Jessica Webster came by her jazz obsessions at a very early age after hearing Fats Waller and the Manhattan Transfer when she was nine years old. In high school, while her friends were mooning over the latest pop stars, Jessica was collecting autographs from jazz legends and reading back issues of Downbeat magazine. Early encouragement from Carmen McRae and Art Blakey convinced Jessica that a life in jazz was the path for her. After moving to Ann Arbor at the age of 18, Jessica studied saxophone with the great Morris Lawrence, Jr., but put her horn down for good when Dr. Lawrence passed away unexpectedly. Six years clerking at the legendary Schoolkids’ Records was followed by twelve years as the national jazz buyer for the Borders chain, resulting in Jessica being repeatedly named one of the ten most powerful people in the jazz industry.
Jessica has been at WEMU since the day after her 20th birthday, and has loved every minute of her education at the feet of Michael Jewett, Linda Yohn, and the well-informed WEMU audience.
Jessica lives in Ann Arbor with her super-cool son, her patient opera-singer partner, a full-time cat (Rufus Harley) and a part-time dog (Ellie), in a house overflowing with records, CDs and music memorabilia. She spends her free time going to her son's soccer games, walking and biking to the Produce Station or the farmers' markets, cooking, and listening to all varieties of music.