Hazen Schumacher, host who introduced audiences to classic jazz, dies at 88

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Hazen Schumacher, a longtime public broadcaster and host of a jazz show on public radio for three decades, died Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was 88.

According to his obituary, Schumacher joined the University of Michigan in 1950 as a television producer. He went on to direct public TV shows distributed across the country by National Educational Television, which later became PBS. Schumacher also taught and worked in various roles at the university until he retired in 1993.

But Schumacher found a worldwide audience with his radio show Jazz Revisited, which he hosted for 30 years. The show first aired on the University of Michigan’s radio station, then was picked up for national distribution by the network that later became NPR.

Jazz Revisited focused on “a very specific era of great, classic jazz recorded between 1917 and 1947,” according to a Michigan Radio remembrance of Schumacher. It went off the air in 1997. Recordings of his shows are now in a jazz museum in Germany.

Linda Yohn, music director at WEMU in Ypsilanti, Mich., remembered Schumacher’s influence on her career as a jazz radio host in a tribute. “. . . [T]he music was fantastic, but it was Hazen’s meticulous research and his warm, enthusiastic demeanor that helped make sense of classic jazz for a younger generation,” she wrote.

And here’s a short documentary about Schumacher and the show: