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 spoke to of the people who were actually in the audience. We started 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.
Ken Sanden, 60
Performer: Jazz Talks — Esperanza Spalding & Anat Cohen (with George Wein)
Venue: The Greene Space at WNYC (Downtown Manhattan)
Event: CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
Date: Jun. 21, 2010
Ken Sanden of Union Square, Manhattan, N.Y.
Ken Sanden of Union Square, Manhattan, N.Y.
What brings you to hear Anat Cohen and Esperanza Spalding this evening? I heard about it through WNYC. I've been here for member events a few times since it first opened. Ever since you've had members, I've been a member — so 25 years or more. I thought this sounded like a really good way to see something.
Because there's also an interview portion? Yes, but also because George Wein is here tonight. Thirty years ago, I worked for a guy who'd worked for him. So I've been hearing about him and sort of followed him since then.
Are you in any kind of music-related work? I'm an architect.
So then does the new performance space [The Greene Space] here meet your approval? It's very nicely done. And I like the way people can walk by on the street and look in. I'm glad that people gave money for this to happen. As we all know, media is shrinking now and investigative reporting is absolutely essential to our country. Between The New York Times and WNYC, we have two of the main ones in New York that can spend months investigating and come out with important reporting. Our country needs that.
No arguments from me. How do you feel about the place of arts in the coverage you hear? I like it a lot. I like that you took over WQXR. And I like Q2 on the internet, which has more modern classical. [Within the last year, WNYC acquired WQXR from The New York Times and launched an online music stream known as Q2. —LP] I listen all weekend long when you have more arts. I listen to all of that. So I think it is – as you describe it – "essential."
Well, it's not exactly me. And I actually do more stories for NPR nationally, which are then broadcast locally on WNYC. This interview is for the jazz blog on the NPR Music website. Well, neat. I am one of those people who listens to NPR only before work and after work, but for about three hours before work and four hours after work every night. I've been doing that for 30 years. So I'm quite a devoted fan of the network.
Impressive. What's made you such a supporter? Mainly because I listen six hours a day, so I don't see how I could do that and not support it. It's impossible. That wouldn't be right. Besides, I want to support it because I want it to be as good as it can be.
I think I was trying to ask why you listen for six hours a day. Well, I don't listen to any other radio and I don't own a television.
There you have it. Generally, I get up very early, so at four or five every morning, I start listening. The local program starts at five, the BBC before that. Then it goes into Morning Edition. I turn it on when I get home from work and listen all night long — to either news or classical music.
So then how would you describe your relationship with jazz? I don't listen to a lot of jazz, but I go hear something at least once a month.
Where do you like to go? There's something called Parlor Jazz in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn. It's literally behind the home of a very good friend of mine. They have it monthly and we usually go. It seats about 40 and you're in the double parlor of someone's townhouse, so you're never more than 10 or 15 feet from the people playing. They have extremely good musicians and they have free wine and food all night long. It's part of the deal. So I began doing that six or seven years ago and its lovely. And then I go to other things in [Greenwich] Village.
Any favorite artists on the parlor series? I don't know if I have favorite ones. I'm not really a jazz aficionado, so it's hard to say who. There's a woman named Aziza [Miller], who is a very good pianist. I've seen her more than once. I've never seen either of these musicians before tonight, but that's not unusual.
What did you think? Oh, it was fabulous. They were terrific and it was wonderful seeing George Wein perform like that. They were lovely. They're obviously extremely accomplished, young jazz musicians.