BBC launches pop-up jazz station

BBC Music Jazz, a temporary digital station, will be available for a few days in collaboration with Jazz FM to tie in with the EFG London Jazz Festival

Featuring music from improvisation to big band, jazz sounds of the 80s to the avant-garde and points in between, BBC Music Jazz, a temporary digital station, promises to appeal to a wide range of jazz fans from the expert to the beginner.

It will run on digital radio, online and mobile from 2pm on Thursday 12th November 2015 to midnight on Sunday 15th November 2015. The temporary service is a collaboration between BBC Radio, Jazz FM and the EFG London Jazz Festival: the first time BBC Radio stations will have worked in collaboration with Jazz FM to offer audiences a one-stop shop for jazz music.

The temporary pop-up digital radio station will feature star presenters, performers, archive sessions, live content from BBC Radio 3’s collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival, bespoke content from BBC Radios 2, 4, 6 and BBC Radio Scotland. Jazz FM will offer access to their flagship programmes and rare archive recordings. BBC Radio 3’s Geoffrey Smith and Jazz FM presenter Helen Mayhew will present 50 Greatest Jazz Artists, to be broadcast daily on the pop-up station with audiences invited to vote for their favourite artist.

BBC Music Jazz is led by controller of BBC Radio 3 Alan Davey (pictured above right), BBC Music Editor James Stirling and Jazz FM CEO Jonathan Arendt, with the pop-up service featuring shows hosted by presenters including Jamie Cullum, Craig Charles, Helen Mayhew, Jez Nelson, Geoffrey Smith, Claire Martin and Alyn Shipton.

Alan Davey says: “BBC Radio 3 has always had dedicated jazz strands and comprehensive live coverage of the EFG London Jazz Festival thanks to our collaboration with Serious. But all of us who love jazz must think what greater things we can all do together when it comes to reaching and serving audiences. That’s why I’m so proud to be working closely with Jazz FM, Serious and our sister BBC radio stations to give listeners such a unique digital jazz offer that will, I hope, introduce new audiences to the wonders of jazz and remind existing fans of the great things available across the BBC and from our friends at Jazz FM - as well as the great talent on display at the EFG London Jazz Festival.”

James Stirling said “I’m really pleased that we’re able to showcase the wide range of jazz content available across the BBC and through working with Jazz FM, some rare archive.” Jonathan Arendt added “It’s fantastic that jazz is bringing the BBC and commercial radio together in this unique collaboration. In our 25th anniversary year, we’re delighted to be working with the extraordinary teams from BBC Radio and Serious on this groundbreaking digital station.” Claire Whitaker on behalf of Serious, producers of the EFG London Jazz Festival, supported the initiative: “We are delighted to be collaborating with both BBC Music and Jazz FM on this project, which will have the enviable result of building a wider audience both for the festival and the music we hold dear.”

Under current plans, BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum will open proceedings at 2pm on Thursday 12th November with a celebration of live performance. Clare Teal is to present a special Clare Teal Xtra focusing on big-band music after her Radio 2 show and Sara Cox will present a programme on Jazz Sounds Of The '80s. BBC Radio 3 will simulcast their live coverage of the EFG London Jazz Festival from Alyn Shipton’s live Jazz Record Requests through to the opening concerts at the Barbican and the Jez Nelson fronted Ronnie Scott’s gig for Jazz On 3. Julian Joseph will present special shows about improvisation, Claire Martin and Liane Carroll will present Jazz Line-up celebrating the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday and Matthew Sweet will present a special Sound Of Cinema focusing on the jazz of the movies.

BBC Radio 4 will broadcast past performances including music from Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. BBC Radio 6 Music’s Craig Charles presents a Jazz Funk Special and Mary Anne Hobbs, who has a passion for the music of Kamasi Washington, will broadcast her in-depth interview with Washington before his EFG London Jazz Festival appearance. Jazz FM will feature from their archives the exclusive 1990 Ella Fitzgerald Jazz FM launch concert from the Royal Albert Hall and Neil N’ Dud, an intimate programme about Dudley Moore through the eyes of musician and self-confessed fan Neil Cowley. Helen Mayhew will present a special edition of Dinner Jazz and Chris Philips will host his weekly new jazz programme, The BluePrint.

BBC Music Jazz
will feature jazz masterclasses with leading figures including sax with Tommy Smith presented by Julian Joseph, bass with Laurence Cottle presented by Kevin LeGendre and trombone with Dennis Rollins presented by Jez Nelson. BBC Jazz Around the Country will celebrate UK jazz highlights from Gateshead, Belfast, Brecon, Manchester, Glasgow and Glynde. There will also be programming on the eve of the search for BBC Four’s BBC Young Jazz Musician 2016, which once again seeks out the brightest jazz stars of the future. Content on BBC Music Jazz will include performances from the award’s inaugural winner from 2014, Alexander Bone (pictured left).

Further information about the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2016, including the application process and closing date, is available via the BBC Young Musician website. Entrants must be 21 or under on 1 January 2016.

BBC Music Jazz will be available on digital radio platforms, online in the UK and globally and via the BBC iplayerradio app labelled as BBC Music Jazz. It will also be available on demand for 30 days. It will not be available on digital TV.

Bruce Lindsay

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