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Five Questions with… Ben Young

Written by on April 26, 2021

What brought you to hosting a show on WICN? Why do you love being on the air?

Well, I came to the area in 2017 and of course listened closely to WICN. Having a Jazz-oriented radio station of any sort these days is a minor miracle, and WICN is a major one! (I had done some years of radio in New York up until 2014.)

So, coming to Worcester, I introduced myself to then-Executive Director Amanda Carr to teach the Jazz 101 course, and soon enough we decided there might be a way for me to be on the air.

What is your favorite WICN memory? 

Poignant as it was, I got to hear some of the last Saturday Matinee shows that Joe Slezak hosted back in 2017. You could tell he was a believer, and that side of his humanity came through as bold as the music.

FILL IN THE BLANK: The best concert I ever saw was ______________?

Hmmmm… You can tell I’m not much on superlatives, myself, but… I was honored to be part of the Sam Rivers Trio reunion concert in NYC in 2007 that’s now on CD.  There’s a good starting point. A great group to start with, making a welcome reunion; still pushing the envelope, presented by adoring promoters, a packed house, and it was the talk of the town… on a great spring day, no less.

Many listeners don’t know that the majority of our hosts are volunteers that do this out of a personal passion. What do you/did you do professionally off the air? 

Strange to say, almost all of my professional work is actually in the jazz field. I teach, host listening sessions, produce and annotate records, and, am writing a biography of a jazz musician, pianist Cecil Taylor. I also recently took the post as Director of the Jazz History Database at WPI.

Who are your favorite artists and/or albums of all time?

Oh, man; here we go with the favorites again…

Shortlists are better, right? Let’s say Louis Armstrong and Albert Ayler.

Reader's opinions
  1. Richard Godfrey   On   April 26, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    This interview just scratches the surface of what Ben Young brings to jazz in Worcester! He has provide several other jazz courses at WICN, including my favorite “Duke Ellington”. Ben was also instrumental in forming the Worcester Hot Club, which continues on Zoom during the pandemic. His knowledge of the world of jazz is amazing and always presented in a most interesting way.

  2. Domenic Ciccone   On   April 27, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Nice you mentioned Joe Slezik. Hope there are some recordings of his show that can be uploaded for posterity. Used to help with the phones on his show and check out the records he brought in. To find them on my own.

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