Eric Jackson, 72, “Dean of Boston Jazz Radio”

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weric-jackson2From the Boston Globe

Eric Jackson, host of GBH Radio’s “Eric in the Evenings,” died Saturday morning. He was 72.

“Eric’s great skill as a broadcaster was how he used his warmth and intimate knowledge to connect listeners to the music. He was a legend and he will be missed,” said Anthony Rudel, general manager at GBH Music.

After first joining GBH as a host in 1977, Jackson spent the next 50-plus years using his erudite charm to win over local audiences. Jackson was known as the “Dean of Boston Jazz Radio” according to a statement from GBH, because of his knowledge of jazz music.

As Jackson’s colleagues mourned him, the internet at large also felt the effect of this loss.

One Twitter user said, “The airwaves in Boston will never be the same without Eric Jackson’s soothing voice and erudite knowledge of jazz.”

Another user said, “This makes me sad. I learned so much about jazz from listening to his show.”

Another user recommended listening to a song Jackson’s radio show was known for.

“Eric began each evening with Horace Silver’s instrumental song “Peace,” as recorded by Tommy Flanagan.” he said, “We should all go listen to that song now…”

7 Comments

  1. Josie Patterson on September 19, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    Oh Eric, I’m sad that you died. Condolences to your family, who I’m sure loved you as much as your fans. Here’s to GBH Radio bringing back more music, and especially more jazz.

  2. Bob Nesson on September 19, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    It’s a time to reflect on their lives — and our lives.

    Early on when WGBH had an actual 16mm film processing setup in the newsroom at 125 Western Ave, it was Bob Ferrante who was the go-to person for advice and propping up when needed. His solid understanding and wisdom gave us [as camera people, as editors, as journalists] the guidance and confidence to do our work with deep commitment.

    And Eric Jackson’s beautiful intros to — and discussions about — the music of Coltrane and others will always be with me.

    Their passing is a reminder of a critically important —formative — time in the lives of us who were fortunate enough to be part of WGBH back then.

  3. Susheel Bibbs on September 19, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    I first brought Eric to ‘GBH as Music Program Development Director, and it was a wonderful Union. I’m shocked and saddened by his passing. Thank you for telling us.

  4. Bambi Good on September 19, 2022 at 10:57 am

    I just heard the news this morning and still have tears welling up. He lived his world so fully and shared its richness with us…

  5. Endre on September 19, 2022 at 4:52 am

    I loved Eric Jackson’s program and have been listening to him for decades.

    With all due respect, other jazz hosts didn’t come close to him.

    I regret that I never told him how I felt about him and his work! [I never met him.]

  6. Barbara Costa on September 18, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Mostly as a listener, not a colleague (though I am ex-WGBH), I am so very saddened to hear this. The theme song to Eric in the Evening is a song I selected but a month ago for my dance with my son at his wedding. When my baby boy was tiny (30+ years ago), I danced cheek to cheek with him to Peace by Horace Silver (as played by Tommy Flanagan), and have loved Eric’s show ever since. He taught me so much about jazz! HIs passing is a huge loss to us all.

  7. Melanie Berzon on September 18, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    Woke up this morning to the news of the passing of the great Eric Jackson, the ‘Dean of Boston Jazz Radio’.

    I am devastated and heartbroken. A swirl of emotions and memories overcome me.

    Eric was my mentor, my colleague, my friend.

    We knew each other at WGBH in Boston in the 80’s, when he was the host of “Eric in the Evening,” a nightly 5-hour sojourn through the music of jazz and improvisational music, and I was a broadcast engineer.

    I was a fan of Eric’s dulcet tones, his infectious laugh and his eclectic open-minded awesome mind-blowing programming.

    Eric not only taught me how to be a music announcer, he taught me that “jazz” could include the likes of Aretha and Ray Charles and many other artists who were previously relegated to the “Soul/R&B” box.
    He gave me permission to bring all of myself to my music programming.
    And when he asked me to fill in for him on “Eric in the Evening” on numerous occasions, I was gobsmacked, honored, and privileged.

    Eric came to visit me in California in 2006. On the night of December 1st, I told him to meet me at Anna’s Jazz Island in Berkeley because I wanted to turn him on to my favorite vocalist, Kenny Washington. Eric and his wife were late because they went to the North Berkeley BART station instead of the Downtown Berkeley BART station. The only reason he forgave me was the fact that Kenny was so extraordinary.

    Eric had an open heart and open ears. He was a mensch.
    He gave of himself, his music and his experience and talent freely.
    His passion and exuberance were infectious.

    We shared roots and stories that were based in our home state of New Jersey … Eric from Camden, me from Newark.

    We had many boisterous fun conversations with our friend, Camden native and poet extraordinaire, Kate Rushin.

    I will take Eric with me wherever I go.

    And every time I program a set of music or segue between two unsuspecting artists, I will hear his voice and feel his inspiration and support.

    And of course every time I hear the strains of Horace Silver’s composition “Peace” performed by pianist Tommy Flanagan, Eric’s theme song for over 40 years, I will think of him, shed a tear, smile a smile, and bow to his genius and kindness.

    All praises due to Eric Jackson … one of a kind and unique!
    Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and many listeners.

    Melanie Berzon

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