Sunday, September 21, 2014

Site Navigation

  • News and features
  • Events
  • Membership
  • About Us
Radio
The Jazz Image

The Jazz ImageTM

with Leigh Kamman

Notes for Leigh
The weekend of Sept. 29 is Leigh's final broadcast. Do you have any specific memories of THE JAZZ IMAGE you'd like to share? Are there special moments you remember, or artists that Leigh introduced to you? Let us know!


Hi Leigh,
I don't know if you remember me but I was your engineer maybe around 13 years ago. It was back in the old building, even before NCC was built. I think the show ran from 10pm to 2am then and it was on KSJN/CMS. Louise Vahle was the CMS host before The Jazz Image started up. I just wanted to thank you for so many wonderful memories. I truly enjoyed working with you and I'm honored to be associated with you and the show. You were so wonderful to work for/with and you introduced me to some fantastic music. Had it not been for you I wouldn't know of Kevin Mahogany. One night you and I saw him at the Dakota (when it was still in Bandanna Square). It was such a thrill to listen to you and Kevin's piano player talk about jazz after the show -- for once you were able to talk about yourself which you never did when interviewing people on the radio. I have two children now and one of their books features a pig who, when she is happy, feels all warm inside as if she has eaten a great deal of hot buttered toast (she loves hot buttered toast). When I think of the nights I worked for you and was a part of The Jazz Image, I too feel all warm and hot-buttered-toasty inside! When I sing Alice Babs to myself, a peacefulness fills me and there's always a smile on my face. I'll be listening on Saturday night. May your future Saturday nights be as wonderful as your listener's past Saturday nights. Thanks again, and best wishes for the future.

- Jeff C., St. Paul, MN

Aloha, Leigh.
My Sister-in-Law, Mayva Boranian E-mailed me about your retirement. She has also kept me up to date with your long career. I remember when you and Sev Widman had a show at WMIN wjich was located in a little house out i tn the middle of nowhere by Brown and Bigelow. I produced a remote for Sev at Murray's restaurant on WDGY. One my most memorable memories of you is when we were at a Jimmy Lunceford concert at the Eagles Erie in Minneapolis. It's great that you could hang in there for so many generations to know the joys of jazz. Mazeltof.

- Harry B., Lihue, HI

My favorite memory of the Leigh Kamman show is at my in-law's cabin on Lake Lida in Ottertail County. One of my favorite things to do at the lake is to put together jigsaw puzzles into the wee hours. Listen to The Jazz Image was always part of that. It set the perfect atmosphere and always reminded me of late nights at smokey clubs.

- Carlotta P., Excelsior, MN

I discovered The Jazz Image about 10 years ago when we moved within the signal of Minnesota Public Radio. The show's Gerry Mulligan intro and Leigh’s casual welcome always made me turn up the volume. The voice sounded familiar, yet I was sure I had not heard it before. I thought, this program must originate in Chicago. But this was a gentleman in Minnesota guiding us through the world of jazz in all of its history to its current scene. The listeners were global travelers in a time machine with Leigh as our guide. The Jazz Image introduced me to current artists like Maria Schneider. I discovered Alice Babs thanks to the beautiful Ellington / Babs outro that Leigh used as his program’s signature tune. The interviews kept a pulse on the jazz community. We will miss this program. And Leigh, we will miss you. Good luck on your writing and whatever else you want to do. Thank you.

- Jay P., St. Paul, MN

Many late nights and early mornings I would drive home from an evening of playing rock and roll in bars and The Jazz Image provided sonorous solace and a welcome respite to my sore ear drums, battered brain and my soul which was, after an evening full of music, still yearning for something more. Thank you.

- Nolan H., Morris, MN

Please tell me that MPR will continue playing old broadcasts of The Jazz Image and I won't be so sad. If, every Saturday night, I still get to hear Leigh's voice gently holding hands with me as we walk through the beautiful music and explaining things the way only someone who was there could, I will be fine. It will be like he'd never left and all would be well with the world...or at least all would be well that night. Please, tell me that's what's in the plans...please?

- Michele G. M., Dresser, WI

Please advise the name of the Alice Babs album or DVD that includes her signature descant that Leigh employs so beautifully each week on his program. Thank you. PS Thanks so much, Leigh, for making our weekends so memorable.

