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ghost of miles

Phil Schaap R.I.P.

78 posts in this topic

Sorry to hear this sad news, RIP. I tuned into his weekend show a couple of times when driving in NYC and found it entertaining and informative. Friends to jazz like Phil are hard to replace.

Hope the tapes and archives get recovered and stored OK.

Edited by sidewinder

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1 hour ago, Dan Gould said:

I've had good contact with both the assistant and Sid Gribbetz the long-term jazz host. I think we can prevent a great loss of jazz history. Can't say the same for Chris A.'s stuff.

Schaap has some brilliant acolytes; Charles Iselin is one, Matthew "Fat Cat" Riviera, who's in his mid-twenties, is another. Without personal knowledge, I'm certain Phil's archives will be carefully attended to.

 

charles-lloyd-.jpg

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8 minutes ago, MomsMobley said:

Schaap has some brilliant acolytes; Charles Iselin is one, Matthew "Fat Cat" Riviera, who's in his mid-twenties, is another. Without personal knowledge, I'm certain Phil's archives will be carefully attended to.

 

I hope so, as long as they don't take the approach of "this was Phil's, now its the family's."  I would expect the family knows the significance themselves.

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Wasn’t it Phil who was phoned up when on the air by Miles Davis during the Miles reclusive lay-off period? I think the ‘Miles Ahead’ film covered it.

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Sorry to hear this. Listened to some of his shows, and he did indeed talk a lot, but it was always at least interesting.

 

Edited by J.A.W.

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46 minutes ago, MomsMobley said:

Schaap has some brilliant acolytes; Charles Iselin is one, Matthew "Fat Cat" Riviera, who's in his mid-twenties, is another. Without personal knowledge, I'm certain Phil's archives will be carefully attended to.

 

charles-lloyd-.jpg

Charles Iselin is part of the weekly Worcester Hot Club/Jazz History Database Zoom meetings Every Thursday. I will see what I can find out. There are several Herbie Nichols acetates floating around. Time to gather them all...

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32 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Wasn’t it Phil who was phoned up when on the air by Miles Davis during the Miles reclusive lay-off period? I think the ‘Miles Ahead’ film covered it.

Remnick mentions Davis’ real-life phone calls to WKCR around that time in the New Yorker article. And yep, there’s a scene in the movie where Davis calls Schaap.

Edited by ghost of miles

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Sad news.  In the mid-70's, my first girlfriend knew Phil because he was her youth activities leader in synagogue.  One Saturday night, I took an uptown bus with him and her to the West End Cafe, where we saw a band that he booked there - it was probably The Countsmen (I remember Jo Jones on drums).  We chatted a little on the bus, and he seemed like a nice guy.  Of course, later on I knew about Bird Flight and all that, but that bus ride is my main memory of Phil.  R.I.P.

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Man, that really hit me when I just read the announcement. I can't imagine NY without PS. You think he'll always be there, and then you see the RIP, and it's over.

Sure, I've posted about his excesses as a DJ, but it's like losing a NY institution, and a valuable resource. To give an example of what a great resource he was, two friends of mine were hanging out, talking about Eddie Costa, who was a close friend of one of the two. They couldn't remember the date that EC died, and this was before anyone even had a computer.

One of them said, "Hey, let's call Phil at KCR." They phoned up WKCR, and Phil answered the phone. They asked him the question, and he immediately replied, "July 28, 1962", and hung up the phone. That was Phil Schaap.

He's got a tape of an album I was going to do with the great Joe Dixon, whom Phil had on his show. I was going to buy it from him, but he was asking a lot of bread for it. An interesting fact is that one of Biden's economic advisors, Jared Bernstein, was playing bass on it, and wrote two songs on it. I wrote and arranged the others. I don't know how I can get it now.

If, as DG said, Sid Gribbetts is involved in saving his tapes, that's a positive sign. SG is a lawyer in the Bronx, and I'm sure he'd be able to figure something out.

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The Worcester Hot Club/Jazz History Database Zoom session tomorrow will include a tribute to Phil. Details are in the ongoing thread on the Worcester Hot Club sessions in Live Shows and Festivals. 

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On 9/8/2021 at 0:39 PM, ghost of miles said:

Remnick mentions Davis’ real-life phone calls to WKCR around that time in the New Yorker article. And yep, there’s a scene in the movie where Davis calls Schaap.

What was he calling about?

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On the very first morning that I was a resident of NYC I set my clock radio alarm to the very first station I could pick up clearly on the FM dial.  I awoke the next morning to the unmistakable sound of Charlie Parker in full flight, followed by another Parker tune, then another.  I couldn't believe that someone was playing Bird, lots of Bird, first thing in the morning on a Tuesday, in 1987. It seemed to me some sort of New York miracle and I just lay there listening to it rather than get ready to go out and look for the work I'd need asap to supplement my very paltry grad student stipend. 

