WUCF to pay tribute to legendary 'Jazz on the Beach' DJ Jack Simpson on Saturday


  • Photo courtesy WUCF
  • Jack Simpson
The FM airwaves will have a little less swing after the passing of WUCF 89.9-FM mainstay and "Jazz on the Beach" host Jack Simpson at 96 last weekend. But this Saturday, WUCF will be airing a special tribute to the DJ.

The tribute show will air on Saturday, Sept. 26, at noon – you can listen in on the radio or through the WUCF website – and will combine listener memories with a compilation of favorite moments from the show.

“For those of us who were fortunate to know Jack Simpson, we have lost a dear friend and legend in the Jazz community,” said WUCF Director of Radio Kayonne Riley in a press statement. “Jack leaves behind more than 40 years of Jazz programming that could never be duplicated. There are no words that can express our sadness, but we will celebrate him the best way we know how – through music.”

Simpson, "the gentleman of jazz," came to WUCF in 1983, but had been hosting Jazz on the Beach since 1967, first on WKRT in Cocoa (pulling  records from his own collection). Simpson favored swing, bebop and big band sounds and did deep historical dives on the airwaves, peppering his broadcasts with rare live recordings and interviews with titans like Stan Kenton, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Stan and Count Basie.

"I like a lot of different kinds of jazz, all different kinds of jazz, but whatever it is, it has to swing," said Simpson of his DJ philosophy to Florida Today in 2017. "A lot of music today really swings, and that is because the beboppers — I like bebop too — got together with other musicians to come up with a new sound that swings.”

Weekly rebroadcasts from the vast Jazz on the Beach archives can be heard on Saturdays from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m.

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