How to Impress Your Date with Modern Jazz

So you’ve just met that special someone, but you’re worried they might be a little “out of your league.” You’ve taken them on a few dates and things are going well, but you want to raise the bar a notch, and convince them you’re classy and sophisticated, and in doing so, truly capture their heart. After all, dating in the modern world is a tricky game, and you’ll want to stand out from the rest of the schlubs. “But Professor, you cultured and worldly ambassador of the arts” I hear you ask; “how can I convince them that I’m classier than I really am?

The answer is simple: take them to a jazz club! Jazz is, after all, considered the only original American art form. And everyone knows only smart people like art. So take them to see some jazz. But not traditional jazz. Because traditional jazz is fun. And your partner doesn’t want to be with someone that’s fun. They want to be with someone who makes them feel insecure about themselves, and then rely on you for validation. This is the foundation to any good relationship. So take them to see some modern jazz. And here’s why:

Hot Jazz Jubile

As I said, liking art makes you seem smart. Furthermore, liking art that nobody understands makes you seem really smart. If you go to hear some modern jazz, no one (your date included) will have any idea what is going on (even the musicians who are on stage playing it), so no one can really say if the music is good or bad. (Very few are bold enough to say “this music is crap,” because it will make them sound ignorant.) And everyone else’s ignorance is your gain! Anyway, enough of the posturing… here are some practical steps for you on your big date night to win over your partner:

-When you arrive at the club, demonstrate to your date that you are no stranger to the local jazz scene. Say to the guy working the door “it’s good to see you again” (even though you’ve never been here before). Say it with enough confidence, and they will undoubtedly reply “welcome back”.

-Fashion is important to express your profound passion and connection with jazz culture. So wear a beret.

-Once you and your date take your seat, even if you’ve never heard the band before, tell your date: “This band is great. I really dug their first album. But I think the second album didn’t have the same creative energy.” Your date will be impressed with your deep jazz knowledge.

Some classic abstract Art? Not exactly, the publisher generated this image using DALL·E mini, an AI tool that will build art out of input images you suggest to it.

-From the first note the band starts playing till the final note of the encore, make sure you completely ignore your date. You want to give the impression that this music is carrying you to another place, and any distraction pulls you from this euphoric state. Close your eyes and scrunch your face up and nod your head slowly, as if you’re having a conversation with the band and you’re in total agreeance with what they’re saying. And every time your date tries to make conversation during the gig, condescendingly put your hand over their mouth and say “shhhhh” and then continue to pretend to enjoy the music.

Now, at the end of the gig, if your date still likes you, they will probably lie and say they enjoyed the music.

Some appropriate responses to make you look smart:

I’ve heard better

It was okay, but a little derivative


It was a freedom from the taste-making of mass media and an embracing of a vision that has much more to do with aesthetic satisfaction than the gold-rush culture of popular entertainment, where one takes the clichés of adolescent narcissism into the side of the mountain rather than a pickaxe, some pans, and a burro.*

So that’s it. Good luck, and I hope that this dating guide helps you to win over that special someone. And if things don’t work out, you can always put on that beret and pretend to be French. After all, everyone knows Europeans are smart.

*That was an actual Stanley Crouch quote. If you’re gonna steal, steal from the best.


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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