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Pieces of Eight

Known as “TomtheJazzman,” Tom Mallison has donated his extensive collection of jazz recordings to Joyner Library. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

‘TomtheJazzman’ Donates Album Collection to Library

By Dawn Wainwright

For thousands of jazz fans in eastern North Carolina, he’s known as “TomtheJazzman.”

For more than 23 years, Tom Mallison of Greenville has made a weekly trip to WTEB studios, the flagship station of Public Radio East in New Bern, to spend five hours sharing the music that is his passion to listeners as “TomtheJazzman.” His broadcast offers a cornucopia of jazz styles interspersed with wit and wisdom garnered from more than 40 years in broadcasting.

Recently, Mallison donated to ECU’s Joyner Library thousands of LP jazz recordings accumulated during his life-long endeavor, which began at the age of 12. The recordings span a wide variety of sub-genres of jazz, including ragtime, Dixieland, bebop and fusion.

Many unique recordings have been used to create the “TomtheJazzman Collection” housed in ECU’s Music Library. Others, mostly duplicates, have been sold to create an acquisitions fund for the support and enhancement of the collection.

“The TomtheJazzman Collection will provide students and faculty the opportunity to research and to understand the evolution of jazz and gain a greater appreciation for the art that is jazz music,” said Dr. Larry Boyer, dean of Academic Library and Learning Resources.

On April 5, Mallison was honored with a reception hosted by ECU’s Joyner Library at the Music Library. Marilyn Sheerer, provost and senior vice chancellor of academic and student affairs, and Boyer, were among more than 100 family and friends who came to recognize and learn about Mallison’s gift.

A Greenville native and 1966 ECU graduate, Mallison has carved a niche in the jazz world gaining fame as a writer, presenter, award-winning broadcaster, as well as an advocate for the genre. He has served on a number of ECU organizations, including his current role as chair of the Robert Wright Student Government President’s Society. He earned the Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1998.

Jazz lovers can view the collection online at Search for TomtheJazzman.


This page originally appeared in the May 1, 2009 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at