Then this guy came on, talking and talking enthusiastically a mile a minute about some minutiae involving the music we just heard. I was fascinated listening to him go on and on, bringing in side stories and personal anecdotes and the most unlikely bits of knowledge.  That was my introduction to Phil Schaap and he has been a core part of my New York soundscape ever since. 

Yes, he could be comically, tediously, and even infuriatingly pedantic. Playing a tiny snatch of music over and over again to hammer on some point or bit of phrasing or sound in the background that only he could actually care about.  Or launching into a seemingly endless soliloquy to explore some arcane area of musical or social or technical history that, with even a modicum of conciseness, could have been thoroughly discussed in a few minutes.  But it all came from that overwhelming enthusiasm, and very real very deep love, for jazz music and its history that was at the core of his work and his life. His spots during the various WKCR birthday broadcasts were often amazing fonts of information and insight about important artists, but his real love of the music shone through on his Traditions in Swing programs when he would joyfully shine his little spotlight on, and share so much background knowledge about, recordings and artists long forgotten by the world. 

I only met Phil a few times, all but once for very short periods of time.  The longest I ever spoke with him was after a Benny Carter show in Tompkins Square when he saw me standing mesmerized by the side of the stage. I told him my dad had seen Benny Carter at the old Paradise Theater in Detroit (aka Orchestra Hall) on a bill with the King Cole Trio (Nat, that is), and Phil instantly gave me a month and year for that event based on his top of the head knowledge about those 2 bands (later research showed he was off by a month). The last time I spoke to Phil was at Junior Mance's last show at St. Peters and I was very surprised that he remembered me, and even more so that he recalled I share a birthday with Charlie Parker. 

In the spirit of Phil I guess I have gone on way too long here, but crazy fixations and all he will definitely be missed.  It will take a long time, most likely all the time I have left, to get used to a New York without Phil Schaap.

 

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11 hours ago, bertrand said:

What was he calling about?

From the Remnick article (with bonus Monk anecdote!):

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!”

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9 hours ago, Al in NYC said:

On the very first morning that I was a resident of NYC I set my clock radio alarm to the very first station I could pick up clearly on the FM dial.  I awoke the next morning to the unmistakable sound of Charlie Parker in full flight, followed by another Parker tune, then another.  I couldn't believe that someone was playing Bird, lots of Bird, first thing in the morning on a Tuesday, in 1987. It seemed to me some sort of New York miracle and I just lay there listening to it rather than get ready to go out and look for the work I'd need asap to supplement my very paltry grad student stipend. 

Then this guy came on, talking and talking enthusiastically a mile a minute about some minutiae involving the music we just heard. I was fascinated listening to him go on and on, bringing in side stories and personal anecdotes and the most unlikely bits of knowledge.  That was my introduction to Phil Schaap and he has been a core part of my New York soundscape ever since. 

Yes, he could be comically, tediously, and even infuriatingly pedantic. Playing a tiny snatch of music over and over again to hammer on some point or bit of phrasing or sound in the background that only he could actually care about.  Or launching into a seemingly endless soliloquy to explore some arcane area of musical or social or technical history that, with even a modicum of conciseness, could have been thoroughly discussed in a few minutes.  But it all came from that overwhelming enthusiasm, and very real very deep love, for jazz music and its history that was at the core of his work and his life. His spots during the various WKCR birthday broadcasts were often amazing fonts of information and insight about important artists, but his real love of the music shone through on his Traditions in Swing programs when he would joyfully shine his little spotlight on, and share so much background knowledge about, recordings and artists long forgotten by the world. 

I only met Phil a few times, all but once for very short periods of time.  The longest I ever spoke with him was after a Benny Carter show in Tompkins Square when he saw me standing mesmerized by the side of the stage. I told him my dad had seen Benny Carter at the old Paradise Theater in Detroit (aka Orchestra Hall) on a bill with the King Cole Trio (Nat, that is), and Phil instantly gave me a month and year for that event based on his top of the head knowledge about those 2 bands (later research showed he was off by a month). The last time I spoke to Phil was at Junior Mance's last show at St. Peters and I was very surprised that he remembered me, and even more so that he recalled I share a birthday with Charlie Parker. 

In the spirit of Phil I guess I have gone on way too long here, but crazy fixations and all he will definitely be missed.  It will take a long time, most likely all the time I have left, to get used to a New York without Phil Schaap.

 

Thanks for this. 

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Some of Phil’s 78’s at WKCR.  This is just small sample.  
 

