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Alyn Shipton's 'Jazz Library' now archived


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Allegedly the plan is to cut back on drama, leaving BBC 4 to concentrate on 'arts and archives', but I think we know where this is heading.

It does say the plan is to cut back on drama to focus on 'arts'. So it might not be as bad as it first sounds - we might even see more music (a permanent webcam in the Royal Albert Hall!).

Though, the slippery slope situation is more likely!

Hope they maintain their recent habit of importing continental detective series - I'm addicted top the Saturday night slot. DEnmark, Sweden, France and, this weekend, Italy. With the second series of 'The Killing' just a few weeks away.

In some ways I'd prefer to see them importing high quality drama from Europe (or elsewhere). Keep the original BBC commissioned drama to BBC1 and BBC2 at the expense of the strictly-come-be-a-millionaire-with-the-soap-stars-while-watching-police-cars-chase-chavs type programmes (my Guardian reading, woolly-minded, luke-warm lefty credentials fully on display there).

[Two other things that have me incandescent with rage, while we're here:

1. Who thought it was a good idea for newsreaders to stand up in pairs while reading the news? I find myself turning into my father and screaming at the TV 'Sit Down, for god's sake'.

2. Why, on documentaries, have they started repeating things. They do this a lot on those 'Secrets of the Pyramids' type programmes just after the breaks in case you've been so mesmerised by the adds that you need a recap. But I noticed on a 'Who do you think you are?' the other night they did a recap at the end of every 3-4 minute segment - 'And so Jo has learnt that her grandma was the illegitimate daughter of a travelling trombone player...' Yes, I know. I saw her finding this out two minutes ago!

Worries me a bit, that last one. I do something similar in a lesson!]

Edited by A Lark Ascending
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[Two other things that have me incandescent with rage, while we're here:

1. Who thought it was a good idea for newsreaders to stand up in pairs while reading the news? I find myself turning into my father and screaming at the TV 'Sit Down, for god's sake'.

2. Why, on documentaries, have they started repeating things. They do this a lot on those 'Secrets of the Pyramids' type programmes just after the breaks in case you've been so mesmerised by the adds that you need a recap. But I noticed on a 'Who do you think you are?' the other night they did a recap at the end of every 3-4 minute segment - 'And so Jo has learnt that her grandma was the illegitimate daughter of a travelling trombone player...' Yes, I know. I saw her finding this out two minutes ago!

Worries me a bit, that last one. I do something similar in a lesson!]

The awful formulaic 'Dragon's Den' also does this, ie repeating what you've just seen. It's known as the 'Stating The Bleedin' Obvious Show' in our house.

And has anyone noticed the irritating trend - not just on TV - for interviewees to start their explanations with the word 'So'? As an example, you might get an interviewer ask, 'Why does the fall in retail confidence mean that interest rates will stay the same?' The interviewee will then say something like 'So, the trend is showing us.... etc etc'.

I'm starting to sound like the lefty equivalent of 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'!

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"Arts and archives" sounds like a good plan for BBC4, although it would be a shame to lose the docus on science, history, etc. Most of the dramas seem to be bios of "national treasures" like Enid Blyton and Hattie Jacques -- some are very good but it's hardly ground-breaking stuff. That could go on BBC2.

I'm not too pessimistic. I recall much rending of garments when it was announced that BBC7 would become Radio 4 Xtra and start broadcasting The Archers. That happened, but the channel remained more or less the same. And the Beeb has a vast archive to plunder -- a TV equivalent of BBC7 could be superb.

Bev, you forgot credit squeezing in your list of bĂȘtes noires!

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2. Why, on documentaries, have they started repeating things. They do this a lot on those 'Secrets of the Pyramids' type programmes just after the breaks in case you've been so mesmerised by the adds that you need a recap. But I noticed on a 'Who do you think you are?' the other night they did a recap at the end of every 3-4 minute segment - 'And so Jo has learnt that her grandma was the illegitimate daughter of a travelling trombone player...' Yes, I know. I saw her finding this out two minutes ago!

Worries me a bit, that last one. I do something similar in a lesson!]

A friend of mine writes documentaries for the BBC, usually co-productions with the Discovery Channel. The DC demand those constant foreshadowings and recaps so as not to lose the (evidently generally slow and easily bored) existing audience, and to draw inveterate channel hoppers in. I suppose the style has caught on in house too.

Responses to other posts -

So, the edits to the archived Jazz Library programmes are only on the tracks themselves - you don't get much more than a minute for each track, presumably part of the licensing agreement.

If NHOP is full of himself (justifiably, IMHO) listen to the Martial Solal one. Crafty chap.

