Archive for the ‘Jazz’
Phil Schaap’s obsessive nature has made him an invaluable resource in the world of jazz (and plagued many of his relationships he’s had that I’ve witnessed). And he’s become such a fixture in the New York radio community that the editor of The New Yorker has devoted an extensive profile of Phil this week that I’d recommend to anyone who loves Charlie Parker.
Anyone who knows Phil (he and I were in college radio in the early 70s; he still broadcasts on the station today) can argue pro and con for slightly less long than his description of a, say, 1947 Count Basie recording session, but I found his philosophy of jazz incredibly refreshing when he told me about it at a bar in 1999, and is recounted in the profile:
“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.”
This Cecil Taylor post has been moved here. Sorry for the inconvenience.
What I completely missed when I stopped listening to the avant-garde in jazz in the late 70s was Lester Bowie’s sense of humor. And the fact that as members of the same generation we probably liked the same breadth of music (after all, he was married at one time to Fontella Bass).
So when Lester died several years ago and I heard this track on the radio I was bowled over and went out and bought every one of Lester’s solo CDs. I already had a lot of his Art Ensemble of Chicago recordings, but I chased these like they were the Holy Grail. Sure he’s progressive, but he’s also funky, he’s funny, he’s serious.