Legendary jazz radio host Leigh Kamman dies at 92


Leigh Kamman, the former host of the long-running "The Jazz Image" program on Minnesota Public Radio, died Friday evening at age 92, MPR News reports.

Kamman's broadcasting career spanned more than six decades, starting when he was still in high school.

A native of St. Paul, Kamman covered jazz for the St. Paul Central high school newspaper and held his first radio show, "Studio Party Wham," not long after graduating, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

It was around that time -- 1939 -- when Kamman, just 17, landed his first interview with a jazz great -- Duke Ellington -- at the train station in St. Paul.

He went on to work in New York City during the 1950s, where he interviewed jazz musicians such as Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones and Art Farmer, said MPR News.

Kamman returned to Minnesota and began hosting "The Jazz Image" in 1973. For more than 30 years, Kamman would sit behind the microphone on Saturday nights, playing jazz music and chatting with famous musicians.

Kamman hosted his last episode of "The Jazz Image" in September 2007, right after his 85th birthday. He said then that he wanted "to slow down a little," MPR News reported at the time.

"Leigh has guided Minnesotans on a jazz journey," said Sarah Lutman, MPR's then-senior vice president, in 2007, "meeting musicians and hearing their music, and creating memorable radio."

Kamman died at his home in Edina, his daughter, Katherine Vye told the Star Tribune. She said the family is planning a private memorial service but planning is already underway for a larger celebration of his life involving the jazz community.

You can listen to an interview with Kamman from 2007, when he retired, on MPR News.

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