I wrote for the Village Voice only one time, very early in my professional career, at the tail end of the full-time jazz journalism stage that preceded my return to classical music after around five years of estrangement. The article was published Feb. 27, 2001, or so the website tells me. That I never returned to the Voice was not because of dissatisfaction on anyone's part; I was just getting too busy with my new line of work for Billboard.
There are plenty of things I still like about the article, a "Regulars" column on Tony Malaby in residence at the Internet Café, one of the crucial hangs in the mid-to-late '90s. I'm especially fond of the bit about Malaby and Tim Berne repeatedly bending at the waist while they played, "like the insatiable 'drinking birds' everyone's grandfather used to have." One detail I reported and enjoyed was cut by the editor: while Malaby and Berne were blowing fire, Wynton Marsalis was directly overhead, pontificating at length in the Ken Burns Jazz series on a TV with the sound turned off.
But there's also a bit in the article that embarrasses me so profoundly now that I've never shared it, either on this blog or on social media. It's a passing bit of casual snobbery meant to help evoke the setting, the inclusion of which now smells too much like a sexist jibe for me to make peace with it. I regret writing it, and I'm sorry it's out there as part of my permanent record.
Still, if today is the day the Village Voice died, then I suppose I can celebrate my one little, tiny piece of it. As for the rest: we live, we learn, we atone and try to do better.
The Tony Malaby column is here, but I'm going to quote the complete text after the page break… just in case.