Ray Smith's show The Jazz Decades was on the air for nearly forty years.
Myself, I've listened for nearly thirty. He had a collection of 90,000
records, reputedly, and the major bulk of them were 78s, many very rare.
Besides mourning Ray, one must wonder what is to become of the collection.
From John Voci, General Manager of WGBH Radio.
> On Friday, February 26, Ray Smith passed away at the age of 87. He leaves
> Marilyn, his wife of 61 years, three children and jazz fans everywhere.
> Ray came to WGBH in 1972 and over the next 38 years, he produced more than
> 1900 programs.
> Ray first produced the Jazz Decades in 1958 for WKOX in Framingham,
> Massachusetts making the show one of the longest running programs in
> radio history.
> Ray was an accomplished drummer and a member of many traditional jazz
> including the Black Eagles, the Yankee Rhythm Kings, the Jazz Decades and
> Paramount Jazz Band. For many years, he regularly performed at the Sticky
> Wicket Pub in Hopkinton.
> A native of Melrose, Ray was a decorated veteran for his service during
> Second World War including being part of the invading forces during the
> of Iwo Jima. In 1989, Ray retired from a career as a graphic designer and
> 1997; he left New England for Hilton Head, South Carolina where he
> to produce his program.
> Ray had an encyclopedic knowledge of ragtime, blues, swing and the great
> of the 1920s and 30s. His passion for the music he loved was infectious.
> remember Ray for his music but he was also one of the nicest and most
> men that you could hope to meet. We invite you to post your comments and
> remembrances at our Jazz Decades page online at WGBH.Org.
> Because of the archives, the show will continue both on-air and online for
> some time to come but well all miss our colleague and friend Ray Smith,
> guide through the Jazz Decades."
> "Jazz Decades features traditional jazz, big band, and swing from the 20th
> century and earlier, including recordings from as early as 1890. Host Ray
> Smith has been the voice ofJazz Decades for more than 30 years, culling
> programs from the more than 90,000 titles in his personal collection.
> Listen to Ray Smith tell his life story on the occasion of Jazz Decades'
> anniversary in 2007."