John Seroff, WSWD’s NYC Music Expert

John Seroff always knows the answers to “Name That Tune.”

Musical encyclopedia and recognized tastemaker John Seroff has chronicled the NYC concert scene for MTV Urge, Salon, JazzTimes, The Village Voice, and Brooklyn Vegan. His own groundbreaking music blog, The Tofu Hut, has been highlighted by Newsweek, Reuters, and Blender. John also curates the soundtrack for New Yorkers’ commutes—he’s a judge for the busker-friendly MTA program Music Under New York. As the founder of GreenHouse Publicity, John has represented many of the city’s powerhouse arts institutions and venues, including Joe’s Pub, SummerStage, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Town Hall, B.B. King Blues Club, Highline Ballroom, globalFest, and the New York Hot Jazz Festival.

More than a seasoned music-biz professional, though, John is a live show junkie, catching about 200 performances a year. It’s live music that brought the Tennessee native to the city in 2000—and he hasn’t stopped going out since. “There’s something special about being at a live performance, a kind of alchemy that leaves you more connected with the music and the artist,” he says. “The diversity, easy accessibility, and surprising depth of excellence in shows taking place every night in New York might be my favorite thing about the city.” And John loves music in all its forms. “I’m genre-agnostic, which means I like the obscure and the popular with the same zeal. I treat Hank Williams with the same respect as I do Beyoncé and I think you should, too!” Hear, hear, John! We always listen to whatever new music he’s spinning (which he always is)—especially on Spotify, where he pumps out must-hear playlists on the regular.

Whether you’re searching for something to stream at home or looking to venture out for some live-music alchemy, John will have new, unexpected sounds to delight your eardrums.

John Seroff’s Best of New York City 

Place to hear jazz Probably Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, but I also love Roulette and (le) Poisson Rouge.

Music festival Still gotta be SummerStage; hometown pride!

Most beautiful music venue Subculture is gorgeous…I hope it gets back to regular programming again on a regular basis shortly!

Cabaret Joe’s Pub, now and forever.

Restaurants For special occasions, I treasure the omekase at Kura. For simpler nights out, you can’t beat the bistro food at Krupa Grocery in my Windsor Terrace neighborhood; as a teetotaler, I appreciate its iced coffee and ginger beer options. For tapas (and a great tasting menu), I love Tertulia. And when the weather is nice, the rooftop garden at Rosemary’s promises superfresh dishes.