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Meet The Jazz Audience: Raul Robinson

In the last few decades, June has become the busiest month for jazz in New York City, home to the biggest jazz scene in the world. But who is actually going to these shows? A small team of Bloggers Supreme attended the festivities -- primarily, the CareFusion Jazz Festival New York. In between our reports on various goings-on, we spoke to of the people who were actually in the audience. We started off every conversation with the simple question: how did you hear about this show? And be sure to check out more of our Meet The Jazz Audience series. --Ed.

Raul Robinson, "old enough to know better"
Performer: McCoy Tyner Quartet feat. Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding, Francisco Mela / Stanley Clarke Trio feat. Hiromi
Venue: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
Event: CareFusion Jazz Festival New York +
Date: Jun. 23, 2010

What brought you out here tonight? I've been hearing about McCoy Tyner on WBGO for quite some time. I'm a heavy jazz listener. I'm a jazz fan for years. Let's say for over 30 years I've been listening to jazz and to WBGO. That should tell you everything.

People are going to think we planted you here. You know, they co-produce concerts with NPR Music. WBGO? I listen day and night. I wake up listening to crazy Gary Walker. Love him. I love his show.

Sanity is overrated when it comes to radio hosts. Your shirt says, "I'm the bass player." Yes, I'm a bass guitar player. It's a side-thing for me at the amateur level.

As a musician and a jazz fan, what's so special about McCoy Tyner? There are lots of jazz pianists out there. McCoy Tyner is from the old school. The old school. He's brought jazz to the forefront. He's one of those innovators. Let's put it that way. And listen, I love Esperanza [Spalding]. She plays the bass and makes it look so easy. Believe me, it's not.

I believe you. Today is the first day I became aware of Francisco [Mela], the drummer. He's good, very good. Not to mention Ravi Coltrane on sax.

Yeah, he's no slouch either. Did the fact that this is part of the festival have anything to do with you coming out? This is my first time being here. I'd heard of it, but I'd never gotten a chance to come. After I listened to Gary quite a bit on WBGO, I went online and saw the program that was set up. I said, 'Hey, I've got to be there.' And here I am.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lara Pellegrinelli
Lara Pellegrinelli is a freelance journalist and scholar with bylines in The New York Timesand the Village Voice. She has been the commissioned writer for Columbia University's Miller Theatre and its Composer Portrait series since 2018.