928-F2804-DE58-463-E-8-EF1-2-CA0364-B2-A

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Young Phil Schaap was a Quicksilver Messenger Service fan, especially - of course - JOHN CIPOLLINA. At some point Phil meets John & befriends, tells him how great his playing behind the (largely mediocre) vocals was, asks if he's influenced by Billie & Lester; John says, "silver penny Brunswicks" - meaning the silver-colored (but really steel) coins of his birth year, 1943. John is also a huge JACK SHELDON fan, tells Phil he needs to hear early Jack he'd not yet been hipped to; Phil in turn introduces John to EDDIE DURHAM, whom he's good friends with and getting work for as manager of the Basie alumni band, THE COUNTSMEN.

None of this is "surprising" but I'd not heard the Cipollina / Jack Sheldon connection before... Maybe Phil is "making it up" as some have accused him of doing? Well, early Quicksilver tapes (which I doubt Phil heard) now circulate where they cover TWO tunes from Jack's 1962 album OUT!

**

Also, LENNIE TRISTANO became a big DIANA ROSS fan tho' when Phil loaned Lenny his LITTLE RICHARD records, Lennie never played them.

(from today's September 13, 2021 broadcast of Matthew "Fat Cat" Rivera interview with Phil this past April.)

sheldon-out.jpg

Edited by MomsMobley

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original post removed.

Mr. Iselin replied to me a short while ago but could only indicate that the plan is to donate Phil's archive to a University, most likely (and very unlikely to be Columbia despite the obvious ties), and that the West End tapes remain unsorted let alone organized in any way.

(Since possession is 9/10ths of the law, I imagine WKCR has little chance of reclaiming those tapes, if they really were "liberated" by Phil.)

Edited by Dan Gould

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In case anyone saw my prior post I am adding this one below the completely rewritten post with info from Mr. Iselin.

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On 9/10/2021 at 2:23 AM, Al in NYC said:

On the very first morning that I was a resident of NYC I set my clock radio alarm to the very first station I could pick up clearly on the FM dial.  I awoke the next morning to the unmistakable sound of Charlie Parker in full flight, followed by another Parker tune, then another.  I couldn't believe that someone was playing Bird, lots of Bird, first thing in the morning on a Tuesday, in 1987. It seemed to me some sort of New York miracle and I just lay there listening to it rather than get ready to go out and look for the work I'd need asap to supplement my very paltry grad student stipend. 

Then this guy came on, talking and talking enthusiastically a mile a minute about some minutiae involving the music we just heard. I was fascinated listening to him go on and on, bringing in side stories and personal anecdotes and the most unlikely bits of knowledge.  That was my introduction to Phil Schaap and he has been a core part of my New York soundscape ever since. 

Yes, he could be comically, tediously, and even infuriatingly pedantic. Playing a tiny snatch of music over and over again to hammer on some point or bit of phrasing or sound in the background that only he could actually care about.  Or launching into a seemingly endless soliloquy to explore some arcane area of musical or social or technical history that, with even a modicum of conciseness, could have been thoroughly discussed in a few minutes.  But it all came from that overwhelming enthusiasm, and very real very deep love, for jazz music and its history that was at the core of his work and his life. His spots during the various WKCR birthday broadcasts were often amazing fonts of information and insight about important artists, but his real love of the music shone through on his Traditions in Swing programs when he would joyfully shine his little spotlight on, and share so much background knowledge about, recordings and artists long forgotten by the world. 

I only met Phil a few times, all but once for very short periods of time.  The longest I ever spoke with him was after a Benny Carter show in Tompkins Square when he saw me standing mesmerized by the side of the stage. I told him my dad had seen Benny Carter at the old Paradise Theater in Detroit (aka Orchestra Hall) on a bill with the King Cole Trio (Nat, that is), and Phil instantly gave me a month and year for that event based on his top of the head knowledge about those 2 bands (later research showed he was off by a month). The last time I spoke to Phil was at Junior Mance's last show at St. Peters and I was very surprised that he remembered me, and even more so that he recalled I share a birthday with Charlie Parker. 

In the spirit of Phil I guess I have gone on way too long here, but crazy fixations and all he will definitely be missed.  It will take a long time, most likely all the time I have left, to get used to a New York without Phil Schaap.

 

I think it might have been in the late 90s but he broke down and analyzed Slim’s Jam in minute detail. I think he did this over two or three shows, if my memory is correct. It was fascinating and absorbing. Maybe it was too minute but I didn’t think so; I learned a lot from him. 

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His website with many of his recorded shows on WKCR seems to have disappeared completely from the internet. A loss to his listeners and one that probably would have horrified him.

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5 hours ago, Sandman said:

His website with many of his recorded shows on WKCR seems to have disappeared completely from the internet. A loss to his listeners and one that probably would have horrified him.

I am trying to contact one of his assistants who has been helpful in the past, if he sheds light I'll let everyone know.

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I am told this is an unplanned outage and that it will be looked into. So I would expect the College of Jazz Knowledge to be back up pretty soon.

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