Duncan P. Schiedt
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Duncan Preston Schiedt

92, passed away on March 12, 2014. He was an internationally known figure in jazz circles, having authored four books on the subject and was a photographer of jazz players from his teens. A native of Atlantic City, New Jersey, Duncan became a professional photographer and film maker during his working years, and specialized in the making of 16mm color and sound movies for nonprofit clients such as universities, hospitals and charitable organizations. The products were used in fundraising and general promotion.

He was cameraman, director, editor or producer of over 100 such films. In addition, his early career encompassed portrait, fashion, advertising and theatrical photography. He operated a commercial studio in New York after his Air Force service in WW2, and became a documentary photographer for the 1946 Bikini atom test series, known as Operation Crossroads. A sense of adventure led him to a role in two subsequent series of test in the Marshall Islands, Operation Greenhouse (1948) and operation Sandstone (1950). During this time, Duncan was engaged in writing his first book, "Ain't Misbehaving", a biography of the famed Harlem jazz pianist Fats Waller, who was Duncan's musical idol.

Following his marriage to Betty Benjamin in 1950, there was a relocation to Hollywood for some eight months, where Duncan worked at the Atomic Energy Commission's film laboratory. Later he and his bride decided to relocate in Indianapolis, to where his parents, Jacob and Kitty Schiedt, and sister Phyllis had moved from their home in Larchmont, New York. In the Hoosier capital, he found outlets for his talents at the Indianapolis Engraving Company, Russell R. Benson Productions, and, finally at Pictorial Publishers, where as a writer and photographer, he continued his interest in motion picture production.

Almost upon his arrival in Indianapolis, Duncan became acquainted with local musicians and jazz record collectors, who were relatively few in number, but equally dedicated to the music. He, along with two other individuals, formed the Indianapolis Jazz Club in early 1956, and organization that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006. The Club has served over the years as a meeting ground for lovers of "classic American jazz", giving periodic concerts which supported both local and visiting musicians. His deep interest in jazz history led to several in-depth articles for the Club's "Jazz Notes" paper, and eventually a second book, The Jazz State of Indiana, which he self-published in 1977. This work, originally intended as a tribute to largely unsung Hoosier musicians of the past, turned out to be an international hit among jazz enthusiasts as it revealed little known details about the early histories of later-famous musicians and personnel of recording bands that had largely been mysteries. It also provided a narrative as to how jazz music developed in a typical Midwestern state in the early 20th century, Indiana's experience matching that of many other states at the time. The book has had a long life, and remains a valuable reference to later historians and authors. It is currently in print, having been reissued by the Indiana Historical Society.

Two other works bear Duncan's name: Twelve Lives in Jazz, a profusely illustrated volume of essays on a dozen jazz giants of the past, from Jelly Roll Morton and Bessie Smith to Charlie Parker; and deluxe book published by Indiana University Press in 2004, Jazz in Black and White, which presented many of Duncan's own images of jazz players taken over a 65-year period. This book received the Silver Award in the best music book of the year category, courtesy of Foreword Magazine, a prominent book trade publication.

In addition to his personal photography, Duncan diligently collected historic jazz images, rescuing many from oblivion, and made his files available to editors, researchers, authors and various media for use in education and entertainment. He was a prominent contributor to Ken Burns' TV series, Jazz, and had his images used on sets of such TV programs as Grey's Anatomy, the Young Indiana Jones, and the Hollywood film Spiderman 3. He mounted photography exhibitions in many museums and galleries in the US and, with his camera, was a familiar sight at numerous jazz festivals.

Besides his membership in the Indianapolis Jazz Club, Duncan enjoyed his associations with friends in the Portfolio, the Pioneer Broadcasters of Indiana and the Indianapolis Literary Club.

