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Meet Homer Schaaf

Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper By

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Is there a club that's no longer around that you miss the most?
Tommy Flanagan (with Peter Washington and Lewis Nash) and Art Farmer would play Sweet Basil for two weeks, and I would go to five or six sets. Other regulars were Art Blakey, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Mal Waldron. When we started going there, the first set was at 10 p.m. (and Art Blakey could be late). That club was briefly replaced by Sweet Rhythm, where I heard the Three Altos: Gary Bartz, Sonny Fortune, and Vincent Herring. Among other happy memories: Zoot Sims at Hopper's, and George Coleman at Fat Tuesday's.

Do you have a favorite jazz anecdote, something that involves you or that you witnessed?
Mulgrew Miller to the crowd at Birdland: "We want you to know your rights. You have the right to remain silent and we hope you will exercise that right."

How do you discover new artists?
We hear them when they play with the old artists.

Vinyl, CDs, MP3s or streaming?
CDs, and occasionally vinyl or streaming.

If you were a professional musician, which instrument would you play and why?
It's said "the piano is an orchestra" (and that's true in the hands of Harold Mabern). I'm guessing it might be fun to practice piano, because you could experiment with harmony and counterpoint.

What's your desert island disc?
If humanity destroys itself (not unlikely) and space aliens come to Earth and dig up Kind of Blue and listen to it (less likely), then I am quite certain they will say, "Who were these people and how did they do it?"

What do you think keeps jazz alive and thriving?
Musicians and listeners, with some help from bartenders, journalists, and record producers.

Finish this sentence: Life without music would be....
inhuman.

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