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Willis Conover, The Voice Of Jazz Behind The Iron Curtain

Willis Conover, an expert on jazz, broadcasts "Music USA" from his Voice of America studio in Washington in March 1959.
Willis Conover, an expert on jazz, broadcasts “Music USA” from his Voice of America studio in Washington in March 1959.

Willis Conover was known around the world, but not so much at home. He was the voice of jazz over the Voice of America for more than 40 years, most of it during the Cold War.

Imagine what it was like to sit in the dark of a hushed room in Prague, Moscow or Warsaw in the 1960s, fiddle with the dial of a shortwave radio, slide over crackles, pops, and jamming, to finally find the opening notes of “The A Train” and a rich baritone intoning slowly through the static, “Good evening. Willis Conover with Music USA … ”

He played the Count, the Duke, and Satchmo, Dizzy, Miss Sarah Vaughan and Charlie Parker.

Source: South Dakota Public Radio

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