20 years: Matt Socey on criticism, jazz and Italian food 

In May of 1999, a month after I moved to Indianapolis, I was hired by two companies that I'm proud to say I still work for almost 11 years later - WFYI and NUVO.

Being of the blues persuasion, I've been proud to showcase numerous Indiana blues artists in NUVO (including my cover story on Gordon Bonham and annual coverage of Indy Jazz Fest). Musicians, keep your albums coming. NUVO editorial bosses, I have some cover story ideas for you...

I've seen the Blues Society of Indiana die, the Crossroads Blues Society rise as a phoenix and fade away again. Indy Crossroads Blues Inc. says they're hosting an auto show in Clermont in August with Gordon Bonham performing. There is also a group affiliated with The Blues Foundation called The Indiana Blues Society. We'll see if blues lovers can still organize.

I have witnessed the rise, fall, rise and relocation of the Indy Jazz Fest. This festival is symbolic of the city's image and, at times, identity crises. Indianapolis can handle a major music festival like IJF. It's the musical lineup that comes into question. Granted, the Festival changed hands last year, but last year's lineup was as jazzy as could be and the attendance was below par. Previous festivals brought in The Commodores, Patti LaBelle, Shaggy, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Bonnie Raitt and John Legend, among others.

I'm proud to say my NUVO affiliation helped lead to interviews with Hayes, Green and Legend. I was also MC for Legend and Raitt. I'm thankful for those opportunities. I'll save the "What is a proper jazz festival lineup?" chat for another time.

The wonderful film Big Night (with Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub) is about two Italian brothers who own a small, struggling traditional Italian restaurant (two starches are a no-no) while the Italian joint down the street (in full checkered tablecloth and meatball regalia) is booming. The question for Indy Jazz Fest, the Indianapolis arts scene and the city itself (we are hosting a Super Bowl) is: Who are we? Are we Amici's and Mama Carolla's or Fazoli's and Olive Garden?

It is often said that NUVO is a family business. I'm happy to be the cousin who lives under the sink. When my daughter Emma was born, NUVO brought its love to the Socey home. I've been fortunate to be able to work at places (including WFYI) where I could bring my child to work. Both my newspaper and my radio station are fighting over who gets Emma as an intern this summer.

When Emma was a baby, I would bring her to work so the staff could catch a baby break. Like a sandwich cart, I would go from desk to desk for co-workers to hold her for a few moments. This led to a slew of female workers without children (or whose children have grown up) to huddle around her every time she entered the building. I called this group of ladies The Estrogen Brigade, which sounds like a dandy flipside to Inglorious Basterds.

I attended Ball State in the late '80s and early '90s, so I have witnessed the city's growth for over 20 years. I still miss the great rib joint Zeb's that used to be at 38th and Keystone.

Anyway, NUVO has allowed a blues, jazz and film dork - and a Detroit sports fan (get over it) - to be one of its voices for over a decade. That's a part of the gumbo melting pot that is NUVO. I'm proud to be the andouille sausage of this journalism recipe, even if I'm originally from Michigan, not Louisiana.


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