“Birdflight” — a poem (for Phil Schaap) by Marilyn Mohr

October 12th, 2021

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“Sax in a Blue Suit,” by Samuel Dixon

sax in a blue suit by Samuel Dixon

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Birdflight
……………….For Phil Schaap 1951-2021

The jazz DJ you listened to each morning
Is broadcasting from another sphere.
Perhaps you and Phil are parsing
Charlie Parker together.
His nasal voiced juicy lisp that spilled
details of Parker, Lester Young, and Coltrane,
no longer flies the airwaves in Birdflight.
You sat at the radio, like a monk at the feet
of his master and listened to the music and
commentary as deeply as any scholar.
Phil Schaap is gone, so is your vinyl, your
earphones and your wet tar memory for
jazz minutiae as the radio goes silent.

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Marilyn Mohr is the author of two volumes of poetry, Satchel (Cross Cultural Communications Press, Merrick, NY, 1992), and Running the Track (Aesopus Press, Woodstock, NY 1981). She has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, and has performed her work on radio and television. Her recent work can be seen in the Paterson Literary Review, Poets on the Verge, The Paterson Literary Review and Lips Magazine.

A native New Yorker, she lived in Woodstock, where she was co-editor of The Woodstock Poetry Review and The Catskill Poets’ Series.
She was the coordinator of The Poets’ Forum at the JCC of Metropolitan New Jersey. She currently lives in West Orange , New Jersey .

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Phil Schaap was a jazz historian, producer and disc jockey who for 40 years hosted the shows “Bird Flight” and “Traditions in Swing” on WKCR, New York.  During the course of his career, Schaap received six Grammy Awards.

Click here to be taken to his Wikipedia page.

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Click here to read his obituary in the New York Times

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Samuel Dixon is an award-winning abstract impressionist painter based in Maryland. Click here to view his work.

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In 1988, Phil Schaap was commissioned by Mosaic Records to salvage the unissued, amateur recordings of Charlie Parker made by the saxophonist Dean Benedetti. This 1947 recording of Parker playing “All The Things You Are” is from the Mosaic box set, The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings of Charlie Parker

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There are several excellent Phil Schaap resources on Youtube, including this extensive 2015 interview hosted by Jake Feinberg of Tuscon’s Powertalk 1210 AM radio

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Click here for information about how to submit your work

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In This Issue

"Nina" by Marsha Hammel
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition...One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within the pages of this website. (Featuring the art of Marsha Hammel)

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Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

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“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

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