Preview: BBC R3 Northern Lights Season

Nordic jazz from Jan Garbarek to Verneri Pohjola is part of the BBC's exploration and celebration of music and culture 60 degrees north of the equator

BBC Radio 3’s Northern Lights season, running from 5-25 December, promises " exploration and celebration of the world’s most northerly music and culture, the region north of 60 degrees latitude, and the landscapes and environments that have shaped and inspired it."

This seasonal celebration encompasses literature, classical music, drama and the natural world: Nordic jazz features strongly, in a series of special editions of well-established Radio 3 shows. The shows in question - Jazz On 3, Jazz Record Requests and Geoffrey Smith's Jazz - will each give over one or two programmes to the exploration of Nordic jazz.

Geoffrey Smith's 13 December show will spotlight Jan Garbarek (pictured right by Guri Dahl), one of Norway's most famous jazz musicians. Smith will play a series of Garbarek's recordings, highlighting the saxophonist's partnerships with players such as Keith Jarrett.

Jazz Record Requests, presented by Alyn Shipton, will feature "Scandinavian and Baltic jazz" in its programmes to be broadcast on 5 and 12 December. The 7 December edition of Jazz On 3, with presenter Jez Nelson, will concentrate on the Finnish jazz scene. There will be recordings from the 2015 Pori Jazz Festival: trumpeter Verneri Pohjola (pictured left) and veteran tenor saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen are promised. Finnish broadcaster Markus Partanen will join the show to play some new releases from Finnish jazz musicians.

Saturday Classics isn't usually associated with jazz, but the programme on 5 December will be presented by actor Krister Henriksson (best known in the UK for his portrayal of fictional detective Kurt Wallander), who will include tracks by Swedish pianist Jan Johansson and vocalist Monica Zetterlund.

Bruce Lindsay

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