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Celebrating the 2019-2020 Super Fans

Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper By

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You've seen them around. They're at all the gigs, their attention focused deeply on the bandstand, as much a part of their local jazz scenes as the musicians and venues. They know and love the music, and musicians love them back. These passionate music-goers are the super fans, and they are an essential part of the concert experience.

Every other month or so, All About Jazz focuses the attention back on a jazz Super Fan to find out who they are and what they love about jazz. The last two years brought us more of these jazz heroes—including our first twin brother Super Fans!

2020

Arnold and Donald Stanley

For our first two-for-one Super Fans column, we present the JazzTwins, Arnold Stanley and Donald Stanley, who got started pretty young (just wait till you see who played at their high school concerts). All jazz Super Fans are VIPs, but these two take things to another level. From invitations to musicians' family dinners to being the inspiration for a composition on a Grammy-nominated CD, the JazzTwins are, in the words of that Grammy-nominated artist, "Fans who become friends who become family.." Wondering who that might be? [ continue ]

Jonathan Glass

New York, New York, we can't imagine our latest jazz Super Fan thriving anywhere else, inspired as he is by the sports teams, the museums, the art galleries, the theater, and the jazz clubs---perhaps most of all, the jazz clubs. You might have spotted him, sketchbook in hand, capturing the spirit of the night's performance for posterity—except on the rare occasion that an artist objects. Read on to find out who did. Spoiler alert: it wasn't Henry Kissinger! [ continue ]

Claiborne Ray

If you were a fan of the New York Times' long running Science Q&A column, you'll recognize the name of our latest Super Fan, who was its author for 31 years. And if you've been a frequenter of New York jazz clubs you'll surely recognize her from her ubiquitous presence on the scene, where she's rarely seen without her signature wide-brimmed topper. A night owl from infancy, according to her ex rodeo queen/classical musician mother, she was destined for a life of jazz and cocktails. [ continue ]

Don Swann

Raised near the Kentucky-Tennessee border, Don Swann grew up hearing church hymns and country songs. But, as with many Super Fans of his generation, radio exposed him to a wider world of music, and he soon developed a passion for R&B and blues (and, along with it, the habit of sneaking into the local roadhouse—a story that alone makes this interview worth reading!). But it was the youngster's passion for jazz, specifically, that played an important role in his stint in the U.S. Navy. [ continue ]

Mike Black

Mike Black might not be the first Super Fan we discovered on Twitter, but he is surely one the most enthusiastic about, well, everything! Apparently born with a positivity gene, Mike waxes fondly about a Brooklyn childhood steeped in jazz, the current scene in his adopted home, and the wonders of a little thing called the Internet. Embracing jazz and technology with equal enthusiasm, our International Jazz Day Super Fan even turned our desert island disk question on its ear—read on to find out how. [ continue ]

Tom Kohn

Like many of our Jazz Super Fans, Tom Kohn's passion for music started when he was a teen, with a job in a record store and a penchant for acquiring albums that would impress even the most dedicated adult collectors. He grew up into a music business day job but, after suffering a life-changing event, he decided to make a go of his first love: selling records. At the same time, the Rochester, New York native found what we think is a pretty creative solution to the problem of spending time and money traveling to New York City to attend concerts; read on to find out what it was. [ continue ]

2019

Matt Yaple

Growing up in a small Midwestern town in a "whites only" county may not seem like the obvious path to jazz fandom. But when AM radio is your childhood companion, piping the likes of Mahalia Jackson, Ray Charles, and Dinah Washington to you under the bedcovers at night, and Dad is a multi-instrumentalist jazz fan who takes you to the state fair to hear Duke and Ella and Louis, well, all bets are off. You just might find that life takes you from that small town to overhearing advice in the kitchen of one of the world's jazz greats (read on to find out who). [ continue ]

Andrew Rothman

Lawyer, audiophile, lifelong arts enthusiast, our newest Super Fan's life plan was to be a classical pianist, until college took him in another direction. But it was two "major epiphanies" (the first time he heard Miles Davis and, later, Bill Evans) that turned him into a jazz Super Fan—such a Super Fan, in fact, that he and his wife, Diane, host a house concert series that since 2004 has been presenting some of the world's top jazz musicians. (Be sure to click on the main image to see a slideshow of some of luminaries who have performed in the Rothmans' concert series.) [ continue ]

Joyce Wilson

Having grown up in a home without popular music, our newest Super Fan came to jazz a bit later than many. But all it took were one concert and two LPs to turn this open minded spirit into a lifelong fan with a very personal take on all things jazz. In fact, the way Joyce Wilson framed her answer to the "desert island" question is so unique that we decided to allow two albums on her island! Read on to find out what they are. [ continue ]

Marta Ulvaeus

We love our jazz Super Fans column. It allows us to delve into the lives of so many amazing, truly interesting people, and our May Super Fan is no exception. Educator, deejay, dedicated concert-goer with big ears and a huge heart, Marta Ulvaeus is a true jazz lover—and the musicians who know her love her right back. Now, which Ellington recording do you think opened that huge heart to jazz? Read on to find out. [ continue ]

Marla Kleman

A life-long jazz fan, Marla Kleman cut her teeth on the likes of Buddy Rich and Benny Goodman, was adopted as an adult by her favorite singer, Rebecca Parris, and now has a dream job that allows her to enjoy live jazz as often as she likes. But listening to music and rubbing elbows with the musicians she so appreciates isn't enough for our March Super Fan: she's also an avid reader of jazz history, and believes deeply in supporting the music she loves. We think she's pretty super. [ continue ]

Jeff Evans

A life-long jazz fan, Marla Kleman cut her teeth on the likes of Buddy Rich and Benny Goodman, was adopted as an adult by her favorite singer, Rebecca Parris, and now has a dream job that allows her to enjoy live jazz as often as she likes. But listening to music and rubbing elbows with the musicians she so appreciates isn't enough for our March Super Fan: she's also an avid reader of jazz history, and believes deeply in supporting the music she loves. We think she's pretty super. [ continue ]

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