Brownian Motion

New Yorker Magazine Profile of Phil Schaap

92 posts in this topic

Have not read it yet but I just had chills.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great ending to this piece: Phil visiting the 100 year old guitarist Lawrence Lucie in a nursing home. Lucie recorded with Jelly Roll Morton, among many others.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a private recording of a radio broadcast of Joe Chambers at Birdland which is announced by Schaap. Schaap argues with Joe for a couple of minutes about whether or not the first tune they did was 'All Or Nothing At All'. It is very recognizable, but for some reason old Phil just missed it, probably because he wasn't actually paying attention. It's hilarious.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thinking about Charlie Parker, every day.

by David Remnick

May 19, 2008

Every weekday for the past twenty-seven years, a

long-in-the-tooth history major named Phil Schaap has hosted a morning

program on WKCR, Columbia University’s radio station, called “Bird

Flight,” which places a degree of attention on the music of the bebop

saxophonist Charlie Parker that is so obsessive, so ardent and

detailed, that Schaap frequently sounds like a mad Talmudic scholar who

has decided that the laws of humankind reside not in the ancient

Babylonian tractates but in alternate takes of “Moose the Mooche” and

“Swedish Schnapps.”

For Schaap, Bird not only lives; he is the

singular genius of mid-century American music, a dynamo of virtuosity,

improvisation, harmony, velocity, and feeling, and no aspect of his

brief career is beneath consideration. Schaap’s discursive monologues

on a single home recording—say, “the Bob Redcross acetate” of Parker

playing in the early nineteen-forties over the Benny Goodman Quartet’s

1937 hit “Avalon”—can go on for an entire program or more, blurring the

line between exhaustive and exhausting. There is no getting to the end

of Charlie Parker, and sometimes there is no getting to the end of

“Bird Flight.” The program is the anchor of WKCR’s daily schedule and

begins at eight-twenty. It is supposed to conclude at nine-forty. In

the many years that I’ve been listening, I’ve rarely heard it end

precisely as scheduled. Generations of Columbia d.j.s whose programs

followed Schaap’s have learned to stand clutching an album of the early

Baroque or nineteenth-century Austrian yodelling and wait patiently for

the final chorus of “I’ll Always Love You Just the Same.”

Schaap’s unapologetic passion for a form of music half a century out

of the mainstream is, at least for his listeners, a precious sign of

the city’s vitality; here is one obstinate holdout against the

encroaching homogeneity of Clear Channel and all the other culprits of

American sameness. There is no exaggerating the relentlessness of

Schaap’s approach. Not long ago, I listened to him play a recording of

“Okiedoke,” a tune that Parker recorded in 1949 with Machito and His

Afro-Cuban Orchestra. Schaap, in his pontifical baritone, first

provided routine detail on the session and Parker’s interest (via Dizzy

Gillespie) in Latin jazz, and then, like a car hitting a patch of black

ice, he veered off into a riff of many minutes’ duration on the

pronunciation and meaning of the title—of “Okiedoke.” Was it

“okey-doke” or was it, rather, “ ‘okey-dokey,’ as it is sometimes

articulated”? What meaning did this innocent-seeming entry in the

American lexicon have for Bird? And how precisely was the phrase used

and understood in the black precincts of Kansas City, where Parker grew

up? Declaring a “great interest in this issue,” Schaap then informed us

that Arthur Taylor, a drummer of distinction “and a Bird associate,”

had “stated that Parker used ‘okeydokey’ as an affirmative and

‘okeydoke’ as a negative.” And yet one of Parker’s ex-wives had averred

otherwise, saying that Parker used “okeydoke” and “okeydokey”

interchangeably. (At this point, I wondered, not for the first time,

where, if anywhere, Schaap was going with this.) Then Schaap introduced

into evidence a “rare recording of Bird’s voice,” in which Parker is

captured joshing around onstage with a disk jockey of the forties and

fifties named Sid Torin, better known as Symphony Sid. After a bit of

chatter, Sid instructs Parker to play another number: “Blow, dad, go!”

Okeydoke, says Bird.

Like an assassination buff looping the Zapruder film, Schaap

repeated the snippet several times and then concluded that Charlie

Parker did not use “okeydoke” as a negative. “This,” Schaap said

solemnly, “tends to revise our understanding of the matter.” The matter

was evidently unexhausted, however, as he launched a rumination on the

cowboy origins of the phrase and the Hopalong Cassidy movies that

Parker might well have seen, and perhaps it was at this point

that listeners all over the metropolitan area, what few remained,

either shut off their radios, grew weirdly fascinated, or called an

ambulance on Schaap’s behalf. At last, Schaap moved on to other issues

of the Parker discography, which begins in 1940, with an unaccompanied

home recording of “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Body and Soul,” and ends with

two Cole Porter tunes, “Love for Sale” and “I Love Paris,” played three

months before his death, in 1955.

Schaap is not a musician, a critic, or, properly speaking, an

academic, though he has held teaching positions at Columbia, Princeton,

and Juilliard. And yet through “Bird Flight” and a Saturday-evening

program he hosts called “Traditions in Swing,” through his live

soliloquies and his illustrative recordings, commercial and bootlegged,

he has provided an invaluable service to a dwindling art form: in the

capital of jazz, he is its most passionate and voluble fan. He is the

Bill James of his field, a master of history, hierarchies,

personalities, anecdote, relics, dates, and events; but he is also a

guardian, for, unlike baseball, jazz and the musicians who play it are

endangered. Jazz today is responsible for only around three per cent of

music sales in the United States, and what even that small slice

contains is highly questionable. Among the current top sellers on

Amazon in the jazz category are easy-listening acts like Kenny G and

Michael Bublé.

For decades, jazz musicians have joked about Schaap’s adhesive

memory, but countless performers have known the feeling that Schaap

remembered more about their musical pasts than they did and was always

willing to let them in on the forgotten secrets. “Phil is a walking

history book about jazz,” Frank Foster, a tenor-sax player for the

Basie Orchestra, told me. Wynton Marsalis says that Schaap is “an

American classic.”

