Horrendous that BBC Four is to go online only - jazz no matter how tiny its presence on the channel will suffer more than most

We are shocked by the daft decision to move BBC Four online-only. The only linear UK TV channel that very occasionally but always parsimoniously given what it shells out for Scandi-noir covers jazz in anything approaching credibility will see its …

Published: 28 May 2022. Updated: 38 days.

We are shocked by the daft decision to move BBC Four online-only. The only linear UK TV channel that very occasionally but always parsimoniously given what it shells out for Scandi-noir covers jazz in anything approaching credibility will see its audience shrink in the much more competitive online world dominated for music anyway by non-TV (except by another name) platforms like YouTube. What a ludicrous decision that will hurt jazz. Because beyond BBC Four all the rest of the many channels out there on UK TV don't even do the tiny smattering that BBC Four grudgingly chisels out however gone in the blink of an eye and in the air it usually proves apart from in November when they go full tonto for a smattering of more sustained coverage during the London Jazz Festival. What bad timing given that arch-rival Sky Arts which is now available for nowt on Freeview is more visible than ever. And yet Sky Arts rarely covers jazz properly either! Instead it seems curiously obsessed and laughably serves up lots of the insanely popular Dutch waltz king André Rieu along with clog loads of prog rock as a bizarre Waldorf salad accompaniment. If not quite a case of the Fawlty logic of ''that's eggs, bacon, sausage, and tomato with a Waldorf salad, all washed down with lashings of hot screwdriver'' you surely must get our resolutely unfaulty drift.

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Melody Gardot and Philippe Powell, Entre eux deux, Decca ****

''Crying over endings is absurd'' is a premise within the logic of the beautiful 'Perhaps You'll Wonder Why'. But waiting for Gardot and meaning might it be ''dance first. Think later'' the Godot maxim? Perhaps not if you are being literal or …

Published: 28 May 2022. Updated: 39 days.

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''Crying over endings is absurd'' is a premise within the logic of the beautiful 'Perhaps You'll Wonder Why'. But waiting for Gardot and meaning might it be ''dance first. Think later'' the Godot maxim? Perhaps not if you are being literal or troubled by such a transplanted context. Because mostly this is firmly a slow dance of a record. However, making a metaphorical leap riffing further the ''natural order'' that may be interpreted to follow that imperative given a Beckettian playfulness is in this album instance tristesse, chanson, a sense of saudade, and the ineffable sense of vanquishment that permeates this delicious new number-one album on the Official UK jazz and blues chart.

Entre eux deux ('Between the two of them') is an English, French and Portuguese collaboration between the, to some, Julie London of our day (at a stretch!) US singer-songwriter Melody Gardot and pianist-singer Philippe Powell who is the son of legendary Brazilian jazz guitarist Baden Powell.

As at Melody's lit-up-inside Soho, Dean Street, show in 2015 when a piano from the band truck was lowered down the Pizza Express Jazz Club's steep staircase already specially tuned to 432hz rather than the usual higher concert pitch level, that, if-you-like, bluesed connotation of the sonics is matched by Gardot's lamp turned down low cadences. Here the singer dispenses with her own piano-playing to usher in room for Powell.

And what a touch he has, Bill Evans-like on 'Plus Fort Que Nous' ('Stronger than Us') the duo's gentle treatment of the Baden Powell-Vinícius de Moraes song 'Samba em Preludio' introduced by Geraldo Vandré and Ana Lúcia in 1963 sequeing to 'Un Jour Sans Toi' is a thrill. Effective too is the spoken word poem 'Ode to Every Man' set to piano accompaniment that has a Gothic almost Daphne Du Maurier-type resonance that stops you in your tracks. Escape into their bruised, elegant, sound because there are no happy endings it's true. The duo know and say it eloquently so. There's nothing absurd at all in that. SG

Melody Gardot is to play the Royal Festival Hall during this year's EFG London Jazz Festival on 19 November. Philippe Powell and Melody Gardot photo: Franco P. Tettamanti

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