Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jazz Host George Thomas Announces His Retirement From VPR's Airwaves

After more than 11 years behind the mic, we are sad to announce that Jazz Host George Thomas is retiring from VPR's airwaves.

He announced his retirement on tonight's show, and his final show will be in late June.

George began hosting jazz on VPR in 2001. Since then, he has built a dedicated following of listeners who appreciate his intimate on-air presence and ability to find “just that song” to capture a mood or a moment.

“It has been an honor and I am grateful to have been able to share jazz with VPR's avid, curious, and astute listeners, who often suggested artists, songs and albums to play,” George said. “From Montreal to Brattleboro, Peacham to Burlington, White River to Rutland and through all the gores and towns in between, people are playing, listening, and loving jazz. I want to thank them for allowing me to learn more about America's greatest art form every day.”

Jazz will continue to have a presence on VPR, but the details have yet to be finalized. For now, we look forward to celebrating George's contribution to VPR and to the jazz community in our region.

As Ella Fitzgerald once said, ‘It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts.’ We hope you'll join us in wishing George the very best in his next adventure!


  1. You were the best George. From Mahavishnu and Montgomery to Miles and Metheny it was a perfect blend of my favorite genre of music. Thanks for providing the perfect background for nites and nites of enjoyable reading and wine drinking!!

  2. George -
    Thanks for the years of delightful music and for finding all this stuff we'd never hear otherwise. Best of luck!

  3. Good luck, George!

    Jazz on VPR's HD Radio feed sounds so good -- please keep it going!

  4. This program has been the single most distinctive and high quality offering in the VPR program schedule. While I couldn't listen every night, whenever I could tune in to a show, I immediately felt the warmth and intimacy of George's presence reflecting the superb musical choices that have been the hallmark of his programming.

  5. George, thank you for your years on the air. As the daughter of a jazz musician, I have a special love and appreciation for jazz, and have always been impressed by your depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the genre, so often neglected in the American radio scene. So best of luck to you, and please please tell me you have a replacement in the wings. I will so miss your show!

  6. George--Amanda and I will miss you and your wonderful program hugely! Now we're going to have to find another show to dance to in the kitchen while the food burns. We'll try not to hold it against you.

    Best of luck to you, and hope to see you in the bookstore.

  7. My favorite George Thomas quote - talking about playing jazz on VPR, "living my dream job." No wonder it was always such a pleasure to listen to his show. George, you will be missed. Thank you for sharing your passion with Vermont.

  8. George Thomas will be sorely missed! He's the best.

  9. George has been a most welcome companion many evenings. His extensive knowledge of the material, his humble sharing of his enthusiasm, and his selection of material has been entertaining and has broadened my appreciation of jazz. Thank you, George!

  10. NO, no, no! I don't even like jazz, but I always loved George's voice. We'll miss you very much!

  11. Great program and great host.
    I listen often and have always enjoyed the elegant construction of playlists, themes and the general tenor of the show. Best of luck, Richard Kujawa.

  12. George, as you know from my Emails to you during the last few years, I have had the most amazing experiences at 3 o'clock in the morning here in Sweden, waking up to The Sound of Surprise (Whitney Balliet's book title), coming live from Burlington to me here in Linköping, Sweden.

    Since I am now 80 years old, I have listened to a vast range of jazz programs both in New England and New York and then in Sweden. Not a one ever reached the level of yours. As Duke would have said, "You are beyond category".

    I have never understood how it was possible for you to put together each element of a program - 3 or 4 "tunes" - where the musicians and the "tunes" seemed so right and so connected.

    Usually I am in Burlington at this time of year but today I am writing for Sweden. Guess it is a good day to send that envelope to raise my monthly contribution. VPR is the best and you were the best of the best.

    I am sure we would all love to be able to read your own description of how you put together those programs. Have a good life.
    Larry Lundgren Linköping, Sweden

  13. Greta the pledge dog will miss you during the pledge drives...but she sends kisses your way! Best wishes!

  14. You will be so missed, George!! Where can we hear you in the future??

  15. George,

    Over the years I've spent countless hours in the garage waxing race skis while listening to your knowledgable commentary and your wonderful musical selections. You will be missed, but enjoy yourself!

  16. Unfortunately for jazz fans, once George Thomas retires, VPR will probably replace the evening jazz block with news/informational programs, likely either a delayed broadcast of Diane Rehm (not currently heard on VPR) or CBC Radio's "As It Happens" and "Q".

    1. sad but true. such a disappointment. now the radio is OFF in the evenings.

  17. You will be sorely missed. It was harder to listen to you when they moved your show to 9 pm, but whenever we could we tuned in. We loved your eclectic selections and mellow commentaries.
    Good luck in your next endeavor.

