In the last few decades, June has become the busiest month for jazz in New York City, home to the biggest jazz scene in the world. But who is actually going to these shows? A small team of Bloggers Supreme has been attending the festivities — primarily, the CareFusion Jazz Festival New York. In between our reports on various goings-on, we'll be talking to the some of the people who are actually in the audience. We start off every conversation with the simple question: how did you hear about this show? And be sure to check out more of our Meet The Jazz Audience series. —Ed.
Janie Matthews, "timeless" jazz fan
Performer: Anthony Coleman
Venue: Barbes (Park Slope, Brooklyn)
Event: CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
Date: Jun. 20, 2010
Janie Matthews of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Janie Matthews of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y. Lara Pellegrinelli
So what brings you here? I know Anthony Coleman and he's a phenomenal pianist. I've heard him do all kinds of things, from very avant-garde jazz to stride piano and early swing. I knew he'd be one of the few people who could play Jelly Roll Morton. It's one of the most difficult kinds of piano music. I had to hear this.
You said you know Anthony Coleman. Do you know him [personally]? I know him musically because I go out to hear music a lot. He's a great musician, composer, performer.
What's a lot these days? Once a week? Twice a week? I've been going out regularly to hear jazz for the last ten years or so. Sometimes once a week. Sometimes every night or every other night. Sometimes several gigs on the same night.
Wow. It really depends on my schedule because I work late a lot. I've actually heard [saxophonist] Ashley Paul before and [percussionist] Satoshi [Takeishi]. [Bassist] Brad Jones, too. But I haven't heard all of these people together.
Brad Jones [setting up approximately six feet away]: You know I can hear you.
Matthews [smiles]: I'm being interviewed.
Do you at least have some flexibility at your job? I work in magazines, so it depends what part of the cycle we're in.
I know what that means: if the magazine is on deadline for closing, then forget it. Exactly. It's hard for me to get out in time to make early shows. One of the great things about jazz, say in comparison with classical music, is that the shows start later. A lot of classical music is early. Another thing: places like Barbes, the Jazz Gallery, the Stone — I used to go to Tonic all the time and the Knitting Factory — these are all reasonably priced, so that anyone who wants to can go hear the music. The 55 Bar, Smalls, Cornelia Street Café, Smoke. There are a lot of places where I'm keeping an eye on the schedule.
What did you hear last week? I went to the Undead Festival. Wow, Bill McHenry with Andrew D'Angelo. I've seen that group before, but they're fantastic every time. I also heard a new group called The Thirteenth Assembly with [violinist] Jessica Pavone, [cornetist] Taylor Ho Bynum, [guitarist] Mary Halvorson and — I can't remember the drummer. Sorry! They were really great. [The drummer is Tomas Fujiwara.]
Who are some of your favorite artists? That's so hard.
To narrow it down? Well, I like so many different kinds of music. I try to get out to hear as much as I can because I know so many artists and musicians and want to support live music of all kinds. It's all very exciting to me and I wish I could remember everybody's names, so I could just reel them off.
Well, then just tell me about Mr. Coleman. If the music of Jelly Roll Morton is ridiculously hard to play as a solo pianist, how did he do this evening? Oh, excellent! It surpassed my greatest expectations. "King Porter Stomp" was unbelievable. [Chuckling from Coleman.]