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 Donna M.

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Reader: Are you a jazz Super Fan? Do you know a jazz Super Fan? If so, be sure to see the call-to-action at the end of this column. But first, meet our Super Fan for June, Donna M.: Raised on soul music, Donna M. was a relative late-comer to jazz (Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts score notwithstanding!), but once she got the message, she jumped in as a full-fledged Super Fan. Her journey with jazz took her from tragic loss ...

Meet James Busby

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Our youngest Super Fan to date, and our first from the west coast, James Busby was weaned on the popular music of the '70s and '80s. His first jazz concert--Donald Brown at a local club in Knoxville, Tennesse for a $3 cover--was life-changing. He may not have discovered jazz until he was in college, but ever since then he's been in deep enough to go the extra mile--even when the extra mile means driving from Knoxville to Atlanta, or flying ...

Meet John Reilly

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John Reilly--yet another of our Super Fans who works for the city of New York--was born on Staten Island, where he still lives. We don't know if it's something to do with working for the city, or just a function of growing up in the capital of jazz, but John is the real thing. The son of a Frank Sinatra bobby soxer, he got into jazz in his teens, and the first live performance he attended was one of the ...

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!


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