In the eyes of his critics, Schaap’s attention to detail and

authenticity is irritating and extreme. He has won six Grammy Awards

for his liner notes and producing efforts, but his encyclopedic

sensibility is a matter of taste. When Schaap was put in charge of

reissuing Benny Goodman’s landmark 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall for

Columbia, he not only included lost cuts and Goodman’s long-winded

introductions but also provided prolonged original applause tracks, and

even the sounds of the stage crew dragging chairs and music stands

across the Carnegie stage to set up for the larger band. His production

work on a ten-disk set of Billie Holiday for Verve was similarly

inclusive. Schaap wants us to know and hear everything. He

seems to believe that the singer’s in-studio musings about what key to

sing “Nice Work If You Can Get It” in are as worthy of preservation as

a bootleg of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. Reviewing the Holiday set for

the Village Voice, Gary Giddins called Schaap “that most obsessive of anal obsessives.”

That’s one way of looking at the matter. Another is that Schaap puts

his frenzied memory and his obsessive attention to the arcane in the

service of something important: the struggle of memory against

forgetting—not just the forgetting of a sublime music but forgetting in

general. Schaap is always apologizing, acknowledging his

long-windedness, his nudnik tendencies. “The examination may be tedium

to you,” he said on the air recently as he ran through the days,

between 1940 and 1944, when Parker might have overdubbed Goodman’s

“Chinaboy” in Bob Redcross’s room at the Savoy Hotel in Chicago. (“His

home was Room 305.”) Nevertheless, he said, “my bent here is that I

want to know when it happened because I believe in listening to the

music of a genius chronologically where possible, particularly an

improvising artist.” The stringing together of facts is the Schaapian

process, a monologuist’s way of painting a picture of “events of the

past” happening “in real time.”

“I just hope the concept speaks to some,” he said as his soliloquy

unspooled. “It’s two before nine. I’m speaking to you at length. I’m

Phil Schaap.”

On a recent Sunday morning, I met Schaap at the

WKCR studios, at Broadway and 114th Street. (The station is at 89.9 on

the FM dial; it also streams live online at Schaap is tall

and lumbering and has a thick shock of reddish hair. It was March 9th,

Ornette Coleman’s seventy-eighth birthday. Schaap, his meaty arms

loaded up with highlights and rarities in the Coleman discography, had

come prepared for celebration. Nearly everything in his grasp was from

his home collection. He does not consider collecting to be at the

center of his life, but allowed that he does own five thousand 78s, ten

thousand LPs, five thousand tapes, a few thousand hours of his own

interviews with jazz musicians, “and, well, countless CDs.”

Schaap, who was married once, and briefly, in the nineties, lives alone

in Hollis, Queens, in the house where he grew up. He admits that his

collection, and his living quarters, could use some straightening.


got to get things in order,” he said. “I’m determined to do it. This is

the year. If I didn’t have a memory, I wouldn’t know where anything is.”

The WKCR studios are a couple of blocks south of the main entrance

to the Columbia campus, and they tend to look as though there’d been a

post-exam party the previous night and someone tried, but not hard, to

clean up. The carpets are unvacuumed, the garbage cans stuffed with

pizza boxes and crushed cans. Taped to the wall are some long-forgotten

schedules and posters of John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. The

visitor’s perch—a red Naugahyde armchair—was long ago dubbed the “Dizzy

Gillespie chair,” after Gillespie, Parker’s closest collaborator, sat

there for hours of conversation with Schaap. Usually, the only person

around at WKCR is the student host on the air. Schaap is Class of ’73.

He is fifty-seven. “Financially, I live, at best, like a

twenty-five-year-old,” he said. He has been broadcasting on WKCR, pro

bono, since he was a freshman. The Parker-Tiny Grimes collaboration

“Romance Without Finance” could be the theme for his income-tax form.

“Take a seat,” he said, plopping his records down near his microphone. “I gotta get busy.”

Conversation with Schaap in the studio, especially when the program

features the breakneck tunes of early jazz or swing music—the soprano

saxophonist Sidney Bechet playing “The Sheik of Araby” followed by

Benny Carter and His Orchestra on “Babalu”—does not allow for Schaapian

reflection. “Deadlines every three minutes!” he’ll shout, throwing up

his hands. “So many records!”

When he’s working, Schaap concentrates hard, and not merely on his

own solos. He takes pride in the art of the segue, paying particular

attention to the “sizzling sonic decay” of a last cymbal stroke. (“You

won’t hear that again in your lifetime!” he boasted after one

particularly felicitous transition.) But with Ornette Coleman, an

avatar of extended improvisation, Schaap had more time. The first

number he broadcast was “Free Jazz,” Coleman’s 1960 breakthrough,

played with two quartets; “Free Jazz” is the Action painting of

American music and lasts thirty-seven minutes and three seconds. The

sound started to build, the quartets began their dissonant duel. Schaap

smiled off into the distance. “Eddie Blackwell’s right foot, man!” he

said, then he remembered himself and turned the volume down. “So?” he


When I asked Schaap about his childhood, he turned morose, saying,

“I may have gotten all my blessings in life up front.” His parents, and

nearly all his teachers and the scores of musicians he befriended from

school age, were dead. “Everyone that raised me is gone.”

Schaap was born to jazz. His mother, Marjorie, was a librarian, a

classically trained pianist, and an insistent bohemian. At Radcliffe,

she listened to Louis Armstrong records and smoked a corncob pipe. His

father, Walter, was one of a group of jazz-obsessed Columbia

undergraduates in the thirties who became professional critics and

producers. In 1937, he went to France to study at the Sorbonne and work

on an encyclopedia of the French Revolution. While he was there, he

collaborated with the leading jazz critics of Paris, Hugues Panassié

and Charles Delaunay, on a bilingual edition of their pioneering

magazine, Jazz Hot. He helped Django Reinhardt with his English

and Dizzy Gillespie with his French. Back in New York, he earned his

living making educational filmstrips, in partnership with the jazz

photographer Walter P. Gottlieb.

“They lived for music, and the rest was making a check,” Phil said.

“Jazz was always playing in the house.” By the time he was five, Schaap

could sing Lester Young’s tenor solo on the Count Basie standard “Taxi

War Dance.” When he was six, his babysitter rewarded him for doing her

geometry homework by taking him to Triboro Records, in Jamaica, to buy

his first 45s: Ruth Brown’s “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” and

Ray Charles’s “(Night Time Is) The Right Time.” Phil soon started

buying discarded jazz 78s by the pound.

