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A look at the career of Mike Cornette, the voice of WUSF's All Night Jazz, as he retires

Mike Cornette has been running All Night Jazz for the last five years. But his most recent stop at WUSF was a homecoming. He was our jazz director in the 1970s, and "re-appeared" as an announcer several times through the years.

WUSF Public Media would like to take a moment to say thank you to someone who means a lot to us.

On Dec. 3, Jazz Director Mike Cornette is hosting All Night Jazz for one final time before heading off to a well-deserved retirement.

He's been running "The Other 9-to-5" the past five years, programming more than 2,000 Jazz Trip @ 10 segments and conducting hundreds of interviews — from local artists to international musicians making their way through the greater Tampa Bay region.

Mike's most recent stop at WUSF was a homecoming. He was our jazz director in the 1970s, and re-appeared as an announcer several times through the years.

We're going to miss hearing Mike on-air, but are glad to know we will see you out in the community hosting or attending an occasional gig.

One place where you can find him this weekend is at a Tampa Jazz Club concert at the Mainstage Theater at Hillsborough Community College Ybor City. The Club is honoring Mike during the concert with Acme Jazz Garage. It's Sunday, starting at 3 p.m. For details, visit TampaJazzClub.com.

Here's the note Mike posted on the WUSF All Night Jazz page announcing his retirement on Oct. 22:

A message from WUSF Jazz Director Mike Cornette:

It is with very mixed emotions, that I need to let all of you know that I am stepping down as Jazz Director for WUSF 89.7’s All Night Jazz.

I have come to a point in my life where I need to prioritize many things.

Retirement awaits. Family, traveling, reading, plus staying healthy are all on my agenda.

Jazz is a 50-year tradition at WUSF. I am proud to say during my first run as Jazz Director, back in the 1970s, jazz became a seven-day a week phenomenon on WUSF. It has remained thusly since.

I reappeared as a part-time jazz announcer here in the ‘80s and, again, in the 2000s. In between those jazz stints, I enjoyed a fun and memorable career in the music industry, working with music labels, record stores, artists, distributors, streaming services and more.

For the last five years, though, it has been my honor and privilege to serve as your Jazz Director at WUSF.

However, after programming over 2,000 Jazz Trip@Ten adventures, attending countless events, and doing hundreds of artist profiles and interviews, I am calling it a day.

One thing I can say: I’ve had a blast!

I will appear from time to time at the occasional jazz concert or fundraiser, and I will continue my work with the Tampa Jazz Club and perhaps I’ll even do an air shift somewhere, so this may not be a final farewell.

However, I wanted to let you know I treasured every minute I was able to spend with each of you during my tenure.

To me jazz is about discovery. Jazz is about inspiration. Keep listening and supporting it. Don’t ever take it for granted; let your voice be heard.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with one quote that has motivated me for decades: in the words of saxophonist RahsaanRoland Kirk “Let the music be your light!”

Some of Mike Cornette's memorable interviews:

Chick Corea:

Whitney James:

Nate Najar and Daniela Soledade:

Ona Kirei:

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