Phil Schaap, who explored the intricacy and historical past of jazz in radio applications that he hosted, Grammy-winning liner notes that he wrote, music sequence that he programmed and courses that he taught, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 70.
His companion of 17 years, Susan Shaffer, stated the trigger was most cancers, which he had had for 4 years.
Mr. Schaap was host of an assortment of jazz radio applications over time, however he was maybe greatest generally known as a fixture on WKCR-FM, the student-run radio station of Columbia University, the place his delightfully (some would say infuriatingly) obsessive each day program in regards to the saxophonist Charlie Parker, “Bird Flight,” was an anchor of the morning schedule for many years.
On that present, he would parse Parker recordings and trivialities endlessly. In a 2008 article about Mr. Schaap in The New Yorker, David Remnick described one such discourse intimately, relating Mr. Schaap’s apart in regards to the Parker monitor “Okiedoke,” which veered right into a tangent in regards to the pronunciation and that means of the title and its potential relation to Hopalong Cassidy motion pictures.
“Perhaps it was at this point,” Mr. Remnick wrote, “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.”
But if jazz was an obsession for Mr. Schaap, it was one constructed on data. Since childhood he had absorbed every part there was to learn about Parker and numerous different jazz gamers, singers, information and subgenres. He received three Grammys for album liner notes — for a Charlie Parker boxed set, not surprisingly (“Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve,” 1989), but additionally for “The Complete Billie Holiday on Verve, 1945-1959” (1993) and “Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings” (1996).
He did greater than write and discuss jazz; he additionally knew his means round a studio and was particularly adept at unearthing and remastering the works of jazz greats of the previous. He shared the most effective historic album Grammy as a producer on the Holiday and Davis-Evans recordings, in addition to on “Louis Armstrong: The Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings” (2000).
Mr. Schaap surrounded by jazz albums at WKCR, which additionally homes his assortment of jazz interviews.Credit…Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Over the years he imparted his huge data of jazz to numerous college students, educating programs at Columbia, Princeton, the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, Rutgers University, Jazz at Lincoln Center and elsewhere.
“They say I’m a history teacher,” he stated in a video interview for the National Endowment for the Arts, which this 12 months named him a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest official honor for a dwelling jazz determine, however he seen his function otherwise.
“I teach listening,” he stated.
He had what one newspaper article known as “a flypaper memory” for jazz historical past, a lot in order that musicians would generally depend on him to fill in their very own spotty reminiscences about play dates and such.
“He knows more about us than we know about ourselves,” the nice drummer Max Roach informed The New York Times in 2001.
Mr. Remnick put it merely within the New Yorker article.
“In the capital of jazz,” he wrote, “he is its most passionate and voluble fan.”
Philip Van Noorden Schaap was born on April eight, 1951, in Queens.
His mom, Marjorie Wood Schaap, was a librarian and a classically skilled pianist, and his father, Walter, was a jazz scholar and vp of an organization that made academic filmstrips.
He grew up within the Hollis part of Queens, which had turn out to be a magnet for jazz musicians. The trumpeter Roy Eldridge lived close by. He would see the saxophonist Budd Johnson day by day at the bus cease.
“Everywhere you turned, it seemed, there was a giant walking down the street,” Mr. Schaap informed Newsday in 1995.
By 6 he was amassing information. Jo Jones, who had been the drummer for Count Basie’s massive band for a few years, would generally babysit for him; they’d play information and Mr. Jones would elaborate on what they have been listening to.
Seeing the 1959 film “The Gene Krupa Story,” in regards to the famed jazz drummer, fueled his curiosity much more, and by the point he was at Jamaica High School in Queens he was speaking jazz to classmates continuously.
“As much as they gave me a hard time and isolated me as a weirdo,” he informed Newsday, “they knew what I was talking about. My peers may have laughed at me, but they knew who Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong were.”
In 1970, as a freshman at Columbia, the place he was a historical past main, Mr. Schaap turned a D.J. at WKCR and set about on a lifelong mission to maintain the style’s previous alive.
“One thing I wanted to impart,” he informed the radio program “Jazz Night in America” this 12 months, “was that the music hadn’t started with John Coltrane.”
Mr. Schaap in 2012. “He knows more about us,” the nice jazz drummer Max Roach as soon as stated, “than we know about ourselves.”Credit…Angel Franco/The New York Times
He graduated from Columbia in 1974, however he was nonetheless broadcasting on WKCR half a century later. He began “Bird Flight” in 1981 and — because the “Jazz Night in America” host, the bassist Christian McBride, famous through the latest episode dedicated to Mr. Schaap — he saved the present going for some 40 years, longer than Parker, who died at 34, was alive. He additionally hosted an assortment of different jazz applications at WKCR and different stations over time, together with WNYC in New York and WBGO in Newark, N.J.
In 1973 he began programming jazz at the West End, a bar close to Columbia, and he continued to take action into the 1990s. He significantly favored to usher in older musicians from the swing period, offering them — as he put it in a 2017 interview with The West Side Spirit — “with a nice last chapter of their lives.”
In the “Jazz Night in America” interview, he stated the West End sequence was amongst his proudest accomplishments.
“A lot of them were not even performing anymore,” he stated of the saxophonist Earle Warren, the trombonist Dicky Wells and the numerous different musicians he put onstage there.
“They were my friends,” he added. “They were my teachers. They were geniuses.”
Mr. Schaap, who lived in Queens and Manhattan, additionally did a little bit of managing — together with of the Countsmen, a gaggle whose members included Mr. Wells and Mr. Warren — and curated Jazz at Lincoln Center for a time.
As an educator, broadcaster and archivist, he may zero in on particulars that will escape an off-the-cuff listener. He’d examine Armstrong and Holiday recordings to indicate how Armstrong influenced Holiday’s vocal fashion. He’d demand that college students have the ability to hear the distinction between a solo by Armstrong and one by the cornetist Bix Beiderbecke.
Mr. Schaap’s marriage to Ellen LaFurn in 1997 was transient. Ms. Shaffer survives him.
His National Endowment for the Arts honor this 12 months was the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy, offered to “an individual who has made major contributions to the appreciation, knowledge and advancement of the American jazz art form.”
In a 1984 interview with The Times, Mr. Schaap spoke of his motivation for his radio exhibits and different efforts to unfold the gospel of jazz.
“I was a public-school music student for 12 years and never heard the name Duke Ellington,” he stated. “Now I can correct such wrongs. I can be a Johnny Appleseed through the transmitter.”