In his parents’ living room and then on his own pushy initiative,

Schaap met many first-rank jazz musicians and came to consider them his

“grandfathers.” Some, like the bassist Milt Hinton and the trumpet

player Buck Clayton, lived around Hollis, which had become a bedroom

community for musicians. Others came into his life, he said, “as if by


“In August, 1956, I went to the Randall’s Island Jazz Festival with

my mother, and we saw Billie Holliday, Dizzy Gillespie, and a lot of

others,” he said. “At one point, we went backstage after the Basie band

played. Remember, this is through the hazy recollections of a

five-year-old, but I do recall someone trying to hit on my mother, and

he asked her about Joe Williams, who was singing then for Basie. To

brush the guy off, she said she preferred the earlier singer for the

Basie band, Jimmy Rushing, and at that point another man, who turned

out to be Basie’s drummer, Jo Jones, said, ‘Madame, I heard that—that

was wonderful.’ The two of them got to talking, and Jo asked me if I

knew who Prince Robinson was. I said that he was a tenor player for

McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. I’d heard a Bluebird 78 that my father

owned. Jo Jones was impressed. So he said, ‘Madame, you’ve got yourself

a new babysitter.’ ”

Jo Jones was arguably the greatest drummer of the swing era. When

Jones was in New York, Walter Schaap would drop off his son at Jones’s

apartment and Phil and “Papa Jo” watched cartoons and played records.

Inevitably, other musicians came over and took an interest in the kid

with the unusual immersion in jazz. “That was when Jo was living at 401

East Sixty-fourth Street,” Schaap said. “Later, he lived at 333 East

Fifty-fourth Street and also at the Hotel Markwell, on Forty-ninth

Street—lots of musicians lived there. He played a Basie record for me

once in order to teach me about Herschel Evans, the great tenor player.

It must have been ‘Blue and Sentimental.’ Jo called me ‘Mister.’

‘Mister, what does that sound like to you?’ I blurted out, ‘It sounds

friendly to me.’ And Jo said, ‘That’s right. The first thing to know

is, Herschel Evans is your friend.’ ”

In first grade, Schaap pestered his schoolmate Carole Eldridge (and,

when that failed, her mother) until he got an introduction to her

father, the trumpeter Roy Eldridge. When he was fourteen, he hitched a

ride into Manhattan with Basie during the 1966 subway strike. “When I

started hearing that Phil was going around meeting all the jazz greats

at the age of six, I wondered if it was all fantasy,” his father told

the Times not long before he died, two years ago.

The family became accustomed to their son’s range of friendships.

Phil once brought home the saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who was

known for his ability to play three horns at once and for his heroic

capacities at the dinner table. Schaap challenged Kirk to an eating

contest. The event came to a halt when they had eaten, in Schaap’s

recollection, “one mince pie each baked by Herbie Hall’s wife. You know

Herbie? A major clarinet player.”

Schaap’s memory was almost immediately evident. He claims that at

the age of two he recited the names of the American Presidents, in

order, “while standing on a rocking chair.” He was the kind of kid who

knew the names and numbers of all the New York Rangers of the

nineteen-sixties and, whether you liked it or not, recited them. He was

the kind of kid, too, who wrote to the manager of the Baltimore Orioles

to give him advice backed up by statistical evidence. He routinely beat

all comers, including his older cousin the late sportswriter Dick

Schaap, in the board game Concentration. At school, this was not a

quality universally admired. “I guess some kids may have found it

annoying,” he allows. But musicians were generally fascinated by young

Schaap. Count Basie was one of many who discovered that Schaap knew the

facts of his life almost better than he did. “I think that kind of

freaked Basie out,” Schaap said. “I’d talk to him about a record date

he did in the thirties, and he looked at me, like, ‘Who . . . is . . .

this . . . child?’ ”

By the time Schaap was established on the radio, nearly every

musician who passed through New York was aware of his mental tape

recorder. Twenty-five years ago, the bandleader, pianist, and

self-styled space cadet Herman (Sonny) Poole Blount, better known as

Sun Ra, swept by a night club and, before having to give a speech at

Harvard, “kidnapped” Schaap. Sun Ra claimed that as a young man he had

been “transmolecularized” to Saturn, and thereafter he expounded a

cosmic philosophy influenced by ancient Egyptian cosmology,

Afro-American folklore, and Madame Blavatsky. In order to prepare for

his audience in Cambridge, Sun Ra insisted that Schaap fill him in on

the details of his existence on Earth. Schaap obliged, telling Sun Ra

that, according to his musicians’ union forms, he was born in

Birmingham, Alabama, in 1914. “I could tell him things like what 78s by

Fletcher Henderson he was listening to in the thirties and about his

time playing piano for the Henderson Orchestra later on,” Schaap said.

“He was vague about it all, but what I said made sense to him. I also

knew that his favorite flavor of ice cream was the Bananas ’n

Strawberry at Baskin-Robbins. It was a hot summer night, so I went up

the block and bought him a quart, and we ate sitting in the car.”

The urge to preserve, to collect, to keep time at

bay, to hold on to the past is a common one. In this Schaap is kin to

Henri Langlois, who tried to find and preserve every known film for the

French Cinémathèque, kin to the classical-music fanatics who drift

through thrift shops looking for rereleases of Mengelberg and

Furtwängler acetates, kin even to Felix Mendelssohn, who helped revive

the music of Bach for Germans. He is one with all the bibliophiles,

cinephiles, audiophiles, oenophiles, butterfly hunters, fern and flower

pressers, stamp and coin collectors, concert tapers, and opera buffs

who put an obsession at the center of their lives. “There is no person

in America more dedicated to any art form than Phil is to jazz,” his

friend Stanley Crouch, who is writing a biography of Charlie Parker,

said. “He is the Mr. Memory of jazz, and, as with the Mr. Memory

character in ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps,’ the Hitchcock movie, there are

those who think he ought to be shot. He can get on your nerves, but,

then, you can get on his.”