Re Jazz Goes to College - the Monk quartet did one in 1966 at Cambridge. Chris Sheridan's discog says that a tape exists in a private collection, but when I contacted him about this a couple of years ago he told me the collector had died and that was that. The video may well have an Episode of Cash in the Attic on it by now instead, unless the guy chipped off the little plastic tab thing.

When the BBC's efficiency drive is through we will more likely look back at today as a golden age for jazz programming. I don't think things will get any better, anyway.

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The video may well have an Episode of Cash in the Attic on it by now instead, unless the guy chipped off the little plastic tab thing.

Amazing how easy that can happen. At one time I had a recording of Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy at the Bath Fest, courtesy of the BBC - until my folks accidentally wiped over it. Sadly, I've never seen a repeat of this one and no doubt it languishes in the BBC archives (along with Loose Tubes at Bath and other such delights).

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A friend of mine writes documentaries for the BBC, usually co-productions with the Discovery Channel. The DC demand those constant foreshadowings and recaps so as not to lose the (evidently generally slow and easily bored) existing audience, and to draw inveterate channel hoppers in. I suppose the style has caught on in house too.

I had a feeling it might have been something like that. We live in an age when everything can be sorted with a pat formula.

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Another annoying formulaic thing they have added (especially to documentaries) are those damned high-dramatic crescendo sound effects intended to reverberate through home cinemas, which are the curse of just about everything. Curse of the age !

End of boomer rant. :D

Edited by sidewinder
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According to Jazzwise 'Jazz Library' is shifting to a midnight slot from 17th September.

More evidence of the BBC's lack of interest in jazz? Or its conviction that jazzers are nightbirds by nature?

Probably the former. Only 2 or 3 years ago, BBC TV seemed to have at least some commitment to jazz ( at least BBC 4 did ) and showed several jazz-based documentaries, things like the rare Jazz Goes to College Stan Getz programme and restored episodes from Jazz 625. Then it all stopped - when did you last see jazz on the BBC? BBC 4 does at least seem to have some interest in music programming, mainly rock, so I assume that whoever was promoting jazz in the organisation has moved on or left.

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According to Jazzwise 'Jazz Library' is shifting to a midnight slot from 17th September.

More evidence of the BBC's lack of interest in jazz? Or its conviction that jazzers are nightbirds by nature?

Probably the former. Only 2 or 3 years ago, BBC TV seemed to have at least some commitment to jazz ( at least BBC 4 did ) and showed several jazz-based documentaries, things like the rare Jazz Goes to College Stan Getz programme and restored episodes from Jazz 625. Then it all stopped - when did you last see jazz on the BBC? BBC 4 does at least seem to have some interest in music programming, mainly rock, so I assume that whoever was promoting jazz in the organisation has moved on or left.

All this has happened since the passing of Humphrey Lyttelton (see post #23).

Edited by BillF
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Humphrey Lyttelton had the advantage of being a 'personality' - a well known name from a time when a certain approach to jazz was briefly mainstream popular in the UK, one who was known for his broadcasting in other areas ('I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue'). It was lucky he was also a devoted jazz fan (and player) and one with very open ears.

Jez Nelson and Alyn Shipton don't have that celebrity clout.

4 Radio 3 jazz programmes, 3 condemned to the graveyard slot from this September (even the very mild Jazz Line-up got pushed there). Somehow JRR has survived in its current slot for as long as I can remember (I started listening in 1977) - tea time Saturday (give or take the occasional shunting round the schedule to accommodate the Valkyries).

Edit:

From a Blog in 2009:

http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/in-defence-ofjazz-record-requests/

The last 'reply' made me smile.

Edited by A Lark Ascending
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Excellent programme this afternoon on Artie Shaw with Alan Barnes providing a musician's perspective.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013xpxv

Only on the outer periphery of my listening but I'll have to give the Properbox a run through now.

Edited by A Lark Ascending
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Just catching up on some JLs which I found archived via iTunes (sadly for 'domestic' UK consumption only) and am currently listening to the excellent programme on Jon Hiseman. For a 'rock' drummer he's played on some staggeringly major Brit jazz albums. I'm pleased that these excellent programmes have been archived for (relative) posterity. The Beeb had been too good at deleting gems like these all too rapidly after transmission.

Edited by RogerF
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Sort of vaguely positive news from the BBC 4 Controller about the future of BBC 4 :

BBC 4

Good news.

Wondered when they'd get around to doing Alan Furst. Given TV's obsession with WWII/Nazis, his books are naturals for the Le Carre area of drama.

Must catch up on the i-Player. Barnesy's always interesting to listen to.

Indeed. All sorts of technical stuff about clarinet registers which even I understood.

No jokes, though!

