Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Jazz Decades" host Ray Smith has died.

From the WGBH website:

From John Voci, General Manager of WGBH Radio.

On Friday, February 26, Ray Smith passed away at the age of 87. He leaves Marilyn, his wife of 61 years, three children and jazz fans everywhere.

Ray came to WGBH in 1972 and over the next 38 years, he produced more than 1900 programs.

Ray first produced the Jazz Decades in 1958 for WKOX in Framingham, Massachusetts making the show one of the longest running programs in Boston radio history.

Ray was an accomplished drummer and a member of many traditional jazz bands including the Black Eagles, the Yankee Rhythm Kings, the Jazz Decades and the Paramount Jazz Band. For many years, he regularly performed at the Sticky Wicket Pub in Hopkinton.

A native of Melrose, Ray was a decorated veteran for his service during the Second World War including being part of the invading forces during the battle of Iwo Jima. In 1989, Ray retired from a career as a graphic designer and in 1997; he left New England for Hilton Head, South Carolina where he continued to produce his program.

Ray had an encyclopedic knowledge of ragtime, blues, swing and the great jazz of the 1920s and 30s. His passion for the music he loved was infectious. We remember Ray for his music but he was also one of the nicest and most gracious men that you could hope to meet. We invite you to post your comments and remembrances at our Jazz Decades page online at WGBH.Org.

Because of the archives, the show will continue both on-air and online for some time to come but we’ll all miss our colleague and friend Ray Smith, our guide through the Jazz Decades.


He and his wonderful program will be much missed.

3 comments:

Thomas said...

What a great loss for fans of the jazz decades !
I stumbled onto his program here on the west coast on KCSM on Sunday nights years ago and have taped his show regularly since.
He was a class act. Enclyclopedia knowledge of jazz presented in a very soft manner. As if he were speaking only to you, the listener.
He will be sorely missed by many.
Andy Senior must continue his legacy.

Andy said...

Thomas, thank you--I really appreciate your kind words. I'll keep the music playing as long as I can.

And I'll offer a brief tribute to Ray Smith on this week's show.

Andy

Bridget said...

Ray is my grandpa. Thank you for the kind comments. We miss him dearly.

His granddaughter,
Bridget