WRTI weekend host Jeff Duperon’s love for music started at birth. Being a New Orleans native, it came with the territory. Jeff was raised with all types of jazz, zydeco, R&B, and everything in between on the radio at all times.
It’s no surprise that his calling would become sharing the music, and educating people about the great American art form, even after he left the Crescent City for the one of Brotherly Love. The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will honor Jeff’s decades of service in our city by honoring him as the 2018 recipient of the Philly Celebrates Jazz Award.
This award is given to a local Philadelphian for their contribution to jazz and to the Philadelphia community, and Jeff’s role at WRTI, and on the local jazz scene, continues to evolve. He has three programs on WRTI, each purveying a different perspective of the music. Noveaux Jazz Showcase focuses on the jazz artists that are currently on the scene, recording and performing. Juke Box Jazz is a Saturday night celebration of popular music (from all decades), presented in jazz arrangements. Finally, In A Mellow Tone speaks for itself. It’s nice, laid back jazz to prepare you for the work week.
Jeff loves that each program allows him to pass on information about the many genres of jazz that can attract, and hopefully retain, new jazz lovers. His work in the community has the same objective, but reaches various ages and causes. He has been educating the next generation through his jazz studies program for children, which, this year, took residence at the Young Scholars Charter School. Jeff is sure to bring some popular music into the mix (much like he does on Juke Box Jazz) so the kids can compare and contrast the music that they know with jazz. After a few samples are played, the students are hooked. Jeff states, “That, to me, is what strikes a chord with the kids, because they think their music is fresh and new. And, in most cases, it’s been in existence for over forty years.”
On the other side of the equation, as the Board President of Jazz Bridge, he is bringing jazz into all different parts of the city on a regular basis through their Neighborhood Concert Series. All proceeds of these shows go to support jazz musicians in crisis. An education program utilizing local musicians is in the works, and will most likely start up after Jeff takes over as the Executive Director of Jazz Bridge this summer.
Mr. Duperon is also WRTI’s own “man about town.” He can be found booking, hosting and enjoying jazz acts at many venues in and around Philadelphia. “That’s the fun part,” he imparts. “I like to get out in the community and see the people who listen. They finally put two and two together and say,” Oh, that’s what you look like!” Most radio hosts can fly under-the-radar, but not Jeff. With all of the service he’s been providing to the music lovers of our city, there’s no such thing as incognito.
The Philly Celebrates Jazz Award will be presented to Jeff by Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer of the City of Philadelphia on Sunday, April 29th at 2 PM at the Ibrahim Theater, International House Philadelphia during the grand finale of the Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival, presented my Jamaaladeen Tacuma, this year’s Benny Golson awardee. He will be honored again by Mayor Jim Kenney at the Philly Celebrates Jazz Wrap-Up at City Hall on Monday, April 30th after the WRTI Listening Party.