Out and About: The Super Fans

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. "Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force... When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand." (Karl A. Menninger) Each month, AAJ focuses the attention back on one of The Super Fans to find out what it is they love about live jazz. By Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper.

Meet Richard Berger

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A regular on the New York jazz and avant jazz scenes, Richard Berger is frequently seen about town in the company of his wife, our December Super Fan, Roberta DeNicola. Music has long been Richard's “positive addiction," giving him the best of times and helping him through the worst of times. “Jazz is very much a part of my life," says the avid supporter of live jazz. “I keep it alive and it keeps me alive." Richard's devotion to music ...

Meet Ari (ImpressARIo) Silverstein

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Some people are jazz aficionados. Then there's Ari Silverstein. Hooked from the moment he saw the light of jazz, was he content merely to listen? Not Impress-Ari-o! Once he was in, he was in all the way, from organizing concerts to getting his New York tour guide license in order to start shepherding tourists to his favorite New York city night spots. Read on to find how how Ari turned his love of music and musicians into a part-time professional ...

Meet Luis Torregrosa

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Dr. Luis Torregrosa has been a Super Fan for as long as he can remember; you could even say his love of music is no less than a calling. Based in Trenton, MI (our first Super Fan outside of New York!), Luis has spent the last 45 years of his life not only enjoying the music he loves, but also helping to maintain and support it, something he feels is the duty of every super fan. If you're wondering just ...

OUT AND ABOUT: THE SUPER FANS

Celebrating the 2016 Super Fans

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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. “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force... When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and ...

Meet Roberta DeNicola

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Roberta DeNicola, a favorite of musicians on New York City's downtown and experimental jazz scenes, has very broad taste in jazz--from straight-ahead to out--but the more out it is, the more she needs to experience it live. She saw her first jazz concert (jazz flutist Hubert Laws) on a date with her teenage boyfriend. However, it was seeing one particular singer that turned her into a Super Fan. “When I saw her, I just flipped!" We figure that Roberta's probably ...

Meet "Mr. Saturday Night" Joe France

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Dubbed “Mr. Saturday Night" by jazz bassist Peter Washington, because for years he was unfailingly at the Village Vanguard every Saturday night, 87-year-old Super Fan, Joe France, has seen--and hung out with--them all: Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Jackie McLean. Nowadays, you'll mostly run into him--on Saturday nights, of course!--at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club. Got a reluctant partner? Check out Joe's cunning method for turning unsuspecting ordinary citizens into jazz lovers!

Meet Francesca "Cha Cha" Miano

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A Newport Jazz Festival-New York concert at Carnegie Hall in the early 1970s got Queens native Francesca “Cha Cha" Miano hooked on hearing live jazz--even though, she says, some of the music she heard on the mixed bill that night was way ahead of her at the time. Little did she know that her magnificent obsession would eventually lead to an unexpected close friendship with one of the most important and influential jazz vocalists of our time.

OUT AND ABOUT: THE SUPER FANS

Meet Don Shire

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Don Shire's club-hopping habit started in Pittsburgh, but his introduction to the capital of jazz was a 1971 Freddie Hubbard gig at New York jazz institution, the Village Vanguard. And he's still going strong 45 years later. One concert particularly stands out. “When it was over, the people just looked at each other. The feeling was, 'Why go out anymore? We'll never hear anything to equal this!'" There is one jazz great that got away, though not for Don's lack ...

Meet "Jazz Judy" Judy Balos

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“Jazz Judy" Balos has earned her nickname. A live music fan since the age of 16 when she saw Nina Simone in concert, this New Yorker has been going out to hear live jazz four or five times a week (sometimes even two or three times a day) for over 50 years; she's even traveled to Africa and Europe to see her particular favorites. Long lines, “sold out" notices, lack of transportation? No problem--Jazz Judy has her ways!


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