Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The New Yorker's tribute to Bird's biggest fan

In 2008, The New Yorker magazine printed a terrific article about Phil Schaap and his morning show on Columbia's WCKR-FM (89.9). The article notes Schaap's astounding and encyclopedic knowledge of Ornithology (that is, the kind that relates to Bird).
I used to pick up Schaap's program and was mezmerized -- if you've not heard it, tune in at 8:20 a.m. or catch a podcast here. Each show examines the intricacies of some of the most incredible recordings in bebop, including discussion of alternate takes -- something that can be helpful to learning musicians. There's something helpful in hearing Bird and Diz have to do multiple takes to get past the head of a tune ... of course, they played them at about 300 beats per minute ...
Schaap's knowledge is truly awesome, so much so that Columbia Records asked him to help edit and produce the complete Charlie Parker recordings reissues.
Amazingly, he's been doing this for 40 years and next month, WCKR will celebrate Schaap's career with a Feb. 2 party. If you can't make it, put on your favorite Parker recording (mine's "Star Eyes" from the "Charlie Parker with Strings" ... I know, I know, but I love the arrangement and Parker's lines), and be thankful people like Phil Schaap love this music so deeply that we can be so well educated and entertained.

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