01/19/14 By Tom Wilmeth
Veteran Radio Host Leigh Kamman Unlocks his Vaults
Minneapolis broadcaster's interviews to air
Don’t count out important jazz programming on the FM dial quite yet. Earlier this week came news that vibraphonist Gary Burton is hosting a 13-part series on Toronto radio station JAZZ.FM91. Now comes word that longtime Minnesota broadcaster Leigh Kamman has agreed to air excerpts from the interviews he has conducted with jazz musicians over the past six decades.
Kamman’s interviews with Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, and Stan Kenton are only the first round of scheduled programs in this 13-part series. The show is called The Jazz Image: Special Edition, named after Kamman’s long-running weekly St. Paul broadcast, from which he retired in the fall of 2007.
The five-minute interviews run three times per week on 88.5, KBEM (FM) in Minneapolis – Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays at 11:30 A.M. (CST). The programs can also be found at the station’s link, listed below. The first of the Jazz Image: Special Edition interviews aired this past week, with Leigh speaking to Count Basie at a club in Minneapolis. This fascinating exchange finds Basie fondly remembering the days when he took organ lessons from Fats Waller.
Kamman’s daughter, Kathy Vye, serves as the coordinator for the series, which provides not only excerpts from the original interviews, but also includes Kamman’s thoughts on his subjects and a present-day contextualization of these conversations.
It is hoped that the initial plan for 13 shows will be expanded, as Kamman has a trove of interviews, from Earl ‘Fatha Hines,’ to the members of Air. This new Jazz Image: Special Edition series provides an aural snapshot of 20th Century jazz musicians and should be sought out by anyone interested in learning about the history of this music.
Click on this link to the Minneapolis jazz radio station KBEM (FM) site for this program.