WFPK's Phil Bailey Dies

By Paul Moffett

Phil Bailey, WFPK's longtime afternoon host of "Jazz Today," died unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 29 at his home. He was 60.

The cause of his death was not immediately known, though he had not felt well for a couple of days and had been to the doctor on Monday.

"I talked to him at 9:30 [Monday night]," said Leslie Stewart, a frequent substitute on WFPK and a friend of Bailey's. "He asked me to cover his shift for a couple of days." She said that he had been to the doctor during the day but felt worse later and went to the emergency room. They took an x-ray and examined him and sent him home, where he died during the night. Stewart was "shaken" but was "getting it together to do his show" that afternoon.

Bailey was a native of Bath, Maine, played the piano, bass and trumpet. He was nationally recognized as an authority on jazz and had written liner notes for some of the CDs from Ken Burns' PBS jazz documentary. His "Jazz Today" show had been on first WFPL, then WFPK in the afternoon since 1984.

He was also a member of the AFM Local 11-637 and was a founding member of the Louisville Jazz Society. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, February 2 at 11:30 a.m.