His beloved wife Betty, with whom he had two children, passed away in 1987. He is survived by his son, Cameron, Marietta, Georgia; daughter, Leslie Michel, San Antonio; and two grandsons, Kalen and David. His dear sister, Phyllis Mendenhall, Indianapolis, also survives, as does his long-time friend and companion, Liz Kirk. There will be no funeral services. Guestbook at http://www.matthewsmortuary.com


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Published in The Indianapolis Star on Mar. 14, 2014.
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Memories & Condolences
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40 entries
March 9, 2015
I met Duncan years ago - I think at the Cleveland IAJRC Convdention organized by my good friend, Jim Stincic - another tragic loss to us and the world. Duncan also gave me jazz photos to use in my third grade class as part of my ongoing efforts to bring jazz music alive for young children. He was super helpful and as we all know, warm, funny, endearing. He helped me during the Bozy White tragedy and provided a classic photograph of Bozy for use in Bozy's book on Bunny. I wish more than anything I could've had more time with Duncan. They just don't make 'em like that anymore.
Janet Harrison
April 14, 2014
Cameron, I know you of course from Lockheed and through my sister Gail and Kenny Sears at outside events. When Gail told me about your father, I read everything I could about him. What a wonderful man! I'm pretty sure I see some of his upbeat personality in you! I am sorry for your loss but am grateful that you had such a thoughtful, talented person in your life.
Joyce Lockridge
April 10, 2014
Charlie Coleman and Duncan January 17, 2014, in Indpls at the Jazz Record Collectors bash. Duncan we will miss your sweet music.
Bob Jacobsen, Starr-Gennett Board
April 9, 2014
I had the pleasure of meeting Duncan in the early 90's. He gave me a call and offered some pictures of Yank Rachell and Sleepy John Estes. Upon meeting Duncan, you knew immediately the you were in the presence of a complete gentlemen, that put others ahead of himself. His knowledge of jazz and blues was astounding as were his photographs. Later, in the 90's, I was fortunate enough to play a job with him and was equally impressed with his musicianship. It was one of the finest memories that I have as a musician. We are all better for his having been here on planet earth and the depth of his loss cannot be measured. My deepest condolences go out to his family. He was truly a giant talent in a small world! Read one of his books and you will see! Thank you, Duncan, for having been so kind to all of us!
Dave Morgan
April 5, 2014
My deep condolences to Duncan's family. What a great guy. He sent me a pile of jazz photos, book, calendars to use in my third grade classroom. We had many good conversations and correspondence. He was always one of the hippest cats around. He helped me during the murder of Bozy White with classic Bozy photos. I wish I had gotten to spend more time with Duncan. They don't make 'em like that any more. Janet Harrison
March 25, 2014
A good man who did a lot of great work. I will miss him very much.
Brad Brakke
March 24, 2014
Duncan was the sweetest, most intelligent of men. He will be sorely missed by our family.
Lisa Salazar
March 20, 2014
Duncan playing keyboards for a jazz ensemble at the Benjamin Harrison Home for the Wicket World of Croquet, June 11, 2011.
Joe Konz
March 20, 2014
Duncan presenting images from his collection to the Indiana Photographic Society on Aug. 17, 2011
Joe Konz
March 19, 2014
It was a pleasure to meet you, Leslie and Cameron. My thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with your family at this difficult time.
George Forsyth
March 18, 2014
My favorite piano player. When Duncan had finished his last piano session at our Convention in Kansas City, I asked if he remembered the song "This Time the Dream's on Me". His response was "I'll play it for you the next time we get together". There is no doubt that he will honor that promise when we meet again. Vera Lynn said it best in 1941.
"We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I'm sure we'll meet again some sunny day". We will!
Gary
March 18, 2014
We had communicated only through email until we met two years ago. Duncan was accomplished, interesting and always helpful to my husband and I. He will be missed by many, we are grateful to have known him a little.
Beth and Bob Wilson
March 18, 2014
What a kind and sweet gentleman to all. We will miss you.
Linda Gennett Irmscher
March 18, 2014
To a dear friend Who will be greatly missed he gave Stan and I many good years of great music and fun times i have his books and enjoy them all . Thank you Duncan for being my friend. Love Geri Sears
Geri Sears
March 17, 2014
Duncan was such a valuable help to me during the time we were on the Starr Gennett Board. He was a great trooper. Laurel Gennett Martin
March 17, 2014
Our times with Duncan will be treasured memories, from the Indy bashes, Jazz at Chautauqua,and Meadville, to the IAJRC Conventions each year. His photo displays, slide shows, and piano interludes were the best. We will miss the wonderful wit and delightful stories our dear friend shared. Our sincere sympathy to his family and to Liz.

