New Jazz Station - Goodbye to the Smooth, Hello to the Classics
Please note this is an old page and Fly Global Music has now moved. Please follow this link and search for the entry in the new site.
Until a very few weeks ago the terms ‘jazz radio station’ or even ‘jazz and radio’ were sufficient to send many of the jazz community rushing for the Prozac. For decades, lovers of our artform have griped justifiably or not about the apparently small proportion of the BBC’s schedules devoted to jazz. And the tragic and swift disaster story that was Jazz FM — a station that despite its worthy beginnings was later responsible for both the attempted rape and (fortunately abortive) re-definition of the music — is one that no true jazz lover within the boundaries of the M25 will ever find it possible to forget or forgive.
And my guess is that over the next ten years we will see this new station transform every aspect of jazz in Britain for the better
While Jazz FM was foundering amid its own incompetence, Classic FM, in contrast — which began (unlike Jazz FM’s palatial home) in a couple of rooms above a gin manufacturer in North London — was achieving miracles of cultural adjustment. While Jazz FM was whistling Dixie, Classic FM listeners were starting to whistle Vivaldi. In a matter of a few short years, one-time Beatles fans and their offspring were talking fondly of ‘my classical music’ and voting composers three hundred years old to the top of the Classic FM charts, sending off for its stylish compilation CDs and buying its magazines.
Well, it’s going to happen to jazz now.
A few weeks ago, OFCOM (the regulator for radio) authorised eight new DAB stations with a recommendation that one such channel should cover jazz properly. DAB, just in case you haven’t heard yet, is Digital Audio Broadcasting; the medium which has been called the re-birth of radio. Pop into Curry’s, WH Smith’s or any of the other high street stores who are being over-run with requests for the neat little radio receivers that pick up DAB station and you’ll have access to hundreds of new bubbling radio channels answering just about every broadcasting need. Well, anyhow almost over night — Classic FM, under the aegis of its governing body GCap took up the jazz option.
All this means that Britain’s most successful independent radio operator will soon — and certainly by New Year’s Eve 2006 — be securely supporting jazz on radio twenty-four/seven. But you may well ask how do these previously classical cats define jazz? Will the definition, groaned one disillusioned columnist include all those terrifying re-definitions; ‘smooth jazz’, soul, blues; in short all the get-out clauses which reduced Jazz FM to an on-air mockery of its remit
The answer happily, or I’m inclined to say ecstatically, is no. The other day I was treated to lunch by Classic FM’s creative director Tim Lihoreau who, with Darren Henley, is responsible for the station’s output. Tim tells me that the programming day by day when general listenership is most required — will revolve securely around the classic canon of jazz discography from Ellington to Parker; from historic to present-day with an accent on the accessible. The best of Michael Parkinson’s output might provide a rough though by no means definitive parallel.
Specialist areas: classic New Orleans, avant-garde and others (in short the kind of music which stretches beyond the reasonable comprehension of the untrained ear) will be fully covered by informed presenter-led specialist programmes in the evening. The station is still so much in its formative stages that, at the time of writing, it has no name but it does have plans to begin producing label-led CDs, books about our music, and a magazine of its own.
If all of this sounds just a little too good to be true, my advice is ‘have faith and stay on board’. The hugely successful track-record of Classic FM bodes well for its jazz sister-ship. And my guess is that over the next ten years we will see this new station transform every aspect of jazz in Britain for the better. That phrase ‘extreme makeover’ comes to mind. So, shout brothers and sisters. After one hundred years jazz looks, at last, like taking its rightful and rooted place in our popular cultural landscape!
Visit Fly's new Amazon shops:
Fly Music Shop UK / Fly Music Shop US
Scandinavia - Sounds from the Wilderness
Staff Benda Bilili and Fatoumata Diawara - Roundhouse (Live Review)
Record Store Day with Jonny Trunk & Gilles Peterson (16th April 2011)
Matthew Halsall - Spiritual Surfing at 60MPC 03/02/11
Soil & "Pimp" Sessions - Now We Are 6 with Shacho
|Search Google for more about: New Jazz Station - Goodbye to the Smooth, Hello to the Classics
|CC Some Rights Reserved FLY 2012 || Add to Del.icio.us|