Saxophonist Dave Schnitter
Schnitter moved back to New York in 1990 and devoted himself to teaching, both privately and at the New School, where he's been an instructor for the past nine years. "I wasn't playing in public for maybe 5 or 6 years," he recalls. "I wasn't looking for work as a leader, but I was always playing with friends here in the house, just not in the clubs. I got spoiled in Spain and I kind of got turned off to the business here and that whole rejection thing. I guess I was taking it personally." He returned to role of sideman about five years ago, working with former Messenger bassist Mickey Bass uptown at the Lenox Lounge and more recently with drummer Craig Wuepper downtown at Smalls. He's also has a new album, Pen Pals (Munich), with Dutch pianist Edgar van Asselt and has begun working as a leader again.
While playing with Wuepper at the Ear Inn one night Jazz Gallery director Dale Fitzgerald came in and surprised to see the tenor saxophonist there made arrangements to have him perform at the Gallery. Schnitter brought in an excellent group with bassist Dennis Irwin (who had been with him for most of his years with Blakey), along with pianist Michael Cochrane and Ronnie Burrage on drums. Unfortunately, very few people were there to hear it. David approaches this lack of popular recognition with candor and no bitterness. "I moved out of the country at the height of my career. I was gone for almost ten years and people forgot me. It's as simple as that. That's when I realized the importance of playing in these clubs. It helps when people see you and that's what I'm supposed to be doing. Playing music for people and being a Messenger."