Monday, September 7, 2015

Jazz loses one of its great advocates

Tom the Jazzman at Newport, 8-31-2015
Jazz lost one of its finest ambassadors this holiday weekend. Broadcaster "Tom the Jazzman" Mallison died overnight in a head-on collision as he was driving home to Greenville after his weekly Sunday night radio show on North Carolina's Eastern Public Radio. He had been a steady volunteer broadcaster on the station in New Bern for more than 30 years.

Mallison was a great friend, as well as a tremendous advocate for and promoter of jazz - and a mentor to many younger jazz broadcasters around the country. He was a faithful attendee at the Newport Jazz Festival each summer for several decades. His jazz knowledge and his gentle spirit will be missed at festivals, conferences and seminars galore, and his soothing voice will be missed by his many Eastern Public Radio fans.

California-based pianist Lisa Hilton was stunned when hearing of the overnight tragedy, but also had a keen perspective on Mallison. "The last thing he did was his jazz show. That's Tom - Jazzman until the end."

An Evening with TomtheJazzman was the longest running jazz program in North Carolina. Mallison took great pride in the fact that he never repeated or reran a program. Everything was fresh week-in and week-out.

In 2003, jazz programmers across the United States selected Tom the Jazzman to be the first recipient of JazzWeek's Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award for his efforts in jazz promotion, jazz education, his radio programming and willingness to help other jazz radio programmers and stations.

Condolences at this sad time to his wife, Frances, their children and grandchildren. 

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