Philip Smart - RIP
Although I'm not entirely familiar with the body of work this man ended up making his living with, he did play an important role for me many years ago. He was part of the WNYU, 89.1 FM, team that I grew up with in the early 80's, and was even more important for the fact that he was the only one there playing all reggae on his specialty show, Get Smart. Smart went on to play a crucial role in the Jamaican music scene here in the New York metropolitan area for the last 30 years. You can read an excellent article about his career over at Red Bull Music Academy.
Fellow WNYU DJ, Tim Sommer (host of Noise of the Show) had the following to say: "At WNYU in the very early 1980s, there were a handful of us snotty kids, all convinced we could change the world by playing "Is Vic There?" and begging the tri-state area to listen to Teardrop Explodes and Young Marble Giants; but there was one slightly older gentleman amongst us who seemed to posses a grace and calm that completely eluded us hopped-up, club-hopping, day-sleeping music geeks who thought the Holy Grail could be found in the bins of 99 Records and Sounds. That gentleman was Philip Smart; and on the same airwaves inhabited by myself, John Loscalzo, Evan Davies, Naomi Walker, Michael Dugan, Sal Locurto, Dominick Milano, Tony Garcia, and too many others dear to my heart to mention here, Phillip played music of devastating simplicity, power, cultural meaning, depth and joy.
I am very proud to have shared a radio studio with him, and to have known him, even if it was only just to nod at him and as I stepped out of my noisy chair and he stepped into the room with his sweet, deep presence. He had an extraordinary life beyond (the lost) Loeb Student Center, too, as a producer and recording engineer of nearly profound influence. Thank you Phillip, for being so far beyond us little shits, yet never above us. And have a good voyage wherever the universe takes you next."