Just catching up on some JLs which I found archived via iTunes (sadly for 'domestic' UK consumption only) and am currently listening to the excellent programme on Jon Hiseman. For a 'rock' drummer he's played on some staggeringly major Brit jazz albums. I'm pleased that these excellent programmes have been archived for (relative) posterity. The Beeb had been too good at deleting gems like these all too rapidly after transmission.

I enjoyed that one whilst lost in Plymouth three weeks or so back.

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Just catching up on some JLs which I found archived via iTunes (sadly for 'domestic' UK consumption only) and am currently listening to the excellent programme on Jon Hiseman. For a 'rock' drummer he's played on some staggeringly major Brit jazz albums. I'm pleased that these excellent programmes have been archived for (relative) posterity. The Beeb had been too good at deleting gems like these all too rapidly after transmission.

Oops, should have said For a 'rock' drummer he's played on some staggeringly major jazz albums because as he said in the programme, he played with the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble for 35 years!

As an aside, Brit audiences alone would have left Jon and Barbara out in the cold as jazz is generally under appreciated in the UK as opposed to those in mainland Europe and the USA. Jon also said he got Allan Holdsworth his first experience of the USA whilst the guitarist was playing with Hiseman's Tempest.

Edited by RogerF
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I've just downloaded pretty well the whole lot of these onto the I-Pod to listen to in the car on the way to work. Currently listening to the Graham Collier :tup and will follow up with the Jon Hiseman and Harry Beckett. Missed most of these when they came out but enjoyed board member Tom Perchard's Lee Morgan feature when it was broadcast. Some good selections on there.

I'm pleased that these excellent programmes have been archived for (relative) posterity.

Says 'indefinitely' - I wonder if they mean it (ie. will it be there longer than Sellafield nuclear waste?)

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Recall seeing Tempest (or was it Colosseum II?) around 1974/75 in the student union building at Reading Uni. All a bit too 'rawk' for my tastes from what I can recall - don't remember who was with Hiseman. In fact the gig sort of merges into a similar Isotope one around the same time. I'd never been that big on rock guitar frenzy and my tastes were changing so I probably wasn't very receptive.

I do remember Hiseman throwing his sticks in the air during a drum solo. This was what passed for a stage show on the college circuit (you had to be Pink Floyd or David Bowie to do anything bigger!).

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Here's something interesting:

The BBC TV4 documentry, "Playing Against Time" is scheduled for broadcast on November 4th, 9pm 2011. It's a 75 min. 'musical-medico' documentary about Barbara's fight to keep performing, while suffering from her ever deteriorating Parkinson's condition. It's directed by Mike Dibb, who was responsible for the original film about B&J, 'Jazz, Rock & Marriage' back in '79 and the subsequent award winning Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett & Astor Piazzolla films. Good company!

From Temple Music site.

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Here's something interesting:

The BBC TV4 documentry, "Playing Against Time" is scheduled for broadcast on November 4th, 9pm 2011. It's a 75 min. 'musical-medico' documentary about Barbara's fight to keep performing, while suffering from her ever deteriorating Parkinson's condition. It's directed by Mike Dibb, who was responsible for the original film about B&J, 'Jazz, Rock & Marriage' back in '79 and the subsequent award winning Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett & Astor Piazzolla films. Good company!

From Temple Music site.

Good news. Just the kind of thing BBC 4 should be doing.

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Not relevant to the thread title but fits with some of the meandering here...

Did anyone watch the David Hare drama 'Page Eight' last night? Quite slight overall but some marvellous performances.

But there was lots of jazz in it - a Dankworthesque opening sequence, a scene where Billy Nighy shows a young woman the Lester Young/Billie Holiday film from the late 50s and later buys her a Young CD. And the marvellous line when an angry ex-wife turns to Nighy in a crisis and barks words to the effect of: 'You're no use. You listen to jazz.'

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Not relevant to the thread title but fits with some of the meandering here...

Did anyone watch the David Hare drama 'Page Eight' last night? Quite slight overall but some marvellous performances.

But there was lots of jazz in it - a Dankworthesque opening sequence, a scene where Billy Nighy shows a young woman the Lester Young/Billie Holiday film from the late 50s and later buys her a Young CD. And the marvellous line when an angry ex-wife turns to Nighy in a crisis and barks words to the effect of: 'You're no use. You listen to jazz.'

Missed it but will try and catch on the iPlayer tonight. Bill Nighy is always worth watching. Thanks for the heads up re: 'Playing Against Time' Bev, I've been waiting for this to be released for ages. Jon H mentioned in the JL programme that Barbara had entered a new phase of her illness and it was therefore uncertain as to whether she could still perform with Colosseum for much longer.

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