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A Portrait of Leigh Kamman

A Minnesota jazz radio legend turns off his mic

Leigh Kamman is alive and well and living in Edina, Minn. Recently retired from the airwaves, Leigh (rhymes with say) had been a fixture on jazz radio for many years before I met him. That was in the summer of 1980, while interviewing for a board operator position at Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul. Leigh had caught up with the person who was interviewing me to discuss a jazz event taking place that weekend in Minneapolis. Leigh’s program, The Jazz Image, was the late-night show which the statewide network of stations ran each Saturday from 10 P.M. until 4 on Sunday morning. It was a voice well known to me long before this meeting, and I quickly realized that this unerringly polite man was its source.

More striking than the familiar and well-articulated speech patterns of this announcer was his professional attitude, clearly evident in his manner and his clothes. While most everyone I encountered in the halls of the radio station on that hot July day wore shorts, t-shirts and sandals, Leigh Kamman had on a tailored three-piece suit. Since this was a job interview for me, we were the only two in sight formally dressed. Leigh’s professional attire fit his voice perfectly and, as I think back on it, I’m not sure I ever saw him in anything but a suit and tie.

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