- James E., Plymouth, MN

It is with great, great sadness that I write this note. I learned this morning that this coming Saturday night will be my last magical repose with Leigh Kamman. Leigh's voice has transported me to many ballrooms around the country and taken me back in time to listen to the great big bands. He's introduced me to artists that I may never have known. But most of all, especially after a very stressful week, I treat myself to a glass of wine and spend truly magical hours with Leigh and relaxing jazz music. They are hours each week that I have come to look forward to and to treasure. Leigh will be missed in my house. My Saturday nights just won't be the same.

- Nichole C., Cloquet, MN

About 20 years ago while working at a local restaurant (Mancinis), I approached 2 gentlemen that were just seated. I recognized his voice immediately, and asked if he might be Leigh Kammen. It was. Two weeks before I had heard a song on the radio from some station out of Rochester and never heard the artists name so I took a chance to ask if he might know. It was a jazz accordian of all things. He immediately gave me the name Leon Sach and said he was out of Chicago and last recorded on the Mercury label years ago. I will never forget it. Thank you Leigh.

- Candice C., South St Paul, MN

Leigh was my introduction to jazz, at the tender age of 18. It was the weekend of the 4th of July, 1980. I had purchased my first portable stereo, what they used to call a ghetto blaster, and two friends of mine and I spent that entire steamy, sultry Saturday night wandering around south Mpls with Leigh Kamman and Loius Armstrong blasting from the speakers until the batteries died. I know we walked at least 15 miles carrying that thing, from Diamond Lake road to the Edina Mills and back to the Perkins on 60th St and Nicollet Ave, but I don't remember anyone complaining or asking us to turn it down. I've been a die hard Louie fan ever since, and Jazz just doesn't sound right on the radio without Leigh filling in the gaps with history.

- Rik L., Sunfish Lake, MN

Leigh, I cannot count the nights I have driven home from a gig with you as my traveling companion during the last 20 or so years. I heard old friends and made new acquaintances because of your broadcasts. The most memorable night, however, was on a Friday in September of 1991. My friend and colleague, saxophonist John Paulson and I were heading home to Winona from a gig in Rochester. Of course, we were listening to your show. You played 4 or 5 Miles Davis cuts without interruption. When next you came on the air, John and I both knew from the tone of your voice that Miles had passed on. Your reverence in that moment is something that I shall never forget. Thanks for all the great years and best wishes to you for continuing good health. Drives home from the gig will not be same after next Saturday night. God bless!

- Eric Heukeshoven, jazz pianist & composer Music Department Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

When my wife an I first moved to ""the wilds"" of the Brainerd Lakes Area from Chicago in the '80s, we loved the environment but thought we were living in a bit of a cultural wasteland--especially me--a jazz fan and devotee of Windy City jazz clubs. But then we joined Minnesota Public Radio and, one Saturday night long ago, our ears and eyes were remarkably opened by discovering Leigh Kamman and the Jazz Image. How well I remember, and how much I looked forward to, hearing Leigh's smooth, soothing weekend voice, introduced by the wondrous mantra of Alice Babs, right after Garrison Keillor and a Prairie Home Companion. I will long cherish those wintry Saturday nights in the northwoods, sitting before a glowing fire and sipping wine, reveling in the wonderful sounds of jazz from around the world and through the ages, personally and incomparably delivered to our snow-covered cabin by Leigh Kamman. I raise my glass to you now, Leigh, and say thank you for serving as a distinctive cultural voice in the wilderness for these many years. You will be missed. Best regards...Rick Jourdan

- Rick J., Nisswa, MN

Thanks for your many years of enlightening zilions of us listeners. One broadcast I fondly remember was when you made tribute to my cousing Bobby Crea. I also remember watching you in awe when I saw you at a venue like the Thunderbird, thinking, wow, he exudes knowledge, kindness and a deep appreciation of music.

- Fred C., Minneapolis, MN

As a jazz musician and avid jazz appreciator, I have looked forward to the sound of Leigh Kamman's voice and faithful broadcasts each weekend for over forty years. Every time I hear Gerry Mulligan I think of Leigh. I am grateful for his passion, tenacity and service. My best to Leigh and his family.

- Stephen W., Orono, MN

I started listening the The Jazz Image when it first came on the air in 1973, when I lived in Fargo, ND. I had three jobs and one of them was a midnight paper route delivering papers to the coin boxes in bars, restaurants and hotels. There were many cold winter nights when I drove my two hour route, listening to Leigh's view of Jazz which helped me stay warm and awake. Also, in 1980, he taught the Jazz Experience class at the Walker and my sister, brother in law and I spent many wonderful evenings in the theatre of the Gallery, listening to his stories, the history and the music, played by local artists, of the decades of jazz. My appreciation and love of jazz was born, nutured and grew to a lifelong appreciation through listening to Leigh Kammon all these years. His show has followed me through many decades of my own life, thick and thin, and I will truly miss this comforting, informative, delightful and musical journey I went on every week for 34 years. Thanks Leigh for touching my life so profoundly.