The day after Ornette Coleman’s

birthday was the birthday—the hundred and fifth—of the cornet player

Bix Beiderbecke, and Schaap returned to the studios for another

marathon of close attention. Along with Louis Armstrong and Sidney

Bechet, Beiderbecke was a pioneer of jazz as it moved from the all-in

polyphony of the earliest bands to a form of ensemble playing that

allowed for solo improvisation. The broadcast was a strange time-tunnel

transition, from Ornette’s self-invented “harmolodic” experiments to

Bix’s short solo flights on “Goose Pimples” and “Three Blind Mice,” but

Schaap’s taste is broad. As he queued up his records, he said to me, “I

remember March 10, 1985. I did 5 A.M. to 5 P.M.

It was some birthday for Bix.” Schaap was unshaved, sleepy,

complaining, as usual, of overwork. He felt as if he, too, were a

hundred and five.

Schaap is perpetually weary. He works hard: there are the radio

shows, the classes he’s teaching now at Juilliard and at Jazz at

Lincoln Center, and various producing projects. But it’s not the work,

exactly. Schaap carries with him a burden of loss and a disinterest in

the contemporary world. He is theatrically, adamantly, old: “I haven’t

seen more than six movies since 1972. Three baseball games, maybe five.

I think the last novel I read was ‘Invisible Man,’ when I was at

Columbia. I haven’t seen any television after the first husband in

‘Bewitched.’ ” He never bothered to see “Bird,” Clint Eastwood’s

Charlie Parker bio-pic. He does not own an iPod. And unless you have a

spare afternoon it is best not to ask him what he thinks of digital


Before long, he was off on a Schaapian riff sparked by the playing

of “Wringin’ an’ Twistin’,” recorded, as Schaap said, “eighty-one years

ago by OKeh records with Frankie Trumbauer on C-melody saxophone and

Eddie Lang on guitar.” Eventually, through the surface scratches, one

could hear a voice say, “Yeah, that’s it!” Schaap assured his listeners

that there was “no doubt of the voice’s identity.” It was Trumbauer.

But that was not enough to cool his curiosity. “Someone is also humming

the passage,” he went on. “Is it Eddie Lang or is it Trumbauer? I wonder

about it. It’s a test cut on the metal part before the passage begins.

And then there’s another voice that you can hear say, ‘Yeah.’ That

‘yeah’ is not Eddie Lang. It could be unidentified. Or it could be Bix’s voice.”

Schaap played the sequence again.


And again.


One more time.


Meanwhile, the earth warmed imperceptibly; glaciers plunged into the sea.


“There,” Schaap said. “There! That’s it! September 17, 1927.

Not that it’s the most important thing that ever happened to you. But,

still. I’d like to know, if possible, what Bix’s speaking voice was


These questions were of no less moment to Schaap than the

Confederate maneuvers at Shiloh were to Shelby Foote. Such is the

flypaper of his mind and the didactic turn of his personality. When,

finally, Schaap played another Beiderbecke record—a twenty-minute

string of tunes, to be fair—I asked him what possible interest he could

have in the provenance of the ghostly “yeah”s of yesteryear.

“What can I say? I make no apologies. I’m interested,” he said. “Did

Bix have a Southern accent? A German accent? A Midwestern accent? Did

he sound shy or did he speak with authority? I really do think it’s

him, that it’s Bix who says, ‘Yeah.’ ”

Schaap paused and listened to a passage in “Goose Pimples.”

“O.K.,” he said, “it may not be a great mystery. But it’s a

mystery, all the same. I do these things that are a turnoff, but it’s

my dime. I try very hard to make sure that everyone gets something out

of all this. I guess for the first twenty years I was on the radio I

was concerned about telling you absolutely everything about every tune.

Then, in the nineties, I started concentrating on small issues, one at

a time. Like that ‘Okiedoke’ thing. These days, I’m going for a little


As a broadcaster, Schaap is unpoetic. He does not have the evocative

middle-of-the-night gifts of a radio forebear like Jean Shepherd. Or

take Jonathan Schwartz, whose specialty for both XM satellite radio and

WNYC, in New York, is American singers. Schwartz is as obsessed with

Frank Sinatra as Schaap is with Parker, but Schwartz, a brilliant

storyteller with a café-society voice as smooth as hot buttered rum,

conjures Sinatra’s world: the stage of the Paramount, the bar at Jilly

Rizzo’s. Schaap is an empiricist, an old-fashioned historicist. Facts

are what he has. His capacity to evoke Charlie Parker’s world—Kansas

City in the Pendergast era; the Savoy Ballroom scene uptown; Minton’s,

the Three Deuces, and Birdland; Bird’s dissolution and early death—is

limited to the accumulation of dates, bare anecdotes, obscure names.

The emotional side of his broadcasts comes from his relationships with

the musicians. His mental life can be spooky even to him. “Sometimes,”

he said, “I think I know more about what Dizzy Gillespie was thinking

in 1945 than I do what I was thinking in 1967 or last week.”

The precocious obsessive is a familiar high-school

type, particularly among boys, but the object of Schaap’s obsession was

a peculiar one among his classmates. “The lonely days were

adolescence,” he admitted. “My peer group thought I was out of my mind.

But, even then, kids knew basic things about jazz. Teddy Goldstein knew

‘Take the A Train.’ But he kept telling me, ‘Don’t you know what the

Beatles are doing? Your world is doomed!’ ”

When he was in his

teens, Schaap played the trumpet. He took theory classes at Columbia.

“I even got a lesson in high notes from Roy Eldridge,” he said. But his

playing, especially his intonation, was mediocre. “I put my trumpet in

its case and that was it,” he said. “March 11, 1974.”

Schaap learned to serve the music anyway. In the wake of the

Columbia campus strikes in 1968, a group of students set out to get rid

of WKCR’s “classroom of the air” gentility. “All of us were listening

to the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix, but we knew that all of that

stuff was available elsewhere,” Schaap told me over a burger near

Lincoln Center. “Jimi Hendrix didn’t need WKCR.” And so the station

began broadcasting jazz, including multi-day festivals on Albert Ayler

(1970), John Coltrane (1971), Charles Mingus (1972), Archie Shepp

(1972), and Charlie Parker (1973). During the 1973 Parker festival,

Schaap did two forty-eight-hour work shifts, splitting his time between

WKCR and his paying job, at the university’s identification-card

office. “On Friday, August 31, 1973, I had to get to the I.D.-card

office,” he recalled. “The last record I played was ‘Scrapple from the

Apple.’ Recorded November 4, 1947. The C take. On Dial. But I think I

played the English Spotlite label. Anyway, I entered the back stairwell

and the record was still playing in my head”—Schaap interrupted himself

to hum Parker’s solo—“and then I was out on a Hundred and Fourteenth

Street and I could hear it playing from the buildings, from the open

windows. That was a turning point in the station’s history. The insight

was that Charlie Parker was at least tolerable to all people who liked

jazz. If you idolized King Oliver, you could tolerate Charlie Parker,

and if you think jazz begins with John Coltrane playing ‘Ascension’ you

can still listen to Bird, too.”