Mick and Sally Fee, Novi, Michigan
March 16, 2014
Duncan was always a good friend and supporter of Mike Bezin's West End Jazz Band. It was always a pleasure to be in his company, and we will surely miss him, especially at the yearly January Indy Bash gathering, where we could always count on freezing cold Indiana winter weather and red hot jazz music listening.

Our sympathy and prayers to Duncan's family and friends.

Leah and Mike Bezin
Leah and Mike Bezin
March 16, 2014
Duncan was the "gentleman of jazz". I was fortunate enough to know him for many years and appreciated his hosting the wonderfully informal January Bash each year. I was also fortunate enough to speak and e-mail with Duncan shortly before he passed away. He will definitely be missed!
Randall Stehle
March 16, 2014
Thank you for sharing your art or photography as well as your love of jazz. And on a personal note, you would only understand - thanks for supporting my efforts on a lesser known great musician. May you and your family have peace. Alan Wallace
Alan Wallace
March 16, 2014
"We didn't think we were making history or anything like that; we were just having fun" H.Reagan Carey", and "The music itself may be radically different at times, but the sweetness of the experience has never changed." both quotes from the Preface of 1999 Reprint of Duncan's 1976 Book, the Jazz State of Indiana. I was fortunate to be a part of the first meetings of IJClub, original IJC Indpls Jazz Fest, Programs, In Historical Society's Musical Heritage Committee Projects,and many musical projects and jam sessions,... a Duncan "Jazz Groupy". The many sweet notes will outlive our grief.... "We were just having fun..."
Stay tuned,
Shirley Judkins
March 16, 2014
Duncan (and Phil Oldham's) annual collectors' gathering each January has been a winter highlight for many of us. When the event was fledged in Columbus, Ohio, in the early Eighties, Duncan came over to show support, and brought along some of his priceless photographs taken in the Thirties by Timme Rosenkrantz -- not to show off, but to leave on a table in case anyone might be interested.

Pick up any good history of jazz, and check the photo credits. Duncan shared humbly all that he had collected. He was just as generous with his knowledge and love for the music and the people in and around it.
Phil Melick
March 15, 2014
Duncan was a great friend, supporter and advocate for the Starr-Gennett Foundation. We will miss his knowledge and his dedication to promoting the history of Jazz. We are very grateful for his recordings of Scrapper Blackwell, blues guitarist from Indianapolis and a Gennett Records Walk of Fame inductee, that Duncan made in his home in the late '50's. Thank you Duncan for all you did for us.

