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Live Reviews

People at IAJE 2004

By Published: January 26, 2004

Thurs, 12am: Franz Matzner
Franz (who came up from DC) is one of the most enterprising writers I have ever met. He joined All About Jazz not long ago, and this was the first time I saw him in person. Franz looks great in a hat, he does not hesitate to go up and talk to people, and he's got an excellent sense of humor. We spent some time hanging out with Mike in the hotel room, only to be interrupted by a staff member telling us to quiet down. A real party knows no rules until it meets The Man.

Fri, 6pm: Fred Bouchard
The Jazz Journalists Association hosted a gathering for its members in Le Jazz Au Bar , a new club on 58th Street in Manhattan where shows will purportedly cost $50, with a $25 drink minimum. Only in New York, right? Elaborate Victorian-style couches everywhere, lots of nooks and crannies, and these utterly stupid-looking hotties in tiny black outfits roving around with appetizers. I was introduced to a fellow Bostonian writer, Fred Bouchard , who very shortly thereafter pressed his card into my hand and told me he wouldn't do anything for free, then passed along. Thanks, Fred, I won't be calling, don't worry.

Fri, 8:30 pm: Steven Joerg
Steven Joerg runs AUM Fidelity (in fact, he pretty much is AUM Fidelity), a label that specializes in New York out jazz, though recently he's dipped into electronica and punk too. Steven's got a most righteous place in Brooklyn with a beautiful old pool table, a serious sound system, and miles of discs. We kicked the jams, shot pool, and generally acted stupid. Steven is a deep, grounded guy who's not afraid to speak his mind, even if you disagree. And the legends about his skills with a stick are well-deserved.

Sat, 4 pm: Vijay Iyer
Vijay Iyer burst out last year with two huge records in 2003 (including Blood Sutra ), and on this panel he was joined by critics (and musicians) with an interest in the subject of race. The group seemed to agree that The Bad Plus , an all-white piano trio, was getting far more press than it deserves, simply because of race. That's total bullshit, but the point about white musicians getting favorable press is well taken. Iyer leveled with the basic facts about the situation and provided some insight though his own experiences as a player who's neither black nor white. Race is most definitely not a binary parameter. Is there anyone who's all black or all white, anyway?

Sat, 6 pm: Matt Wilson
The Matt Wilson Quartet played to a packed ballroom full of fans. Wilson is a gifted drummer with unbelievable facility and a sense of purpose that means every bar gets a different personalized treatment. After a zany sing-along, Wilson and his partners donned shimmery glitter wigs for the closing punk/thrash number, whereupon Andrew D'Angelo smashed his alto on the stage (Wilson warned: "Don't do this with your instruments at home") and the crowd went wild. Nobody will accuse Matt Wilson of being boring.

Sat, 7 pm: Dianne
Out of completely nowhere I bumped into a kind-looking woman in the Hilton lobby who wanted to chat. She said her name was Dianne, she was new to the city, and she wanted to be social that evening. It was pretty clear that Dianne was not there for the jazz meeting, but that didn't stop her from stepping forward. We spent a few minutes together, then I let her know that I wasn't interested, but it wasn't personal. It was getting cold outside...

Sat, 8 pm: Sweat
In a fit of absent-mindedness, I missed my last stop heading out to Brooklyn for the night, so I got off at 15th Street and waited for the train coming the other way. Two homeless people came up to say hello: a guy with a bandaged ankle and a cane, and his lady friend with big colorful clothes. After confirming that yes, indeed, I wasn't the police (and no, I wasn't going to tell anyone), they popped down the gate into the tunnel to go home for the night. The man introduced himself as "Sweat."

The last time they were rousted by the authorities, the man who went in there told them to "Go home!" Now that is utterly ironic. I handed Sweat's woman friend $9 out of my wallet, since she didn't smell of alcohol and seemed a whole lot more under control of the situation. No way these people were scamming me. If I can stay in a $180 hotel room, I can buy two homeless people dinner. Cheers, Sweat! Keep off the ankle, okay? Don't let 'em chase you down.

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