Jazz trailblazer Meghan Stabile, of Revive Music, has died at the age of 38. News of her death was confirmed by Stabile’s brother, Michael Skidds, who set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral costs.
From all over the US jazz scene, messages are pouring in celebrating Stabile’s contagious energy and amazing ability to bring musicians together. Her career as a jazz impresario and producer was still taking off, but she’s managed to help launch a number of celebrated musicians, including twice-Grammy winner Thundercat.
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RIP Meghan Stabile: She was ‘at the centre of the energy’
A New York Times feature from 2013 described Stabile, then an up-and-coming name in the NY jazz scene, as a “woman on a curious mission: to make jazz matter to the hip-hop generation”.
Her mission was made all the more difficult by the fact she was a petite, soft-spoken woman in a male-dominated industry. When Stabile first broke on to the scene after graduating from Berklee College Of Music in 2006, the tide seemed to be turning away from jazz towards hip-hop as the interests of a new generation shifted.
In her own words: “The concept of starting a business making jazz relevant to large audiences — that’s the quest, the mission.
“Getting people who don’t listen to jazz to say, ‘I didn’t know I could dance to a Dizzy Gillespie song.’”
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Stabile didn’t like to talk about her early life, which she only described in vague terms as “really bad”. She once said: “Not a lot of people know about it. I don’t talk about it. And I don’t focus on it, either. I focus on what I’m doing now.”
Growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, Meghan was raised mainly by her grandmother and an aunt. Her dad wasn’t in the picture and she only talked about her mother to allege their relationship was “abusive”.
After she graduated from Berklee in 2006, where she briefly studied singing and guitar and then focused on business courses, she set her eyes on the New York music scene. There, she started an ambitious series of shows called Revive Da Live with the goal of making newer generations love jazz as much as she did.
Revive Da Live evolved into a website called the Revivalist and her own brand, Revive Music. Blue Note Records president Don Was said Stabile and her brand appeared to be “at the centre of the energy” for New York’s jazz scene.
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Brother sets up GoFundMe after Meghan Stabile’s death
The news of Meghan’s death was confirmed by her younger brother, Michael Skidds, who set up a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his sister’s funeral.
Along with his plea for financial help, Michael shared a heartbreaking tribute to his sister: “Meghan was such a warm and loving person. She inspired everyone she ever met. She had a laugh so contagious it would bring happiness to any room.”
On his Facebook page, he posted a moving message on the string of tragedies that happened in his and Meghan’s family recently:
Tributes pour in from across the music industry
During her brief but intense career, Stabile helped launch a number of celebrated jazz musicians and facilitated such trailblazing collaborations as Roy Ayers and Pete Rock. Ayers, a veteran vibraphonist and vocalist with a five-decade career in jazz and R&B, teamed up in 2011 with hip-hop specialist Pete Rock for a two-night gig.
Our hearts go out to Meghan’s family and loved ones.