Musicians were beginning to tune in. During a Thelonious Monk

festival, one of the d.j.s went on about how Monk created art out of

“wrong notes.” Monk, who rarely spoke to anyone, much less a college

student, called the station and, on the air, declared, “The piano ain’t

got no wrong notes.” In 1979, Schaap was at the center of a Miles Davis

festival at a time when Davis was a near-recluse living off Riverside

Drive. Davis started calling the station, dozens and dozens of

calls—“mad, foul, strange calls,” Schaap recalled. Davis’s inimitable

voice, low and sandpapery, was unnerving for Schaap. But then one

day—“Friday, July 6, 1979”—his tone changed, and for nearly three hours

the two men went over the details of “Agharta,” one of his later

albums. Finally, after Schaap had clarified every spelling, every

detail, Davis said, “You got it? Good. Now forget it. Play ‘Sketches of

Spain’! Right now!”

Just after starting as a d.j., Schaap began organizing musical

programs, mainly at the West End, on Broadway at 113th Street. He

managed the Countsmen—former sidemen for Count Basie—along with other

groups made up of refugees from other big bands, and got them work.

Older musicians, such as Jo Jones, Sonny Greer, Sammy Price, Russell

Procope, and Earle Warren, who had known Schaap as an eccentric

teen-ager now welcomed him as a meal ticket.

“When I was a child, I lived under the illusion that these

performers, who put on such an excellent front, dressed to the nines

and acting like kings, made real money,” Schaap said. He lost that

innocence about forty years ago, when he happened to glance at a check

made out to Benny Morton, a trombonist who had been with the Fletcher

Henderson and Basie bands. “It was for fifty-eight dollars, and it was

for a gig at Carnegie Hall,” Schaap recalled. Jazz reached its

commercial peak in the mid-nineteen-forties, but by 1950 the ballrooms

had closed down. The postwar middle class no longer went out dancing;

they were watching television and listening to records at home. The

clubs on Fifty-second Street—the Onyx, the Famous Door, the Three

Deuces—disappeared. Eventually, rock and roll displaced jazz as

America’s popular music. World-class musicians were scrounging for

work. Performers who had enjoyed steady employment took second jobs as

messengers on Wall Street, bus drivers, and bank guards. For

comradeship, they were hanging out at the Chock Full o’ Nuts at

Fiftieth and Broadway and at a few bars around town.

“Phil took these guys out of the Chock Full o’ Nuts and put them on

the stage of the West End,” Loren Schoenberg, the executive director of

the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, told me. “So for the young people

who idolized them, and guys who’d never heard of them, Phil brought

them to us.” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, an early rhythm-and-blues star,

used to call Phil Schaap’s mother at home and beg her to get her son to

do for him what he’d done for the horn players of the Basie band.

As “Bird Flight” became a fixture of the jazz world, Schaap began to

get jobs teaching, but, even with the rise of academic jazz programs,

no one has offered him a professorship. Some of his students—including

Ben Ratliff, who is now the main jazz critic for the Times, and

Jerome Jennings, a drummer for, among others, Sonny Rollins—swear by

Schaap as a teacher, but some complain that his displays of memory can

be tiresome and aimed at underscoring his students’ cluelessness. This

spring, I took Schaap’s Charlie Parker course at Swing University, the

educational wing of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and could see both sides.

In four two-hour evening sessions, he provided an incisive, moving

narrative of Parker’s incandescent career, but he could also be

oppressive, not least with his pointless occasional class “surveys.”

“Who knows ‘Yardbird Suite’?” he’d ask. Then, moving from desk to desk,

he’d poll the students, embarrassing those honest enough to confess

their ignorance.

As a teacher, Schaap is less concerned about the tender

sensibilities of his students than with developing knowledgeable and

passionate listeners. “The school system is creating six thousand

unemployable musicians a year—from the Berklee College of Music,

Rutgers, Mannes, Manhattan, Juilliard, plus all the high schools,” he

said. “There are more and more musicians, and no gigs, no one to

listen. So what happens to these kids? They work their way back to the

educational system and help create more unemployable musicians. My rant

is this: I’m not trying to teach you to play the alto sax. No. I’m

trying to get you to learn how to listen to Charlie Parker. Louis

Armstrong is the greatest musician of the twentieth century. But name

twenty musicians today who really listen to Louis Armstrong. Go ahead:

I’ll give you a week.”

There are many excellent young (and youngish) jazz musicians around,

including the pianist Jason Moran and the sax player Joshua Redman, to

say nothing of the extended family of players around Wynton Marsalis.

In February, Herbie Hancock won an Album of the Year Grammy for his

arrangements of Joni Mitchell songs. But, generally, a hit album in

jazz means sales of ten thousand. Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, and a

few other giants of an earlier time still roam the earth, but even they

cannot reliably sell out a major hall. Coleman’s concert at Town Hall

in March was as thrilling a musical event as has taken place this year

in New York. The theatre was at least a quarter empty.

“In the fall of 1976, when Woody Herman was rehearsing for a

forty-year-anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall, I was invited to

watch,” Schaap told me. “A saxophonist wasn’t paying attention, and at

one point Woody Herman crept up on him, put his face next to the

musician’s, and said, ‘Son, what do you want to be?’ And the guy said,

‘I want to be the next Stan Getz.’ And Woody Herman said, ‘Son, there’s

not gonna be another Stan Getz!’ In other words, people like Stan Getz

and Woody Herman were pop stars! That’s not going to happen again.”

In the spring of 1947, around the same time that

Charlie Parker was playing the Hi-De-Ho club, in Los Angeles, a young

Bedouin herding goats along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea

discovered several tall clay jars that contained manuscripts written in

ancient Hebrew and Aramaic. Wrapped in linen, the manuscripts were part

of a much larger cache of ancient texts, which came to be known as the

Dead Sea Scrolls.

