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Phil Schaap Jazz Collection


"Phil was old school; jazz, for him, it was a church. He didn't merely love jazz, he believed in it. And he was one of its greatest messengers." - Adam Schatz (from a September 8, 2021 National Public Radio obituary) 


"Phil was steadfast in his belief that the story of real, swinging jazz illustrates a positive, inclusive and successful metaphor for how we Americans could and would do better." -Wynton Marsalis (from a September 8, 2021 National Public Radio obituary) 

Large photo of young Phil in the recording studio

Phil Schaap (1951-2021) was a jazz historian, curator, educator, radio host, and prominent voice in jazz advocacy and education for over 50 years. He spent over 50 years as a radio host at Columbia University’s WKCR, where he hosted popular jazz shows such as Bird Flight and Traditions In Swing, and conducted interviews with jazz legends of the past and present. Schaap was also the curator of jazz and head educator of Swing University at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He taught at Princeton, Rutgers, Columbia, and Juilliard, with an emphasis on the jazz tradition and strategies for deep, informed listening. A 6x Grammy award winner and NEA Jazz Master, Schaap is widely regarded as one of the foremost scholars of jazz music, and a leading figure in providing accurate and explanatory jazz information.


***This guide contains instructions and tips on navigating the Phil Schaap Jazz Collection at Vanderbilt University as well as information about Schaap's life, career, legacy, and philosophies. With tens of thousands of published and unpublished recordings, papers, books, and realia, this collection will take several years to process and make accessible. Please visit the "Collections Updates/News" tab to read about the latest updates to the Phil Schaap Jazz Collection.