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Jason Schwager

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it's the breath of the sun I was first exposed to jazz by a Chicago DJ, Sid McCoy. He changed my life. When I was a high school student, I couldn't wait till midnight when Sid came on the air. I'd listen to him until the wee hours of the morning. The first jazz record I bought, as a teenager besieged by pop-music and wanting to flee from it––was Erroll Garner's Concert By The Sea. I played it until it ceased being vinyl. The best show I ever attended was...well there is no best, but there are so many memorable: Charles Lloyd, Art Farmer, (long list) staged by the San Francisco Jazz Festival and at Oakland's Yoshis. By most fortunate circumstance, I was sitting stage-side at Yoshis in Oakland one night and met Abbey Lincoln. Her friends gracefully invited me to her dressing room between sets. Sitting in her dressing room, I told her how much her version of "You're My Thrill" meant to me. She was an angel visiting us on earth. We are most blessed to have people like Michael Ricci of AAJ. He is a model of those who live by their soul voice. My advice to new listen to your ears and your soul. Follow them. Or whatever else you have in mind: play an instrument. Any instrument. It does not matter how well you do it, as long as you are sincere. It will change the way you hear music. Art saves, keep playing.

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