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Meghan Stabile, Who Linked Jazz and Hip-Hop, Dies at 39


Meghan Stabile, who saw jazz and hip-hop as genres that might cross-pollinate and who, hoping to bring jazz to younger audiences, began a shoestring business producing live shows that explored the intersection of the 2, died on June 12 in Valrico, Fla. She was 39.

Maureen Freeman, her grandmother, said the cause was suicide. She said that Ms. Stabile had recently relocated to Valrico hoping which may assist in her struggles with depression.

Ms. Stabile began producing shows while still a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She took to calling them Revive Da Live, a reputation that, at a time when turntablists were dominant, captured her interest in backing hip-hop artists with jazz musicians performing live.

“It’s an organic hybrid,” she told The Boston Globe in 2012. “Jazz is in hip-hop’s DNA.”

Once she relocated to Recent York in 2006, she continued to prepare Revive Da Live events and formed the Revive Music Group, which produced shows, created a web based forum called the Revivalist and released several albums in partnership with Blue Note Records, the noted jazz label.

Ms. Stabile generally worked outside the jazz mainstream, booking shows in small clubs, but she steadily became something of a force in Recent York.

“Within the last yr and a half,” The Recent York Times wrote in 2013, “she has emerged as a presence around the town — booking, promoting, cajoling, advising and herding young musicians, a lot of whom are still finding their way.”

Don Was, now the president of Blue Note Records, told The Times then that he had first encountered Ms. Stabile two years earlier, when he joined the label as chief creative officer and went searching for the new recent things in jazz.

“I began logging on, 4 or five hours an evening,” he said.

“And invariably,” he continued, “every thread I used to be following led back to Meghan’s site. So night after night, she seemed to be at the middle of the energy.”

She was also producing shows in Boston and elsewhere. The goal, as she explained to The Globe, was to energise the jazz scene and connect it to audiences schooled on hip-hop. A Revive Music show at Berklee in 2012, as an example, was called “Hip Hop 1942” and featured ensembles playing jazz tunes, then showing how they’d been sampled by hip-hop artists.

“It’s necessary to honor the tradition of the music, and we still have shows that try this,” she told The Globe. “But we also need to honor the music of today and make it more relevant.”

Blue Note posted a tribute to her on Twitter.

“Beloved by the musicians she worked so hard for,” the post said, “she was a passionate advocate for jazz who built a vibrant scene across the music & gave a platform to so many deserving artists.”

Meghan Erin Stabile was born on July 26, 1982, in Grand Prairie, Texas, to Gina Marie Skidds. Her father was not a part of her upbringing, and he or she was raised largely by Ms. Freeman and an aunt in Dover, N.H. Her relationship together with her mother, who died last yr, was difficult, she told The Times in 2013, and that gave her a certain irascible quality.

“I got kicked out of 4 schools — three high schools and a middle school,” she said. “For fighting. I went through lots, and I made it through. It didn’t break me. So at all times having that strength has been in a position to pull me through any style of situation.”

She entered Berklee as a singer and guitarist, but, Ms. Freeman said in a phone interview, she couldn’t overcome stage fright and shortly focused on the business of music. She also got a bartending job at Wally’s Cafe, a jazz club in Boston, and started absorbing the jazz scene.

She began producing, her grandmother said, “with nothing except her brain and pencil,” adding that she especially liked to assist up-and-coming musicians, though she never had much money.

“She did every little thing she did,” Ms. Freeman said, “however it was at all times a scramble.”

As Ms. Stabile’s status grew, a few of her shows were in good-sized venues. In 2013, as an example, she booked the 19-piece Revive Big Band into the Highland Ballroom in Manhattan and lined up the dancer Savion Glover to seem with it. But an event like that belied her staff-of-one operation.

“The surface illusion is great,” she told The Times. “Everyone thinks we’re this huge business. But look — it’s me sitting right here.”

In 2013 Ms. Stabile struck a deal to provide and curate records for Blue Note, leading to “Revive Music Presents: Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1,” released in 2015.

“The concept of a strain of contemporary jazz that’s conversant with hip-hop — as a matter after all, reasonably than calculation — holds sway over much of this music,” Nate Chinen wrote in reviewing that record in The Times.

Ms. Stabile had reduced her producing activities lately, specializing in her own health. But in a 2017 interview with the web site CQP, she said that she thought her work over time had helped connect two disparate worlds.

“Once I first began promoting shows, I needed to learn learn how to promote specifically to the jazz heads and specifically to the hip-hop heads,” she said. “I had to search out ways to lure them in. If I called it a jazz show, then the hip-hop heads wouldn’t buy tickets. If I called it a hip-hop show, jazz heads wouldn’t buy tickets.

“So I needed to create a recent narrative early on. Once we got them within the room, once they heard the music, there was just no denying how fresh it was.”

Along with her grandmother, Ms. Stabile is survived by a brother, Michael Skidds, and a sister, Caitlyn Chaloux.

Ms. Freeman said that though Ms. Stabile had reduced her producing activities, she had a long-term goal inspired by her own difficulties.

“She wanted to advertise a wellness center for jazz musicians,” she said, “so after they didn’t have a gig and so they were struggling, they may go to her center.”

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