Monday, October 15, 2007
Farewell, Lee. Adieu, Jazz.
This broad-shouldered intellectual is Lee Ingalls. Public radio listeners are familiar with his mellifluous voice in his capacity as KCUR's morning anchor, reporter and jazz critic.
It's telling that I first met Ingalls at a UMKC jazz jam at Mike's Tavern. In addition to being an absurdly nice person, he's a knowledgeable and deeply passionate fan of jazz.
So it's with great sadness that I report that Ingalls is moving to Chicago at the end of this week.
Although I hope I'm wrong, Ingalls' departure represents the end of jazz on KCUR. Ingalls hosted the station's Just Jazz program after long-time personalities Ginny Coleman and Ruth Rhoden's retired. Since that show's demise, the station has broadcast Ingalls' profiles of local jazz events and artists. He has also made regular appearances on Steve Kraske's Up To Date to review recent jazz releases.
Can anyone at KCUR fill Ingalls' shoes?
While he's a leading jazz authority, Chuck Haddix's excellent weekend Fish Fry is dedicated to "blues, soul, rhythm & blues, jumpin' jive and zydeco." Back when KCUR featured jazz programming nightly, I recall that Haddix would end his shift with Bill Evans' "Peace Piece."
I admire reporter and producer Sylvia Maria Gross' off-the-chart smarts and engaging personality, but I hold her responsible for the recent controversy at the Mutual Musicians Foundation. As I learned when I mentioned it to her, Gross was oblivious of the unwritten rule among jazz fans and drinkers to never speak publicly of the Foundation's late-night liquor situation. Her broadcast led to the government crackdown.
I'm not demanding that KCUR drop its news or classical programming to focus on jazz. The internet and satellite radio have rendered conventional music broadcasting obsolete. I do feel, however, that KCUR has an obligation to regularly cover the local jazz scene. Just up the dial, KKFI offers some fine jazz programming, but the community station lacks both KCUR's reach and resources. Area jazz musicians desperately need and merit KCUR's support.
You're going to be missed, Lee.
(Original photo by Plastic Sax.)