    1. Ron the pledge drive jazz lover.June 16, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      George, I will seriously miss not only your programming,
      but also our many conversations at VPR.
      I wish you nothing but success and happiness in your
      life to come.

  18. Say it ain't so, George! I've been hooked on your show so long I can't imagine an evening wihtout it. I'm sure I'm not laone in hooping you'd reconsider. How about a sabbatical? Don't leave us!
    Despondent in Thetford

  19. Michelle DowningJune 14, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    I have unwound many, many nights listening to your show. I can scarcely imagine my evenings without you and your music. Fortunately for me, I will be moving to Eugene OR around the same time you are retiring, so I will not have to face the absence your show will bring to VT. Thank you for all you have done!

  20. Ron the pledge drive jazz lover.June 16, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    So very sorry to see you go, George.
    I will sadly miss not just your programming,
    but our many conversations at VPR.
    I wish you the very best in life.

  21. George,
    Happy for you, so sad for all of us who've spent most weeknights with you for the last decade! I have thoroughly enjoyed your jazz knowledge, selections, commentary, and your style. Thank you, thank you for enriching us with your passion.
    All the best to you!
    Faithful listener in Hartland

  22. Thank you George,

    As a younger member of the VPR audience, i've always been blown away by your. one of the best jazz programs I've ever listened to and possibly the most stand out offering on vpr.

  23. ...Was born in & grew up in Springfield, Vt & Claremont, NH
    - then lived in Santa Barbara, California for 16 years.

    - While out there Left Coast, worked in a CD store & met as my Assistant Manager one of my dearest friends
    - who schooled me greatly in Jazz
    - & on whose coatails I road to several extraordinary Jazz concerts (Charlie Haden, McCoy Tyner, &tc.!)... Mentor in such - a word Mr. Thomas uses often...

    ...Then - when no longer could afford California (I left shortly before Arnie was voted in as Governator to try & Govern the Ungovernable...)
    - moved back here (Lebanon, NH)

    - & wondered if my Jazz Listening & Learning days were over...

    - but no!: George Thomas on VPR provided several hours of quality real Jazz every week - most expertly & personably - ! My Mentoring continued - !

    ...Is it duly appreciated how special this is for this Genre - America's Classical Music - but considered a commercial tax right-off by the Labels - ?!?...

    - Thanx So Much, George - !!!
    - & God&Goddess Bless in all future ventures - !

  24. I cant believe it. You've been part of my life for nine years. This is an absolute world class program better than any I've heard living in New York and Boston. I am so unhappy but I hope this is what you want to do.

  25. Dr. Martin T. TylerJune 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Dear George,
    I know it is selfish to expect you to stay forever, and nothing I can say will keep you with us. For the last ten years, my wife and I have rarely missed listening to your program. Although I have been a one-time musician, a student of jazz, and a lover of the art, my knowledge of the music does not come close to yours, and my knowledge and understanding of the different kinds of music has been deepened and enriched by your sharing your taste in music with us. Thanks for helping me overcome my feelings toward southern history and enabling me to appreciate New Orleans Jazz. Thank you for introducing me to the new artists and for not neglecting the old. We moved from Montreal to rural Upstate, New York, and I am sincere when I say 50% of our enjoyment here has been due to the presence of your program each evening. You will be sorely missed, and life will not be the same for us without you—it is not just the music—your taste, interpretation, and eclectic taste are irreplaceable. Good luck in your future endeavors. We will try to survive without you, but it sure would be nice if we could hear your voice/music at least on a part-time basis. Words cannot thank you enough for the difference you have made in our lives.
    Martin and Mignon Tyler (Montreal & Jay, NY)

  26. George, I'm going to savor every last radio wave tonight. I can't believe this is your last show on VPR. Lets hope you end up making this a sabbatical instead! Thanks for 11 years of extraordinary music!

  27. Oh, George -- so sad for all of us! But of course we wish you all the best! You always play the best of whatever genre of jazz you are focusing on, your taste is impeccable -- my wife Nancy isn't even a jazz aficionado and LOVES your show. It would be hard for another jazz programmer to fill your shoes.

    We will miss your show a lot -- if someone found the means of compiling your old shows for sale, we would buy them!

    Take care of yourself Mr. Thomas, and hope to have a chance to jam with you again someday!

    Drew Sy

  28. Thank you, George, for the lovely evenings and for your Newport OSHER lectures. Time to write your poetry, I hope.

  29. Dear George,
    I was away when your retirement was announced, so I kept thinking that maybe you were on vacation and would be back soon. I agree that your impeccable taste and delightful blends made for a comforting and pleasing end of the day.
    I miss you.


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