In this article, we explore the arts/market dualism in jazz from a fresh methodological, empirical and theoretical perspective in which post-structuralist thought on performativity, relational space and actor–networks is used to interrogate the ecology of jazz production and consumption we call ‘the jazz constellation’. In this, we trace the positioning(s) and movements of an increasingly well-known jazz musician via an analytic auto-ethnographical account of being and becoming an authentic jazz musician in the United Kingdom. By this, we give a rich, first-hand account of how the jazz constellation operates at and through the individual level. We then consider the extent of the negative grip the arts/market dualism has on jazz musicians, and ask if it can be overcome or eased in practice. Finally, we provide pointers towards future research that might draw on the post-structuralist approach adopted here.