Brownian Motion

New Yorker Magazine Profile of Phil Schaap

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"Ask the folks who work at JLC who Pharoah Sanders is, who Roy Eldridge is, who Freddie Green is and you won't begin to imagine how few know!"

well, this isn't good, considering that Phil works there -

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Never heard Schaap's radio program, but this thread makes me seriously want to. Gotta gives props to anybody who's so willing and eager to spread the Word of Jazz to the masses.

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"Ask the folks who work at JLC who Pharoah Sanders is, who Roy Eldridge is, who Freddie Green is and you won't begin to imagine how few know!"

well, this isn't good, considering that Phil works there -

I know that he's done his best over the years to educate the people who work there - they take his history classes and such - but the point is he's starting with them from a knowledge base of Ø. It's not by accident that the JLC is mostly a corporate jazz scene... granted they maybe be the Only nationally acknowledged one, but JLC is not the Vanguard Uptown by a long shot.

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Ask the folks who work at JLC who Pharoah Sanders is, who Roy Eldridge is, who Freddie Green is and you won't begin to imagine how few know!

In my experience, it's not unusual for interns and admin people not to know anything about arts history.

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I read the article in my magazine copy a few days ago - only skimmed it on the screen, since I don't enjoy reading for any length of time on a screen - and enjoyed it.

I thought that the connection that David Remnick made between Schaap and Henri Langlois, the director of the French Cinematheque, was an apt one. Langlois, like Schaap, was an obsessive and a preservationist. I hope that someone - Schaap is probably not the person to do it - compiles a book of Schaap's interviews as an oral history.

For all of Phil Schaap's foibles, I think that his existence is a benefit for the jazz world.

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I met him once at a WKCR event and he couldn't have been nicer or more down-to-earth. Sounds like sour grapes on Chris' part.

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I have no idea what prompted this venom from an anonymous fellow member, nor--considering the O history of the source, am I letting it bother me--but, where do we draw the line here, Larry?

Please come back Chris! :blink:

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For all of Phil Schaap's foibles, I think that his existence is a benefit for the jazz world.

I agree, though I'm still pissed off about Such Sweet thunder. If you're being paid to produce a cd you should see to it that the take which gets the most discussion in the notes shows up on the cd.

As to being a nice guy: apparently he tried to throw George Avakian out of his father's funeral ceremony.

Edited by medjuck

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As to being a nice guy: apparently he tried to throw George Avakian out of his father's funeral ceremony.

Having witnessed some unexpected extremes in people I know in the time of grief, I think everyone is entitled to some leeway under those circumstances. I do not think that is necessarily a good time to get a good idea of personality characteristics of anyone.

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Discovered this thread only yesterday after a week's absence and found both the article AND the entire thread highly entertaining (and only human, in a way ... ;)).

I've no idea if in this case it really is a matter of one jazz writer being sore at another (and do not feel entitled or qualified to judge) but I must say that there have been quite a few posts on this board through recent years where I've had the impression they really boil down to "sour grapes" feelings among jazz writers/critics/producers (sort of "I could have done this job better than he did" or "I ought to be where this guy is now" feelings, you know ...). So IMO both sides of those rants really need to be taken with a grain of salt (hey, even Scott Yanow or Stanley Crouch can't be THAT bad .... :D :D, though MANY forum posts made them look even lower than low).

Obviously I've never been able to listen to Phil Schaap's show (though I have read items of his here and there and have heard his statements in the occasional documentary) but reading the article I somehow felt strangely connected to this guy.

He isn't the only radio character obsessed about his subject. Reading the article brought back memories of my studient days in the 80s when I regularly listened to a radio show called "Les Cinglés du Music Hall" (which might be translated as "The Music Hall fanatics") on French radio hosted by Jean-Christophe Averty and focusing on (mostly French) variety singers and orchestras of the 20s to 40s to an extent that can only strike you as extreme. Not to mention the fact that the host carried on in a state of permanent and extreme agitation throughout the show (only moderately toned down by the second speaker who served as a sort of cue guy) (If Brownie reads this, he certainly will be laughing ;)) I remember one show was made up of an entire hour of every conceivable late 20/early 30s version of "Just A Gigolo". Certainly something for diehards! But interesting even to early jazz fans as many of the orchestra accompaniments of the recordings provided quite a bit of hot jazz.

In the same vein, carrying on forever about the meaning of "Okiedokie" is something where I can imagine it can get on some people's nerves ... but on the other hand, nobody is forced to listen if Schaap rambles on for too long, but as long as there are some who find this interesting (and there must be...) ... and aren't we collectors also prone to searching for unexplored territory and trying to discover minute trivia one way or another in our own collecting ways?

