A staple of local radio and jazz programming is dead.
Tom Hampson had loved jazz since he was a teenager, and he retained that passion even after choosing law as a career, becoming a lawyer specializing in corporate law. He also hosted a weekly jazz show on WXXI for over 30 years; it was originally called Mostly jazz, and more recently has been known as Jazz from the cellar.
He died this week at the age of 87, but had only recorded the show in his home studio in recent weeks.
Tom spoke about the longevity of his show earlier this year.
“Well it seems unlikely but it is true. Here I am about to start my 57th year of jazz radio in Rochester. And during that time, one of my main roles has been the cheerleader for many dynamic jazz players in Rochester. And as I said, I have had the privilege of providing airtime to some of them.
Former director of the WXXI program and current host of Classical 91.5, Marianne Carberry says Hampson was a great guy to work with.
“He was such a total gentleman and so generous with his time and knowledge and you just had an idea of his passion for jazz. He always took that extra time to answer your questions or share his enthusiasm.
Hampson has known and interviewed a multitude of renowned local and international musicians, including jazz pianist Marian McPartland, for whom he also worked in the legal field, as well as composer Alec Wilder.
There is no funeral planned, but his family say there will be a memorial service for him early next year.