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 Geri St. Clair

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Welcome to KC Super Fans, part ll! Tom and Geri (no, not Tom and Jerry!) aren't the first spousal Super Fan team we've featured (that distinction goes to Roberta DeNicola and Richard Berger), but they're our first jny: Kansas City super fans, and we love them for it. Geri St. Clair and her partner in life, love, and jazz, October Super Fan Tom Wells, make it absolutely clear--should anyone have doubts--that their city has great musical offerings and a powerful ...

Meet Tom Wells

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Born and raised in that other “capital of jazz"--jny: Kansas City, birthplace of Charlie Parker--Super Fan Tom Wells, along with long-time jazz date, his wife, Geri St. Clair (a future Super Fan--stay tuned!), is a huge supporter of the local scene. How huge? Well, Tom and Geri once followed the University of Missouri Kansas City's Jazz Orchestra all the way to jny: Paris, jny: Switzerland and jny: Holland for the “jazz experience of a lifetime." Tell us a ...

OUT AND ABOUT: THE SUPER FANS

Meet H. Alonzo Jennings

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H. Alonzo Jennings, artist, photographer, poet, and jazz aficionado, has been photographing jazz musicians since 1976 and going out to support live jazz music for even longer. His photographs include images of jazz legends such as Billy Eckstine, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan and Cassandra Wilson. “My objective as an artist/photographer is to provide a visual record of these sublime moments of transcendence, reflecting the purity and honest spirituality of the artist's souls." Music is no less than an entryway to ...

Meet Abby London Crawford

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Abby London Crawford is just the sort of Super Fan this column was created for. A jazz hero, she can be seen all over New York city at live music events, radiating love and positivity. But being a listener alone has never been enough for Abby, who's found numerous ways to nurture and support the music and the people she holds so dear. Never one to draw attention to herself, she exemplifies the old adage, “still waters run deep"; if ...

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 ...


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