Radio review: Breakfast at the Weekend with Simon Phillips (Jazz FM)

Turn the radio on. It's Jazz FM and earlier, remember Jazz FM operates as both a ''radio station'' and a ''jazz station'' so it can't just play Albert Ayler all day, even if the powers that be wanted to. Early, not too early on a Sunday morning, …

Published: 22 Nov 2020. Updated: 8 days.

Turn the radio on. It's Jazz FM and earlier, remember Jazz FM operates as both a ''radio station'' and a ''jazz station'' so it can't just play Albert Ayler all day, even if the powers that be wanted to.

Early, not too early on a Sunday morning, post-graveyard shift, however is a good test for any station. As Kim Lenaghan at this time on a Sunday notes, you may very well want to ''snuggle up under your duvet.''

Jazz FM is now owned by a huge media brand. That dreaded word ''lifestyle'' to be feelgood and of course get the ads in needs at all times to be addressed. And it usually is. Simon Phillips is relatively new on the weekend, he was quoted by RadioToday when he began back in the autumn as saying “we are at an incredible time for British music and I’m honoured to finally be able to contribute and once again fly the flag for home grown music and the latest new sounds in an ever-changing musical landscape.”

As it happens, not Brits, but fellow citizens of the planet the Isley Brothers' 'Harvest For The World', one of my all-time favourites, a song to be fair that you could hear on your favourite waitress' loveliest radio station more or less 24/7, is the first thing on. Next track: Joe Sample's 'Sunrise' you don't hear at all on the sort of station programmed by that robotic speak-your-weight powerpoint guy who presses the buttons usually on top Redditch station Extremely Bland FM.

Thankfully no jingles so far or ads. Simon has not done any chatting during this brief dropping in. Jazz FM has been around for ages. I remember the excitement of the test broadcasts when it actually was about to go on FM as 102.2 and I used to like late-night David Freeman playing things like the deepness of 1970s Keith Jarrett. Ruth Fisher is probably their best DJ nowadays. Shhh, Simon is on, he is talking about paying homage later to Nick Drake. Now it's Lady Blackbird

… and It's news next with the wonderful Anita Baker coming up. OK the ads… 'Food Glorious Food' as warm-up act to a meerkat… c'mon this is the sell sell sell real world we tragically find ourselves in the 21st century marooned inside. Again.

The news is over and a Tesco ad and now another jingle. The tagline ''listen in colour'' heard for the first time during this brief listen. Ah what's next is more like it but ever so slightly familiar. Huh? Big down your local wine bar now of course shut 'The Girl From Ipanema' performed by Stan Getz and João Gilberto, and Astrud G., it is. And it still sounds amazing especially if you haven't heard this version on any radio station anywhere for a while. Simon's back, brevity is always best, and before tuning out from Jazz FM on this occasion it is the great Kamasi Washington with his music for Becoming. What a mainly refreshing way, don't scare the horses, minus the ads, to get started this particular Sunday. SG

Photo: Jazz FM

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TV tonight: Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat documentary

The high profile Arena strand Biyi Bandele-directed documentary Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat is on BBC 2 tonight at 9.30pm. In a year during which Tony Allen died, regardless of such a massive blow as his passing given Allen's iconic status as a …

Published: 21 Nov 2020. Updated: 9 days.

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The high profile Arena strand Biyi Bandele-directed documentary Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat is on BBC 2 tonight at 9.30pm. In a year during which Tony Allen died, regardless of such a massive blow as his passing given Allen's iconic status as a fellow pioneer with Kuti of the style, Afrobeat remains one of the key influences on new UK jazz acts such as Kokoroko and Moses Boyd and going back even further to the work of London Afrobeat Collective and Soothsayers. Unseen archive and contributions from Fela’s children, wives, friends and fans are included in the film. Watch