians are finely tuned creative artists. But are you

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Do Jazz Musicians Practice?

A common question that jazz musicians get asked is: do you still practice? And if so, then what do you practice? In jazz, don’t you

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How To Get That Jazz Sound

Jon Challoner, the trumpet player in my band, told me he recently cleaned out his trumpet, and what came out was “ungodly.” And as any

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How to get Jazz Famous

There’s no denying it, it’s a struggle out there for musicians trying to get noticed on the jazz scene. Getting famous as a jazz musician

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Living in the Moment

Jazz musicians, or any artists for that matter, strive to live in the moment. Living in the moment is a very vital part of making


Jazz Meets Classical

At some point, some of you jazz cats might get called up to do a gig with a classical ensemble, or even a whole orchestra!

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Handling Bad Reviews

If you’re a working musician, like it or not—you’re also a performer. So it follows that a great part of your job involves being on

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The Professor’s Guide to Scat Singing

Jazz is a mysterious art form, full of many eccentricities, not the least of which is that elusive style of singing known as scat singing. Scatting

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The Professor’s Guide to The Blues

Ask any jazz musician worthy of their craft, and they’ll tell you “you can’t have jazz without the blues.” While I believe this to be

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Preparing for the Count Off

There’s a magic moment in jazz…a small window of time…between the musicians taking the stage and counting off the first tune. It may not seem

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The Fame and Fortune of Jazz

I don’t know if you’ve figured this out yet, but I’m a pretty big deal. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think of me as

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How to Start a Traditional Jazz Band

The Professor’s Guide to Starting a Jazz Band If you’ve ever wanted to start your own traditional jazz band, but never learned how to play

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The Hot Professor

I’m a pretty good looking guy. I don’t think that’s an outrageous statement. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to see me anytime soon

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How to Be “That Guy”

How to be “That Guy” You may have noticed last month’s issue of Syncopated Times being perhaps a little lighter in weight. Perhaps you felt

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How to Be Cool

How to Be Cool Let’s be honest: jazz musicians are cool. Statistically speaking, cooler than you. Case in point: jazz musicians are far too cool

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The Lineage of Jazz

The Lineage of Jazz When I was 11, I started playing piano. Not by choice—my mum somehow got her hands on a crappy old termite-holed-musical-disaster

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Jam Session Etiquette

Have you ever watched one of those old gladiator movies from the golden age of Hollywood? Ben Hur, Spartacus…where two lethal warriors fight for their

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How to Pack for a Tour

As a working musician, a big part of the job involves travel. Out of town gigs, big tours, weekend festivals traveling by plane, train, gondola,

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On Turning 40

I’ll be 40 soon. I’m not shy to admit it. All things considered, things are going pretty well so far. For starters, I’ve outlived Hendrix,

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The Professor on Jazz and Dancing

As a bandleader performing for many swing dancers in recent years (in the US and worldwide), I’m inspired to see the reuniting of jazz and

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The Professor’s Guide to Jazz Fashion

Anyone who’s been following the Trad Jazz scene may have noticed something interesting evolving in recent years. Have you seen a Trad Jazz record cover

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How to Become a Jazz Bandleader

I’m not gonna lie: being a bandleader has its rewards. The fame, the money, the women, the Nike endorsements. . . (Oh, hang on—those are

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How to make it in New York

Like most musicians living in NYC, I am not from NYC. I am from elsewhere. Not elsewhere like the West Coast type of elsewhere; I

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The Professor Arrives in New York

I came to NYC eight years ago from Sydney. With a clarinet in hand and a bag full of dreams (and reeds), I jumped the


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