“For decades, there were rumors that jazz had

its own Dead Sea Scrolls,” Schaap told me more than once. “One was a

cylinder recording of Buddy Bolden”—the New Orleans cornettist and

early jazz pioneer who was committed to a mental institution before the

rise of 78s. “But this will probably never be found. The second, of

course, is called ‘the Benedetti recordings.’ ”

All of Schaap’s listeners have grown accustomed to his close

attention to the “crucial” obscurities of the Parker discography: “the

unaccompanied 1940 alto recording in Kansas City,” “the paper disk of

‘Cherokee,’ ” “the Wichita transcriptions,” and “the little-known Clyde

Bernhardt glass-based acetate demo disks.” These recordings can be

revelatory, but they also try the patience. Recently on “Bird Flight,”

Schaap showcased a home recording of Parker in February, 1943—important

because he was playing tenor saxophone, not his customary alto—and the

sound was so bad that you couldn’t quite tell if you were hearing

“Sweet Georgia Brown” or radio waves from the surface of the planet


The Benedetti recordings, however, occupy a privileged place not

only in Schaap’s mental Bird cage but also in musical history. And

Schaap helped bring them out of their urns.

For decades, stories circulated in the jazz world that Dean

Benedetti, a saxophonist of modest distinction, upon hearing Parker

play in the mid-forties, threw his own horn into the sea and pledged

himself to follow Parker everywhere he went, recording his hero’s

performances. Benedetti was said to have obtained, through Army

connections, a Nazi-era German wire recorder, and he carried out his

mission at clubs, concert halls, and private apartments all over the

world. In the meantime, he was rumored to be a drug dealer who supplied

Bird, a longtime addict, with heroin. Many of the legends of

Benedetti’s devotions came from “Bird Lives!,” an entertaining but iffy

biography published in 1973 by a Los Angeles-based record producer,

Ross Russell. Through the decades, no recordings surfaced.

Ornithologists could not help but wonder: Had they been lost? Had they

sunk, as rumored, along with a freighter in the Atlantic? Eventually,

only the most committed, with their collections of 78s and back issues

of Down Beat, spoke much of the matter. Like “the Bolden

cylinder,” the Benedetti recordings seemed to have taken their eternal

rest in the watery grave of jazz legend.

But then, in 1988, Benedetti’s surviving brother, Rigoletto (Rick),

got in touch with Mosaic, a small jazz outfit in Stamford, Connecticut,

that specializes in reissues from the vaults of the major labels. It

was true, Rick Benedetti informed the owner, Michael Cuscuna: there

really were recordings. Was Mosaic interested?

“The real backstory was incredible,” Cuscuna told me.

On July 29, 1946, Parker was in desperate shape: depressed,

drinking, strung out, broke, and lonely in Los Angeles, he had

struggled through an afternoon recording session with the trumpeter

Howard McGhee. His recording that day of “Lover Man” was a technical

mess—Parker was barely able to make it through the song—but it is a

painful howl, as devastating to hear as Billie Holiday’s last sessions.

That night, at the Civic Hotel, Parker twice wandered into the lobby

naked. Later on, he fell asleep while smoking, setting his mattress on

fire. The police arrested him and a judge had him committed to the

Camarillo State Hospital, a psychiatric facility. When he was released,

six months later, he was off heroin for the first time since he was a

teen-ager in Kansas City. His musician friends threw a jam-session

party for him on February 1, 1947, at the home of a trumpet player

named Chuck Copely. One of the guests was a handsome young man—pencil

mustache, dark eyes, hipster clothes—named Dean Benedetti.

Benedetti went out and bought a Wells-Gardner 78-r.p.m. portable

disk-cutter at Sears, Roebuck and, in March, recorded Parker playing

with Howard McGhee’s band at the Hi-De-Ho. (The historical bonus here

is that Parker plays tunes from McGhee’s repertory, and so we hear him

soloing, for the first and last time, on Gus Arnheim’s “Sweet and

Lovely” and Al Dubin and Harry Warren’s “September in the Rain.”) Later

that year, in New York, Parker was back on drugs but still at the

height of his musical powers. He formed what is now considered his

“golden-era” quintet: Parker on alto sax, the twenty-one-year-old Miles

Davis on trumpet, Max Roach on drums, Duke Jordan on piano, and Tommy

Potter on bass. Benedetti recorded the quintet on March 31, 1948, at

the Three Deuces, on Fifty-second Street, Parker’s primary base of

operations. By this time, Benedetti was using heroin and had no means

of support; when the management realized that he didn’t plan to spend

any money, it provided him with what Schaap would call “the ultimate

New York discourtesy”—it threw him out. In Schaap’s terms, it is a

“tragedy” that Benedetti was unable to record the rest of Parker’s

nights at the Three Deuces. And it is true that, of all the Benedetti

recordings, these are the most significant. On “Dizzy Atmosphere,”

Parker plays with dangerous abandon, a runaway truck speeding down the

highway into oncoming traffic, never crashing; and even the

twenty-six-second passage from the ballad “My Old Flame” is memorable,

a glimpse of human longing in sound.

Finally, in July, 1948, Benedetti recorded the Parker quintet for

six nights at the Onyx, a rival club on Fifty-second Street. The sound

from the Onyx sessions is the worst of all, mainly because Benedetti

was forced by the club’s management to place his microphone near Max

Roach’s drum kit. The effect is often like trying to hear a lullaby in

a thunderstorm.

The recordings are not for casual listeners. Disks and tape were

expensive commodities, and to save money Benedetti usually turned on

the machine only when Parker was soloing. Many recordings are no more

than a minute long. One morsel lasts precisely three seconds. There are

no fewer than nineteen versions of “52nd St. Theme.” But to the

aficionado this is like complaining that the Dead Sea Scrolls were torn

and discolored. One hears Parker on Coleman Hawkins tunes like “Bean

Soup” and quoting everything from “In a Country Garden” to a bit from

H. Klosé’s “25 Daily Exercises for Saxophone.”

Cuscuna said that, faced with stacks of cracking forty-year-old

tapes and ten-inch acetate disks, he realized that “only Phil Schaap

was brilliant enough—and insane enough—to do the job.”