- Cynthia M., Saint Paul, MN

I first listened to Leigh when we had a place on Lake Superior near Grand Marais. The only, or at least best, radio station reception was MPR from Houghton Michigan and on Saturday night late we would listen to Leigh, I thereby learned about Doc Evans whose 100 year centennial is at Carleton this weekend. Did you sell the green Mazda Miata? I think it was yours on Carsoup a couple years ago.

- Ollie B., Northfield, MN

I was a freshman at College of St. Teresa in Winona in '75 from a north Chicago suburb. It was comforting to put my little box clock radio up in the windowsill and hear Leigh's voice over the waves from WLSChicago. I thought for many of those young years his name was ""Lake Hammond"". It was a Jazz education. Bon au revior

- Myra S., St. Joseph, MN

I want to thank Leigh for the evenings he produced at the Walker a number of years ago, especially for the evening that featured John Hammond.

- Grant H., Minneapolis, MN

A long time ago,LK introduced songs on a late night prograqm I think was from Chicago...I went to sleep with the radio on to him and his music.Thanks

- Herbert D., Sauk Centre, MN

Saturday night will NOT be the same without Leigh. You have a HUGE job trying to replace him !!!

- Jim McGuire, Rosemount, MN

My kids are sleeping, and I'm spending yet another Saturday night making cookies, working on lesson plans for the week ahead, and listening to The Jazz Image. I will miss this perfect combination, and I will miss Leigh's voice and insight into the world of jazz. I wish him well.

- Shannon D., Saint Paul, MN

The Jazz Image has been with me since its beginning in my art studio, I've been painting all these years inspired by America's greatest art form: jazz. Late night's driving home from parties or just sitting out on the porch listening to ""The Jazz Image"" its the greatest all time radio program - thanks, Leigh.

- Lance & Kathleen K., Buffalo, MN

Leigh, We've just returned from out annual sailing holiday in Denmark. (I just missed Bobby Rockwell in Aarhus) While there a friend wrote with the sad news that you are going into (a much deserved) retirement. I can't count the number of delicious Saturday nights I have spent at the drawing board listening to your collections. As an architectural student in the early 70's at the U of M ""Artists Against The Night"" was a traditional all nighter for me. Oh it's not all work, you've also been there many nights by the fire with a good book (usually some hard boiled detective novel), and provided the soundtracks to some memorable and not so memorable dinner parties with friends. I give you a thousand thankyous and I wish you sweetness and great good luck, The end of your show will leave a BIG empty spot in my life. So any way, I'm on the shore of Lake Minnebelle in the studio catching the last of the gentle summer breezes, the moon shining on the water a little hint of crispness in the air. Warmest Regards, Steve Jensen

- Steve J., Litchfield, MN

Greetings from the Gunflint Trail! Thank You, Leigh, for enlightening us to the history and emotion of jazz. With your insight of the jazz phenomenon, our lives have been truly enriched by the music AND your personal history. A Heartfelt Thank You! Paul and Kelly Dahl P.S. We are enjoying fall on the Gunflint Trail. We hope you are enjoying the season as well.

- Paul and Kelly D., Gunflint Trail, MN

We'll miss you Leigh! Me and my mom had a tradition we'd stay up late and play board games while listening to you spin the cool JAZZ. so long.

sincerly, Jack L. (age 9), St Cloud, MN


Leigh: Your program has meant so much to me and my wife, daughters now too. We have listened since college and have no other 'media' must do's on our calendar except your program. Thank you for all of your time over the past years.

- Christian G., Saint Paul, MN

Hallo! it's way past time i checked in -- just want to thank you for all the great musical evenings over the past several weeks. Loved Bob Wilbur's take on ""Benny Rides Again"" on last weekend's show and enjoyed discovering the lyrical stylings of Mose Allison. The Count Basie based shows you aired were great fun. I was glad to discover the singing of Joe Lewis on one of those live recordings -- quite a voice. (speaking of voices, was also wowed hearing the live recording of Sara Vaughn on last weekend's show.) The recent Boogie-Woogie show was also great fun! Terrific show! All that exciting piano music and Louis and Charlie Parker too -- and Thelonius Monk (""for spice"")! Wow. Good stuff. Thanks again for bringing us along for such great performances each week. Take Care.

