Latest in our radio programme review series. We kicked the series off with Jazz Record Requests and now for something completely different but staying with a BBC jazz programme Jamie Cullum's Radio 2 show.
Official title ''The Jazz Show with Jamie Cullum'' the latest show went out on 28 April. The complete opposite to JRR which is more your pipe and slippers type doze-a-bit if you must affair Cullum is chatty and chummy. He begins speaking of the chaos of his home studio in that self-deprecating but warm way of his. Shirley Horn, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, Roy Ayers, Bobby McFerrin, Alfa Mist, Maya Law, Gary Bartz & Maisha, Diana Krall & Cullum himself singing, Christian Scott, Wilma Archer, Pharoah Sanders and Steam Down make a hardly edgy mix when everything is mixed together in such a matey fashion.
A few from the vaults, a few new-ish artists, a bit of crossover, the formula has been like that for ages and seems to go down well on Radio 2 given that the programme has been around for 10 years. Projecting a very upmarket middle class aspirational jazz coffee table feel to it, the Waitrose thing about this show is that Jamie whether a good thing or not depending on how demanding you want your listening to be makes whatever he plays seem glossy and even if what he sneaks in is rough and wild the subtext is that newly unscary monsters have right now been uncaged and made somehow lovely.
Without wishing to rain on his parade I'd much prefer hand on heart hearing a jazz programme with a presenter who is more a version of the great film critic Mark Kermode, someone who can do sharp criticism and not just be nice all the time and still not piss us off by being too much of a smart alec while still teetering on the precipice of being too opinionated. Actually here's a thought: Jay Rayner allowed to let rip presenting a regular jazz show would be just great. For decent choices, and a comfy Radio 2 experience the Jamie Cullum show is absolutely fine. If you're looking for a stretch seek it elsewhere. SG