Schaap took the materials to the apartment where he was living at

the time—a record-and-disk-strewn place in Chelsea—and “just stared” at

them for “many, many hours.” He felt an enormous sense of

responsibility. “This increased the volume of live improvisations of a

great artist by a third,” he told me one morning after signing off from

“Bird Flight.” “Imagine if someone were to find a third more Bach, a

third more Shakespeare plays, a third more prime Picasso.”

When Schaap first tried to play a tape, it snapped. He tried

hand-spinning the tape. It broke again. He realized that the tapes were

backed with paper, not plastic. The paper had dried out, making the

tape extremely fragile. The solution, Schaap decided, was to secure the

most delicate spots with Wite-Out. And so he went through every inch of

the Benedetti tapes—all eight miles—and did the job, the tape in his

left hand, a tiny Wite-Out brush in his right.

“I guess the only thing I’ve ever done in jazz that was harder was

when we did an eleven-day Louis Armstrong festival on WKCR, in July,

1980,” he said. Schaap worked for more than two years on the Benedetti

project. He and Cuscuna once figured out his remuneration. “I think it

was approximately .0003 cents an hour,” Schaap said. “But who’s


Mosaic has so far sold five thousand copies of “The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings of Charlie Parker.”

“That’s triple platinum for us,” Cuscuna said.

For Schaap, the fascinations and mysteries of the discography are

unending, even though Parker’s career lasted less than fifteen years.

Parker died on March 12, 1955, at the Stanhope Hotel, while watching

jugglers on Tommy Dorsey’s television variety show. A doctor who

examined the body estimated that Parker was in his mid-fifties. He was


On Easter Sunday, I met Schaap in the lobby of the

Kateri Residence, a nursing home on Riverside Drive. He was there to

visit one of the last of “the grandfathers who helped raise him.”

We went to the twelfth floor and headed for a small room at the end of

the hall. From the doorway, we could see a round old man slumped in a

wheelchair, sleeping, a woollen scarf over his shoulders and a blanket

on his lap. It was Lawrence Lucie. “I met Larry fifty-one years ago,”

Schaap said. He was six. Lucie played guitar for almost anyone worth

playing for: from Jelly Roll Morton to Joe Turner. He played in the big

bands of Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Lucky Millinder, Duke

Ellington, and Benny Carter. When Coleman Hawkins recorded “Body and

Soul,” Lucie was in the band. Lucie not only played with Louis

Armstrong; he was the best man at Armstrong’s wedding. He is the last

person alive to have played with Ellington at the Cotton Club. Lucie’s

father was a barber in Emporia, Virginia; he was also a musician, and

Lawrence joined his father’s band as a banjo player when he was eight.

Now he is a hundred years old. No one alive is as intimately connected

to the origins of jazz music as Lucie. His last gig, which he quit only

a couple of years ago, was playing standards at Arturo’s, a

coal-oven-pizza joint on Houston Street in the Village.

“Larry, it’s me, Phil.”

Schaap gently shook the old man’s shoulder.

Lucie opened his eyes and, very slowly, looked up at his visitor.

As he brought Schaap into focus, he smiled and his eyes brightened.

“Phil! How nice!”

Not many people are still around to visit. A grandnephew is the

closest relative that Schaap knows of, and he lives in California.

Schaap and Lucie were clearly thrilled to see each other. Nearly all of

Schaap’s jazz grandfathers—Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge, Buck Clayton, Doc

Cheatham, Max Roach—are gone. Lucie had not lost his elegance. Although

he had no reason to expect a visit, he was wearing a tie, a smart silk

one with an abstract blue-and-red pattern. On the other side of his bed

was a guitar in a battered case and, above it, a poster of the Lucy

Luciennaires, a quartet that featured his wife, the singer Nora Lee

King, who died eleven years ago. In the seventies and eighties, Lucie

and King used to perform weekly on a Manhattan public-access cable


Lucie, who celebrated his centennial in December, was glad to hear

Schaap talk about his days with Fletcher Henderson. And when Schaap

asked him if he remembered the name of the song that Benny Carter

opened with at the Apollo seventy-four years ago, Lucie said, “I know,

Phil, but do you?”

“Sure, it was ‘I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful).’ ”

“That’s right.” Both men laughed.

“And you played the first notes,” Schaap said. Indeed, they were the

first notes played in the Apollo when, in 1934, the theatre opened

under that name and began admitting African-American audiences.

Schaap wheeled Lucie to the elevator and up to a solarium on the

penthouse floor, where they could look out over the Hudson River and

reminisce, a conversation that was more a matter of Schaap recalling

highlights of Lucie’s career and Lucie saying, over and over, “Phil

Schaap knows me better than I know me. Phil Schaap knows his jazz.”

Finally, Lucie asked to go down to the fifteenth floor, where a volunteer was playing piano and singing show tunes.

“You coax the blues right out of my heart.”

Arrayed in front of the piano were fifty or sixty residents, some of

them nearly as old as Lucie and many a great deal less healthy. A nurse

passed out Easter cookies. Lawrence Lucie had heard better music in his

time, but he was happy to stay and listen. “There’s always something

going on here,” he said dryly. “The action never stops.”

Schaap bent over and told his friend that he was off.

“What a delight,” Lucie said. “It’s always so good to see you.”

“I’ll be back soon,” Schaap said. “You know I will.”

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just got dizzy.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got rid of the two duplicate posts of the Schaap article 'cause I got dizzy, too.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got rid of the two duplicate posts of the Schaap article 'cause I got dizzy, too.

Did I post it twice?

I did not know that.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

7/4, one posting of this piece well establishes Schaap as the asshole he is, as well as the writer's gullibility.

I would love to be present when George Avakian and other's I know in this business read this piece. One day, someone will set the record straight on Schaap and his overly fertile imagination. He puts Hillary to shame with his stories--the sad thing is that some of his revisionist jazz history may have legs.

I will now throw up :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got rid of the two duplicate posts of the Schaap article 'cause I got dizzy, too.

Did I post it twice?

I did not know that.


Three times. Stuff happens.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


There's some screwball internet conectionion issues goin' on 'round here. Browser hangin' up.


Edited by 7/4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought you were simply trying to emulate the redundancy and tedium of a Schaap radio rant.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn..... reading that was like...... well, like listening to an airing of "Bird Flight." I appreciate the guy's attention to detail, but damn..... do I need to have every strand of my carpet explained to me at length?

