Issue Date: Thursday, January 24, 2002
Copy Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2002
The voice of jazz Carl Cooper, 1928-2002
By Chet Williamson
Local aficionados of jazz, classical music and theatre lost a champion last week. Carl Cooper was a volunteer host of "A Tasteful Blend" at WICN-FM 90.5 for more than 20 years. He died at the age of 73 on Jan[uary] 16 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, where he was a communications consultant.
Cooper was a familiar programming voice and member of the board of directors at WICN in Worcester. In addition to his radio affiliation, Cooper was known to many area actors for his dramatic skills and knowledge of stagecraft, on both sides of the curtain. In addition, he volunteered his services with many local arts organizations including First Night and Jazz at Sunset. Following are tributes from two men who knew him well.
From Gene Petit, program director at WICN:
They told me he died because his heart gave out. I knew better. Carl's heart was too big for that to be the cause of his death. I now realize he settled here [in Worcester] in the 1970s because his heart was best-suited to a place known as "the Heart of the Commonwealth". Like so many people who have made Worcester the unique place that it is, Carl was a special gift to all of us. Whether it was the music scene, theatre, or his personal involvement in any number of meaningful social issues, Carl touched them all with a graceful elegance. Remarkably, as physical ailments continued to ravage his body, he never wavered in his warmth, kindness, and compassion for others. I am just one person among many, IĖm sure, to realize how lucky I was to have known him. I choose to believe he hasnĖt really left us. When the CD player is spinning another Oscar Peterson track, I know he is here in the studio with me, a smile on his face.
From Don Ricklin, Web master of the Worcester County Jazz SceneWeb site :
I found Carl to be a very caring, true friend, who would do anything for many, many people. I missed hearing him on Saturdays at WICN, though Leona and I got to know him over many years following that time. He would often accompany us to Jazz at Sunset, where we met and made friends with a lot of people, who would join us at our table or come by to greet Carl. We went to many a Studio Three taping at Greater Media when Toni Ballard and Jack Wertheimer could still do tapings there before they filled up the studio with the NewsWatch 3 set. There are also many fond memories of going to catch Emil [Haddad] and Dick [Odgren] somewhere after a Jazz at Sunset concert, if we didn't just go to Pinecroft's for ice cream! Carl will be sorely missed.
The above appeared originally in Worcester Magazine Jan. 24 - 30, 2002
Reproduced here by permission of the writer.