Skip to main content

Willis Conover

The man with the world's richest baritone voice was known to me from the day I was born! Conover hosted Jazz Hour (& many other programs) on VOA for many years. He managed to build a very comprehensive Jazz archive and his radio programs were famous throughout the world excepting the US.
VOA had once overarchived and needed to give out some of its vinyl records and invited requests from its listeners. Dad replied, and sure enough they sent him the promised record. The quality of recording was immaculate. However, Dad wasn't too fond of it since it featured the flute as the lead instrument. Conover's autographed photo was also sent.
Dad and I were stunned when the usual familiar voice of Conover didn't greet us at the beginning of yet another Jazz Hour. I knew something was seriously wrong. The announcer then broke the sad news: Conover had died of lung cancer. It was 1996.

BTW, VOA has an absolutely hideous website.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Deepanjan:

I very much enjoyed your posting about Willis Conover. I recall listening frequently to his "Music USA" and "Jazz USA" on VOA in the late '50s and 60s. What a wonderful job he did -- and what a terrific impact he had on listeners all over the world.

I also saw your photos of Conover. How did you acquire them from the VOA? They are terrific!

As I've rambled around your blog, I've enjoyed many of the other topics you've written about.

Cheers!

Larry Miller
Spearfish, SD
USA

Popular posts from this blog

The year that was

I'm wearing a rather striking shirt, one that makes me feel like a clown fooling around in a graveyard. Roving eyes latch on to me and make me too conscious of myself. Checkered in red, grey, black and maroon, I've excused myself into donning it and looking silly for two reasons. It's Friday and…more importantly, the last working day of the year. Tailored half-a-year back, I never had the courage to wear it, not until today. It's that time of the year when it's time to reflect on the events that transpired. Last year ended on the worst possible note. Dad had expired and I was numb with shock. The repercussions rippled halfway thought this year. Things were so abysmal initially that I had lost the will to live. Acrid in everything I did, I was immensely angered by time phlegmatically flowing through its cadence. It was as if Dad meant nothing to anybody. What right did people have to live the way they always had when Dad was no more? Why was much of the world still

Post Christmas

The workday didn't have the sweetest of starts. After being made to wait for almost half-an-hour for breakfast in the cafeteria, I was told only when I enquired that there could be no omelette since the heater wasn't working properly. I lost my temper and aired my annoyance not because the heater was out-of-order but because I was needlessly made to wait for something that was just not about to happen. The onus was on them to intimate me and they failed to own up to their responsibility. I find this attitude very irksome. Anyway, the rest of the day was smooth sailing except for a minor glitch that had to be rectified just when I was about to head for lunch. The bay was mostly deserted since most of my colleagues had volunteered for a training. I'm self-taught...thus my being an exception to the mass exodus! Nilotpal is on a fortnight-long leave and I missed him dearly today.
I'm learning the hard way not to trust anyone. Even the one you revere the most may be scheming your downfall. By no stretch of imagination may this seem logical, but who said imagination is limitless?