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End of an era: Leigh Kamman stepping down from Jazz Image

Posted at 12:55 PM on July 16, 2007 by Bill Wareham

Yes, it's true. The official release is here.

This is probably a good thing for Leigh. After all, he's been broadcasting jazz for nearly 70 years, so he deserves a breather. But it will be tough for us fans.

I'm sorry to say, I had never heard of Leigh Kamman when I showed up at MPR 25 summers ago, but one of my first jobs was to run the control board during the Jazz Image. Honestly, I will never forget the first time I opened the mic and Leigh started describing a surreal hot air balloon trip that would take to the various geographical points on some grand jazz map that we'd visit that night - Amsterdam, Paris, New York.

It struck me first as odd, but ultimately magical. I ended up working with Leigh for a couple of years, during the live Saturday night broadcasts and during the week producing pre-taped shows that we also ran back then. It was truly one of the best jobs I've ever had. And after that gig ended I discovered that being a listener could be almost as rewarding.

So, enjoy these last couple of months with Leigh at the mic. I know I will.