In July I sent out an email asking musicians, fans, and friends to share their thoughts on building a jazz audience. Good suggestions came back and you can read them here.
Matthew Rubin, who writes the blog Twenty Dollars: Purveyors of the Pointless with his friend Vikram, saw the piece and commented: "Really great suggestions. I especially like the idea of student rush tickets. I think we have to lower the costs of entry to the jazz world across the board." He included a link to his own blog post about the decline of the jazz audience. Titled "The Jazz Audience Smells Funny," it's worth a read.
Matt, I like your idea of scheduling opening acts before shows at major jazz venues. Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis has done that a few times before its jazz concerts. I agree with the commenters who say that these opening acts should be paid. Not as much as Dave Brubeck or Diana Krall because they're not the draw, but enough to make it worth hauling their gear and taking the time to perform.