Dave Fulton Starr-Gennet Foundation, Richmond, IN
March 15, 2014
A man to respect and admire, Duncan embodied everything that cultured people appreciate in life! I always enjoyed being in his company and will miss him!
Geoffrey Wheeler
March 15, 2014
It was an honor to know Duncan for the last half century and share our love of jazz.
Tom Bartlett
March 15, 2014
Thank you, Duncan, for sharing your love of music and zest for life with the rest of us. You will be remembered fondly and often for your kindness and generosity.
Quin and Steve Paul
March 15, 2014
Duncan was the kind of guy we would all like to be. I looked at one of his old movies done at Rivervale United Methodist Camp Ground, near Mitchell, Indiana where he shot it over fifty years ago. I bought his books and liked to listen to his stories and his piano playing. Thanks,Duncan, for all you gave us.
Bert Talbott
March 15, 2014
Shocked and saddened. The only way I can express his passing.
Duncan has been a friend for over 35 years since I first met him at the Bix fest in Davenport. The mid-winter IAJRC meetings in Indianapolis were the high point of my year, trading records and jamming with Duncan and other local musicians.
Duncan shared a room with me at the last IAJRC mid-winter record collectors bash. I knew that he wasn't well then but was determined to come to the meeting. We played Saturday afternoon with just Duncan, a drummer and Dave Brewer trumpet and me on tenor guitar. My grief at his passing is palpable. God rest you my good friend Duncan, and since I'm near the run-off groove myself I'll see you shortly. Sadly, Charlie Coleman
March 15, 2014
15 March 2014
Godspeed Old Friend
Bob Warren
Indianapolis Jazz Club
Broadcast Pioneers
March 15, 2014
Godspeed Old Friend
Bob Warren
Broadcast Pioneers
Indianapolis Jazz Club
March 15, 2014
Duncan was a truly extraordinary man, and I am fortunate to have had him as a friend and fellow jazz enthusiast. He is missed.
Dan Hughey
March 15, 2014
It might sound a little too much like Tom Joad in THE GRAPES OF WRATH, but wherever there is gentleness, generosity, wit, and inspired music, Duncan will be there. Here is a second tribute that I wrote and posted last night: http://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/another-kind-of-tribute-to-duncan-p-schiedt-duke-heitger-bob-havens-dan-levinson-andy-stein-rossano-sportiello-jon-burr-ricky-malichi-at-jazz-at-chautauqua-sept-21-2013/
Michael Steinman
March 15, 2014
What a fine man. What privilege to have been able to know him for 54 years.
Pete Drum
March 14, 2014
Lisa Lobdell, archivist at the Michael Feinstein Initiative, Carmel, IN and Duncan in Dec 2013. Duncan contributed photos to the Jazz Age display.
Bob Jacobsen, Starr-Gennett
March 14, 2014
Duncan has been our friend and fellow jazz enthusiast since the mid-1960s. We have enjoyed several joint projects over the years in association with the Indianapolis Jazz Club, the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors and the Starr-Gennett Foundation. It is a sad--yet triumphant--time. Best wishes and sympathies to Leslie, Cameron, Kalen, David, Phyllis and Liz.
Phil & Lynn Oldham
March 14, 2014
Duncan would probably be embarrassed by these tributes. For someone who accomplished so much, he never talked about himself. Those of us that had the pleasure of knowing him are richer. We will miss him, dearly.

Bill Lavin
March 14, 2014
I knew him just as "Leslie's Daddy." When I was growing up, I would go to Leslie's house to play. We would go down in the basement where there was a huge record collection that we were not allowed to play near. As a kid, I never knew that I was in the presence of history. The record collection was just an area of the basement that was off-limits. And he was just a sweet man who was my friend's daddy. Leslie and Cameron, I'm thinking of you during this sad time.
Joyce Eden
March 14, 2014
A charming and fascinating man! I interviewed him some years ago, and always enjoyed seeing him at book events. My sympathies.
March 14, 2014
WOW, Your dad was such a great person, It is good to see that the work he loved so much will live on forever.
Michael Swalley
March 14, 2014
An excellent tribute to Duncan can be seen in Michael Steinman's blog. He includes links to some videos and other comments. See the following link or search Jazz Lives + Schiedt: https://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/duncan-p-schiedt-1921-2014-living-and-dying-gracefully/
Thomas Hustad
March 14, 2014
Playing one for Duncan!
My name is Kirk Kuetemeier I have known Duncan almost my entire life. Duncan played piano with my father Morgan's band. Growing up Duncan was like a uncle to me. We enjoyed playing music together for his record collector conventions for the last several years.

Duncan truly was a great man and a great friend to me and all the musicians who knew him.
Kirk Kuetemeier
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