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What You Don’t Know About Grammy-Winning Jazz DJ: Phil Schaap

Phil Schaap
Phil Schaap

According to the latest reports from the New York Post, Jazz connoisseur, and Grammy-winning reissue producer, Phil Schaap passed away on Tuesday, September 7 at the age of 70 years old. He is survived by his wife.

A Twitter user who claimed to be his cousin broke the news of his tragic death on Wednesday, September 8.

“My cousin Phil Schaap died last night. I loved him like crazy, will miss him beyond measure, and wish he could tell me one more wild story about Papa Jo Jones. BIRD LIVES! In my heart, so does Phil, ” the statement read.

Phil’s cause of death was still unclear to the news outlets.

Who was Phil Schaap?

Phil Schaap was an American jazz disc jockey and producer who had hosted jazz shows on the Columbia University WKCR since 1970. Before his death, he hosted Bird Flight and Traditions In Swing, both since 1981.

According to Wikipedia, the superstar has won several Grammy Awards.

How old was Phil Schaap?

Born on April 6, 1951, Phil Schaap was 70 years old at the time of death.

Phil Schaap Biography – Early Life

Schaap was raised by his jazz-loving parents Walter Schaap. With the help of his father, he was friendly with many jazz musicians from a young age, particularly the members of the original Count Basie Orchestra.

Eventually, Count Basie’s drummer, Jo Jones, became his occasional babysitter when Schaap was six years old.

He is also a cousin of the sports journalist Dick Schaap.

Schaap grew up as a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Phil Schaap Education

Schaap attended Columbia University and graduated in 1973.

He assisted the Grateful Dead in setting up their audio equipment when the band played for the strike at Columbia University.

On February 2, 1970, his freshman year, he began broadcasting jazz on the Columbia University radio station, WKCR-FM, and he has continued as a radio broadcaster since then.

Phil Schaap Carrer – Works

Early in his career, he managed the Basie alumni band, The Counts, and engineered the sound for various Jazz events including George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival. For 17 years, Schaap ran the Jazz at The West End jazz room on Broadway at 114th St in New York City, booking on a nightly basis such prominent swing-band alumni.

Schaap is known for his long and detailed discussions of Charlie Parker minutiae.

Phil Schaap Net Worth

As an educator, Schaap has taught jazz at the graduate level at Columbia University and Rutgers University.

Schaap continued his academic teaching career at Princeton University and The Juilliard School while running an adult jazz education program for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Upon becoming Curator at Jazz at Lincoln Center he left a successful career producing and writing for record companies such as Universal, Sony, and PolyGram.

In addition to his liner notes, Schaap contributed to the 2005 book by Wynton Marsalis.

Phil Schaap Wife – Family

Phil Schaap married Ellen LaFurn in 1997.

LaFurn returned to her former passion of singing jazz professionally after retiring as a schoolteacher.

It was not immediately clear if the couple had any kids together.

Phil Schaap Death

On Tuesday evening, September 7th, 2021, friends of his post about his death on Twitter.

Phil Schaap’s home radio station, WKCR.org posted an obituary that read,

“It is with a heavy heart that WKCR mourns Phil Schaap, who passed away yesterday evening at the age of 70. For over 50 years, Phil has been an irreplaceable presence at the station. The mentorship that he has provided students as an educator has helped shape a new generation of jazz historians and appreciators, and his impact will be felt for decades to come.” The statement further added, “Phil was unquestionably a giant in the jazz community.”

“This past year he was recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of the Arts, and throughout his distinguished career has been awarded six Grammys and numerous other honors.”

Phil Schaap Cause of Death – Illness

Fans flooded Twitter with messages of condolence for the jazz star.

One person tweeted, “Seeing reports that Phil Schaap has passed on. Growing up in NYC and listening to him expound on Charlie Parker’s oeuvre and the whole history of jazz helped my mind grow so much.”

Another wrote, “Rest, Phil. You did so much. All your joy. Love of the music. You made us aware. You filled the world with song — Bird song, jazz song. Friends for 50 years; I never knew anyone like you.”

“There’s only one Phil Schaap. I won’t forget. Piggybacks on Broadway. Smile.”

Next Read: What You Don’t Know About Phil Schaap’s Wife: Ellen LaFurn

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