Making up "facts" of course is impardonable and if he really is guilty of that (how about some irrefutable proof for things that have been made up, though?) his bluff ought to be called loudly and clearly but the bottom line is that if only half of the article is true this guy must strike a chord with quite a few collectors. And in today's world of streamlined, formatted radio and musical background information being extemely superficial and aimed at the utterly clueless (who need to be fed only tiny snippets of easy digestible info lest they be made aware of their cluelessness which of course is not to happen as they then might be lost as listeners ... ;)) this is quite an accomplishment.

Every specialist radio show aimed at specialists is to be encouraged. There are too few of them anymore for our kind of music.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I think those of us who have been here for years know that Chris doesn't like, and has no respect, for Schaap. Apparently Clem has just discovered this and is shocked beyond belief. Reminds me of the time back on the BNBB that I tried to expose Greg Maltz as an asshole, being too naive to realize that everyone knew it already...

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I think those of us who have been here for years know that Chris doesn't like, and has no respect, for Schaap. Apparently Clem has just discovered this and is shocked beyond belief. Reminds me of the time back on the BNBB that I tried to expose Greg Maltz as an asshole, being too naive to realize that everyone knew it already...

:lol:

This sounds freakishly familiar...did I ever do anything like this?

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I think those of us who have been here for years know that Chris doesn't like, and has no respect, for Schaap.

Maybe so, and to each his own opinion and likes and dislikes, but does this force anybody else beyond that "inner circle" that you seem to be alluding to to automatically agree with this (or to put it another way, does this mean that it is wrong to ask questions about whether or why this dislike is well-founded?)

Note that I am not taking sides in this "feud" between those concerned, but I certainly am rather unimpressed by personal dislikes of this sort, and reserve the right to come to my own conclusions and say so.

Today it's Phil Schaap, tomorrow it's Scott Yanow (again), then it's Stanley Crouch's turn again, and then somebody else may be getting in the line of fire, and if you take a look at some of those engaging in this kind of feuds, how can you as an interested (and slightly bemused) observer AVOID the impression that sour grapes play a not too small part in such put-downs? :unsure:

Maybe the best way to avoid leaving such an impression would be to back up accusations and resentments with hard facts about what those coming into the line of fire have been found guilty of. Might be enlightening in more ways than one .... (But then again, the forum admins probably would disapprove ... ;))

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I think those of us who have been here for years know that Chris doesn't like, and has no respect, for Schaap.

Maybe so, and to each his own opinion and likes and dislikes, but does this force anybody else beyond that "inner circle" that you seem to be alluding to to automatically agree with this (or to put it another way, does this mean that it is wrong to ask questions about whether or why this dislike is well-founded?)

No, of course not. Well, excluding Wynton Marsalis, of course...

But I think Clementine's approach went a bit beyond the level of asking questions or disagreeing.

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On 13/05/2008 at 6:07 PM, Chuck Nessa said:

I just got dizzy.

:g Me, too...

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Bump. I just rediscovered this, a day after hearing Bird Flight for the first time in ages---and wanting to strangle Phil all over again :crazy:.

I used to really like Phil personally. He put me on the air with some real gentlemen of jazz during a KCR fundraiser at the West End when I was a wee lad, and was the MC on some shows I was on live from the West End. I witnessed him standing over the body of George Kelly at the funeral home, close to tears. No way to fake that stuff, and I wouldn't dream of questioning his sincerity or dedication to jazz.

But his ego did eventually get the better of him: The last time I saw Phil was at the now-closed gift shop at JALC---which he was manning. The first words out of his mouth (no 'hello, Joel) were 'Ask me something. Anything'. So I asked him about Nat Leslie, composer of Radio Rhythm for Fletcher Henderson, about whom little seems to be known. He didn't tell me anything, really. Since I was moving out of the country I volunteered to donate some old Down Beat magazines so they could sell them. He asked for a cell phone # where I could be reached, and said he would call that afternoon. Never did. OK, fair enough, I suppose.

I think Schaap is a multi-layered  guy---like a lot of interesting people. Part droning, know-it-all egomaniac, part overly-solicitous worshipper of his jazz heroes. He has done tons of archival work, speed correction of recordings---on and on. I think in the final analysis that, as much of a pain that he can be jazz is fortunate to have him...

Edited by fasstrack

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The Mosaic Jazz Gazzette brought up this article today:

Phil Schaap: the Walking History Book of Jazz

David Remnick of the New Yorker crafted a wonderful 2008 portrait of Phil Schaap as the obcessive institution of New York morning radio. His vivid descriptions of Phil in high gear make his show come alive.

-Michael Cuscuna
 

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