- Geoff D., Decorah, IA

Hello Leigh, It's Steve K. I used to be your board op, etc. guy back in 1995. I totally enjoyed every moment working with you. I see that you are retiring and wanted to send you my congratulations and best wishes for whatever you may have planned next. I remember our longer hours in the beginning before they were shortened to what they are now. I appreciated getting to learn from you all the new (to me) music you played and talking with the guests you had on. I know the regular listeners are really going to miss you. I moved to FL 2.5 yrs ago so I won't be able to stop by in person to say congrats, so I guess this is it... :) Thanks again for the memories!

- Steve K., Fort Lauderdale, FL

I first discovered The Jazz Image about twenty yaers ago when I was in graduate school, up late on Saturday nights writing papers. I've been listening ever since, and your program has become our family's Saturday night tradition. We will be very sad on the 29th, but we wish you the best!! Thank you for so many years of enjoyment!!

- Colleen O., Hudson, WI

Thank you ""Jazz Man""! It all began 15 years ago in a small cabin in Emily, Minnesota. The clear, clean dark summer nights and the intro music to an evening of delighful listening brings a smile of good times and fond memories. I will miss you very much, wish you well and THANK YOU!

- Danielle B., Minneapolis, MN

Well, while leigh is closing the curtain of his program. I know Leigh is a national treasure and now part of history of jazz and of the culture of the USA. He gave so much to people and musicians that he should know that between the ears of his audience over the years he gave love and beauty to the hearts who loves him deeply and gartefuly. We love you, leigh. Enjoy your retirement. I am waiting to welcome you in paris.

Your friend
- alain duquesnes, paris, MN

Mr. Kamman, I am writing to express my most sincere gratitude for your decades of inspired work with MPR and the Jazz Image. My entire life, the Jazz Image has been a Saturday night staple, and it's difficult for me to imagine the program without you. I've never missed a broadcast when possible and, to this day, when I hear that Alice Babs or Gerry Mulligan floating in over the airwaves, I'm brought to a singularly unique place I've only ever found in jazz; the Jazz Image has never failed to make me feel inspired, at home, content. There is music in my life--there is the joy of creation in my life--because of your work. Mr. Kamman, I cannot thank you enough. Most sincerely, indebtedly, and thankfully,

- Patrick E., Barrett, MN

We will miss Leigh so much. You have become a regular part of our Saturday evenings for many years. I have been listening since the late '70s or early '80s. Intermittently in the early years religiously for the past 12-15 years. Leigh is a huge jazz treasure! There is no one like him. He has introduced me to many artists particularly with local connections like Patty Peterson in the late '80's, and Karrin Allyson in the early '90's. As I have gotten older I have really grown to appreciate Leigh's tribute shows with the passing of our great performers. I still remember well the evenings devoted to Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme. We also enjoyed seeing Leigh at the MPR booth at the State Fair a number of years ago when he had Dennis Spears as a guest. And it was a great pleasure to see him pop in at the Dakota in St. Paul. And the tribute to him at The Fitzgerald in 2003. There is going to be a serious void in our Saturday evenings! Leigh, we wish you the best of luck and health. We will miss you much, but will remember and appreciate all that you've given us throughout the years. Thanks so much!!

- Scott and Jean S., Stillwater, MN

Leigh: Some will note all of your singular contributions to the jazz art, history, and just plain fun. All of that is in out thoughts too at the time. But our fondness for you and your show is especially associated with sailing on Lake Superior. In the Apostle Islands, or Isle Royale, or Loon Harbor, the gently rocking motion of our sailboat became fused in our hearts with the sounds of your show. Caressed by the music you sent out to us across the ether, we found an esthetic melding of the waterborne experience of nature with the jazz medium that has thrilled us for decades. Back home on weekends, the opening strains of the Gerry Mulligan theme anticipating your sonorous baritone never failed to evoke nostalgia for those happy summer Saturday evenings, anchor down, the Jazz Image floating through the cabin. We will miss you! Sincerely,

- Jim H. and Ellie A., Minneapolis, MN

The weekend of Sept. 29 is Leigh's final broadcast. Do you have any specific memories of THE JAZZ IMAGE you'd like to share? Are there special moments you remember, or artists that Leigh introduced to you? Let us know!