- review by Stephen Graham.
Do you wonder how relevant radio shows are any more when podcasts are flavour of the day and there is still power in the written word, probably more so given that online articles are also accompanied by relevant tracks and videos?
If so do UK radio shows keep up or are they too behind the beat in terms of new releases? OK there isn't always a mad need for bang up to the minute reaction. And maybe it's only by a few weeks the releases played date to. But you never get the feeling that they are ahead of the listening cycle and therefore why bother tuning in at all when you can go DIY and be completely up to date.
A less critical view flags up the plus points - the interviews, often excellent production values and so on. In the digital age sound quality even the sound of a show made on an iPhone can sound quite good. But the fact remains most of the radio shows however worthy we are covering in this series have little profile and even for specialists radio isn't as vital a medium as it was before the Internet.
Jazz London Radio is an internet station. Like a lot of stations today for convenience we accessed it via a smart speaker. We got ads at the beginning, a sports ad I guess promoted by Tune In who host the station on the smart speaker, and the very first thing we heard tuning in earlier today. Then we landed straight into the show on at the particular time we tuned in, just before 4pm hosted by singer Filomena Campus - the show is called Filomena Campus' Theatralia Jazz.
A radio show that has the minimum of chat and not too many ads is a very different kind of show to a magazine format where tracks are interspersed by a presenter with a lot to say and perhaps interviews. Most of what's on jazz radio in the UK is one or other of this divide. Is there another way? There probably is. Certainly what is lacking is critical discussion of albums. You almost never get this and it's worse when musicians, often presenters front shows as they do not want to make meaningful comments about their peers for fear of being biased or displaying overt professional competitiveness. They also aren't critics.
I don't bother with much jazz radio because of the lack of viewpoint - there is so little personality and no real drive, more a celebratory function which can be smug or complacent. Filomena's choices however seemed very well chosen for the quiet reflective time of a late Sunday afternoon. The show seems to go into autopilot as one track segues into another. A livelier latin mix followed immediately afterwards and for passive listening to do the hoovering to and shampoo the cockatoo to it was great! But surely we are looking for more out of a media format than that?
Verdict? Perfectly pleasant what I heard that matched the time of day. As a programme it's pretty basic but that's the point. More broadly what do we want out of jazz radio? Here's what we are looking for: pace, information, curated choices explained and contextualised, a personality to what we are hearing - maybe a word of two about who the players are and where the album is from - are they playing soon, that sort of thing. Jazz London Radio also runs occasional interviews and recent interviewees have included Polly Gibbons, Zoe Rahman and Jalen Baker. Filomena Campus, photo: press
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