I need to lie down....

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Three times. Stuff happens.

Oh well, that's what the "Pause Track" is for. :lol:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Schaap and his overly fertile imagination. He puts Hillary to shame with his stories

Chris, do I understand correctly that you are impugning the man's veracity? :o

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Walter Schaap would drop off his son at Jones's apartment"

believe, me, I spent some time near Jo Jones in the 1970s, and this explains a lot -

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Al Haig on why he would not go on Schaap's show:

"I say, 'I played with so and so in 1942.' He says, 'no, you played with him in 1943.' I figure, he knows everything already, so what does he need me for?"

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Al Haig on why he would not go on Schaap's show:

"I say, 'I played with so and so in 1942.' He says, 'no, you played with him in 1943.' I figure, he knows everything already, so what does he need me for?"

So, does that mean that Al Haig thought that Schaap would have been correct?


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

well, he really didn't care - figured Shcaap was both asking the questions and giving the answers -

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you hold a conversation with someone who knows it all?


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Schaap has been/is so desperately in need of attention, a need to stand out, that he simply makes up stuff. This has had the desired effect of convincing people that he has information that somehow escaped learned historians. Unfortunately, the ploy has also resulted in distortion of that history. He does know a lot, names, dates (real and imagined), recordings, etc., but is obsessed with trivia, whether it is fact-based or not--look at the Benedetti set, was there any eartly reason to include trains passing in the night, just because Benedetti's machine happened to do so? Of course not. Equally ludicrous--and, I think, sick--was his inclusion of sound snippets last 5 or 6 seconds, and then identifying them as "possibly Lover Man"! I look forward to George Avakian making public some of the Schaap horror stories he has shared with me. I also wish people could see the submitted Schaap liner notes and compare them with the edited versions that were published. Peter Pullman's mantle is missing some deserved Grammys and so, I suspect, is at least one editor at CBS/Sony.

As for for the all-star grannies and baby sitters, please--give us all a break! The man is 90% a fraud and 100% a jerk.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Schaap has been/is so desperately in need of attention, a need to stand out, that he simply makes up stuff. This has had the desired effect of convincing people that he has information that somehow escaped learned historians. Unfortunately, the ploy has also resulted in distortion of that history. He does know a lot, names, dates (real and imagined), recordings, etc., but is obsessed with trivia, whether it is fact-based or not--look at the Benedetti set, was there any eartly reason to include trains passing in the night, just because Benedetti's machine happened to do so? Of course not. Equally ludicrous--and, I think, sick--was his inclusion of sound snippets last 5 or 6 seconds, and then identifying them as "possibly Lover Man"! I look forward to George Avakian making public some of the Schaap horror stories he has shared with me. I also wish people could see the submitted Schaap liner notes and compare them with the edited versions that were published. Peter Pullman's mantle is missing some deserved Grammys and so, I suspect, is at least one editor at CBS/Sony.

As for for the all-star grannies and baby sitters, please--give us all a break! The man is 90% a fraud and 100% a jerk.


1. Being a jazz "completist" is no sin.

2. Many, perhaps most, jazz fans are obsessed with trivia.

3. All history, including jazz history, is subjective.

4. Phil has paid his dues.

5. David Remnick is a fine writer.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Schaap has been/is so desperately in need of attention, a need to stand out, that he simply makes up stuff.

As for for the all-star grannies and baby sitters, please--give us all a break! The man is 90% a fraud and 100% a jerk.


1. Being a jazz "completist" is no sin.

2. Many, perhaps most, jazz fans are obsessed with trivia.

3. All history, including jazz history, is subjective.

4. Phil has paid his dues.

5. David Remnick is a fine writer.

Sure it's no sin to be a jazz completist, but not all of his audience (or potential audience) are jazz completists or want to be. One needs to know where to draw the line. Schapp clearly doesn't. It's great that Schapp has paid his dues, but why expect an audience to pay dues as well? I think Chris is right; it sounds as if Schapp makes it more about himself and how knowledgeable he is, rather than about jazz and how wonderful it is. That's a sin. Ted O' Reilly, a member of Organissimo, and a 37 year Toronto jazz DJ, used to get the balance just right in his days at CJRT-FM.

In any case, Schapp screwed up the reissue of Ellington's "Such Sweet Thunder", and that makes him forever a screw-up in my book.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Being a jazz "completist" is no sin.

No, not per se, but Schaap's extremes might well fall into that category.

2. Many, perhaps most, jazz fans are obsessed with trivia.

That's fine, but there is enough of the real thing to go around, Schaap makes it up and.or embellishes upon it. He also most of the time gives it priority over the actual music. I think the lengthy article gives an excellent example of that--okey?

3. All history, including jazz history, is subjective.

Sorry to say this, BM, but that statement is, frankly, idiotic. If all history were subjective...well, think about it.

4. Phil has paid his dues.

I don't know what dues you are referring to, but how much has he paid for the right to alter history and present his fantasies as realities? Remember, he pretends to be the world's greatest authority on jazz (he actually labeled himself as such on liner note credits). Well, I think that self-proclaimed distinction bears with it some responsibility--turning jazz history into a fable without disclosure does not seem very responsible to me.

5. David Remnick is a fine writer.

That may well be, but I think he owes it to his readers to not accept what is told him at face value, especially when he relates something in his own words rather than as a quote. The New Yorker used to be known for its fact-checking. I and/or an event I was involved in have been mentioned in that magazine a few times in the past, and I always received at least one phone call from its fact-checking dept. I guess they have dropped that admirable routine.

BM, f you have been listening to Schaap and taking his assertions seriously, you have a lot of catching up to do--unless, of course, you are happy in his fantasies. :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ted O' Reilly, a member of Organissimo, and a 37 year Toronto jazz DJ, used to get the balance just right in his days at CJRT-FM.

Thank you, John...I tried. It can be tough to say enough to satisfy Jazz Fan's interests, but not too much, turning off casual listeners. Also, CJRT was considered an "educational" station, so the manager had my back if people called to say all they needed to know was "That's Take Five by Brubeck" and didn't care who the alto player was. Or if it WAS an alto...

(Speaking of the New Yorker's fact-checking, who is Walter Gottlieb? William's evil twin?)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.