While I was hanging out in the hallway outside the Soundcheck studio at WNYC, waiting for my moment at the mike, John Schaefer was on the air, talking by phone with the freshly minted Pulitzerian sax man Ornette Coleman. The honor apparently carries an odd assortment of privileges and responsibilities. In the first category: during the live broadcast, Coleman put John (and all of New York City) on hold for a couple of minutes - and John did not just move on to the next caller. In the second: the reason Coleman walked away was that his building super was at the door. Something to do with taking out the garbage, it seems. Some things are more urgent than others.
But then this is the guy who managed to win a Pulitzer without first bothering to get nominated for one. John, who was on the jury, tells the story. As jurors huddled for a weekend in March to go through the hundred-plus scores and recordings, someone noticed that despite the official desire for submissions in jazz, film music and other genres, Coleman's latest CD, "Sound Grammar," wasn't in the pile. Another juror, ex-Timesman John Rockwell, sent someone out to scare up a copy.
This was also the year when the paper that employs both of the non-winning finalists in the criticism category, music critic Mark Swed and art critic Christopher Knight, neglected to nominate either. (They did the honors themselves.)