Dylan Maida has been in my periphery since before I ever got into music journalism. He followed my last.fm account over a dozen years ago. I had gotten onto the site back in college to track the music I listened to, he just seemed like a kid with good taste. Like many para and semi-social relationships on the internet, we seemed to both keep a glancing eye out for each other online over the years.
As I got into writing about jazz music through Nextbop, I never forgot how Dylan kept his eye on what we were doing, keeping us as one of those resources like the many others that kept him on the edge of hipness. We became a part of his good taste. Due to the arbitrary nature of music writing, and also out of a certain degree of favoritism, I tried to write about his various projects over the years when applicable in my own rigid tastes– his work in trio Pink Ride, his solo EP Wild Bill. Every time, that same earnestness that exudes in his music came out in his spreading the word about our writeups.
In all that time over the years, one can see him grow as an artist– learning from the community, making connections with that same ever-present earnestness, always fighting that good fight between seeking out views and streams and striving to be truly seen and heard. He’s always been a kid from Queens, and that has a tendency to come with a bit of a complex, but something about him, even from afar, always seemed to exude kindness. For his friends, for his family, for his cat, for his inspirations.
He dug Steely Dan and Jason Moran with about equal measure. He and his red Nord keyboard were so synonymous, they probably could have sponsored him. The last thing he tweeted to me was “One day I want to make a record closer to *jazz* and I will proudly submit it to you for consideration!” But I would have been looking out for it anyway. Dylan Maida was the kind of kid you looked out for.
He recently passed at the age of 26 to lymphoma. He is most certainly missed.