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Jazz After College

What do the alumni of America’s most prestigious jazz programs do after graduation? We talked with a few of them and got some interesting answers.

Dan "Chimy" Chmielinksi
Dan “Chimy” Chmielinski (Juilliard, 2017) performs with Joey Alexander at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York (photo: Sarah Escarraz)

A college degree is no guarantee. It’s a cliché, but it only becomes truer as time goes on. It’s truer still in the music world, and perhaps in the jazz world most of all.

“There’s this kind of fallacy that you get a jazz degree and all of a sudden you’re supposed to be gifted gigs,” says Dan “Chimy” Chmielinski, a bassist who graduated from the Juilliard School in 2017 and toured extensively with Joey Alexander. “It’s not a golden ticket. I’ve never once been asked to do a gig and asked where I went to school or how many degrees I had.”

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