Regarding Radio

Hazen Schumacher’s “Jazz Revisited”

Recorded on May 5th, 2016

In the mid-80s, after my family fully invested in “A Prairie Home Companion” every Saturday night, I would keep the radio on and continue listening to what was then WRFK (now WCVE) FM. “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz” came on after Garrison Keillor’s two-hour nose-whistle-a-thon, and I believe after that — maybe much later at night — was Hazen Schumacher’s “Jazz Revisited”. It was a gold mine of old jazz recordings, and Schumacher was there to guide the listener through it and connect it all.

He died last year and I am sad. From Michigan Radio’s: Remembering Hazen Schumacher, host of “Jazz Revisited”:

…he wanted to create a program that would reintroduce people to the music he felt like audiences had largely forgotten: a very specific era of great, classic jazz recorded between 1917 and 1947.

When I would listen to the show, I’d picture him sitting in front of a microphone in a University of Michigan radio studio at night, the only one left in the building after it closed. Who knows if that’s what really happened. Maybe he recorded his shows at 10am and was surrounded by student producers, but the more solitary, late-night imagined scenario suits the vibe better in my mind.

Bix Eiben Hamburg, a German museum, scooped up the recordings of all of the “Jazz Revisited” episodes and digitized them. They have a handful of the old shows available for streaming if you can decipher what lives where on their site. You should definitely put in the time to listen and get a feel for what a deep catalog Schumacher waded around in.