Jazzers needed

A remix from The Comet Is Coming of 'Barwick Green' would ring the changes nicely. Jazzer from The Archers himself could guest present in character. Let's take a little walk from the metaphorical to the literal. It's like rain on your wedding …

Published: 10 Aug 2022. Updated: 3 months.

A remix from The Comet Is Coming of 'Barwick Green' would ring the changes nicely. Jazzer from The Archers himself could guest present in character. Let's take a little walk from the metaphorical to the literal. It's like rain on your wedding day/It's a free ride when you've already paid how 'Ironic' (Alanis Morrissette).

'Paradox' does not have such a good ring to it. But surely it's time to ''debland'' jazz radio - a cosy situation where Jazzer no matter how reformed in long running BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers has more character than most jazz smashy and nicies.

A critique of musician-fronted media - meaning radio presenters who are radio or internet hosts as a moonlighting extension of their main craft of music - goes like this and explores why jazz media needs improving when it is centred so close to the source and acts as promo even if that promo doesn't always get quite where it wants to be or is completely obvious. A case of marking your own homework perhaps.

Can the artist actually be the message in the same way as a non-musician presenter?

Playing records on the radio or podcasting is fun for whoever does it. But beyond the exercise when artist's image-making is concerned the exercise can be a fan-only zone. Not keen on the artist, not keen on the show. And oddly not all fans want to tune in. Think about it - you get into the artist because of the music, not because they are a radio presenter, the latter state is a curiosity for a while but the novelty wears off. (Tuned in to the Jamie Cullum show on Radio 2 recently?)

The musician presenter cannot really express dissent or home truths. But then music radio is not ''hard news''. And yet analysis for listeners is useful. Headlining musicians are not always the best people to do it. A musician fronting a consumer radio records and chat show can't go into Slonimsky for too long or at all. You might say there are classrooms for that kind of thing.

There is more of a case of a former musician doing the tough talk as former footballers who are pundits do when discussing Ron Manager's latest miscalculations.

That kind of ‘post match analysis’ could however be a victory lap or anecdotage the way things are with presenters riding shotgun as stand-in cheerleaders. They are hardly going to go full Paxo at Dave Koz are they when the smooth jazz titan delivers his next opus.

Programme makers may say that listeners do not want analysis, they want ‘information’ and record play. Is that enough? The riddle of all this ends up with the listener wondering why tune-in at all no matter how much you like the musician personality at the desk. Because when YouTube, Spotify, blogs, social media give far more anyway and you as listener can tailor things exactly to what you want it's better to go full tonto online as a first option curating the whole shebang yourself.

If you go to record buyer forums online or gather down the Dog and Duck you can get nitty gritty opinion washed down admittedly with a whole load of bitter and twisted weird matrix number mumblings and endless complaints about the postal service which you will never hear on a sedate radio show. Maybe that's just as well, on second thoughts.

The solution? Hire more jazz journalists who are not musicians. There are plenty of good ones out there who are currently driving taxis around Neasden and stacking shelves in Borsetshire where they occasionally bump into yes Jazzer.

Beyond the fiction hire a few provocateurs to shake things up. There is another way. Arm’s length third party distance has its advantages. These hacks aren’t using the show as a musician brand extension like so many do and they have decent knowledge that many musicians caught up in their own music making do not have time to delve into.

Opinionated jazz chat on the radio - how novel. We don’t have it at the moment. Or maybe you prefer the status quo that is the vicar’s tea party atmosphere of Jazz Records Request.

Bland is dreary. Let’s bring opinion back and allow listeners to decide if the jazz conversation they are hearing for the first time is one they actually prefer to hear rather than as now a riff litany of preaching to the choir and the politenesses of a middle England that is as fictional in the Britain of today as the Slim Gaillard of the shires, the one and only Jazzer.

Weak signal in Droitwich: Jazzer photo: BBC Radio 4 publicity shot. 'Code' by The Comet Is Coming is out now

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Linger long for Pete's sake

Playing the new look Pizza Express Jazz Club this autumn guitar influencer Peter Bernstein is part of the quartet at work and play here landing Out In It courtesy of pianist Thomas Linger's quartet that also includes Wyntonite Joe Farnsworth at the …

Published: 9 Aug 2022. Updated: 3 months.

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Playing the new look Pizza Express Jazz Club this autumn guitar influencer Peter Bernstein is part of the quartet at work and play here landing Out In It courtesy of pianist Thomas Linger's quartet that also includes Wyntonite Joe Farnsworth at the kit and finds bassist Yasushi Nakamura by his side.

Marlbank no longer tweets given that it's a waste of time and too toxic by half.

What is not poisonous in the least is the quartet's take on the blues 'Woofin’ and Tweetin’. (The Gene Ammons treatment preceded social media but hey hi-fi fans cut us some slack riffing the meaning away to something else.) As for pianist Linger the US player has a silky touch and recalls the great taste of Mulgrew Miller or Trevor Watkis a little within the imagination of his own sound.

Laidback sounds throughout congregate en masse on this Cellar Live release. Beat a path to hear Bernstein and Farnsworth among the Bernstein quartet in Soho in the wake of What Comes Next on 24 October. The venue's site has more.

For Out in It see the label's Bandcamp page, Thomas Linger - top