August 16, 2001
In the world of moviemaking, Woody Allen is an auteur. In the world of jazz, Woody Allen is a rock star.
Though he plays a mean clarinet, most people came to see Allen last week at the Jazz Bakery for his star power.
To promote his upcoming film "Curse of the Jade Scorpion," Allen agreed to a three-city West Coast tour with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band, with whom he performs regularly in New York.
Those lucky enough to snag tickets for the first of two performances began arriving hours before the show. The 230-member audience ranged from black-clad Hollywood-ys like Ben Stiller and Giovanni Ribisi to regular folks like Bill Schohl. "This is as much an event as a performance," Schohl said.
Any doubts that the Jazz Bakery crowd was there for Woody more than music were settled at the second night's show. As dozens of reporters and cameramen lined the outside of the venue waiting for Allen and his "Jade Scorpion" co-stars, the band's pianist Cynthia Sayer could be seen snapping her own pictures of the reporters, undisturbed.
Allen even managed to deprecate his audience in the manner of a rock star. Standing to introduce the band members at the end of the first evening's set, Woody announced that the final number would be "a Jelly Roll Morton tune that expresses how we really feel." With that, the band launched into "Good Old New York."
Despite the jibe, the audience loved the show. And so did Allen. "It's always great for us," he told The Journal. "I'm not good enough to know when I'm bad."