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Promoters and Agents
In the Jazz business, promoters, bookers and agents help get gigs for musicians in exchange for a percentage of their performance fee. At best, they can recommend appropriate artists, and call upon many resources to put together an ensemble appropriate for your affair. It is rare for any one agency to have exclusive rights to a particular Jazz musician, so you will often see the same musician or group represented by several agencies. Although you might be able to shave off a few points by approaching the musicians directly, a good agent will know which players are reliable, and will make certain that your gig goes off.
In the long run, you're better off relying on someone who does this for a living, since better artists are rarely astute businessmen.