Talking Jazz

So, the barbarians at the gates have won a convincing victory.

So, the barbarians at the gates have won a convincing victory. Jazz FM, the radio station that the innocent may have assumed was committed to playing the music after which it is named, has persuaded the regulator Ofcom to change its remit. No longer will the station be required to ensure that "50 per cent of the output in daytime sits well with the term jazz". Now, says John Myers, the station's head, Jazz FM has "a wonderful opportunity to deliver radio that remains distinctive and compelling while being commercially attractive".

The implication is that its former requirement to broadcast music to which the label "jazz" could be attached (fulfilled only by stretching its interpretation of the word to well beyond breaking point) was a bit of a bother, quite frankly; and that jazz is neither commercially attractive nor distinctive and compelling.

How will Jazz FM use this "wonderful opportunity"? Judging by a sample from one morning, listeners can expect a mix of even more overworked old soul numbers. Good for the bank balances of Al Green, Bill Withers, et al, but not exactly thrilling for the rest of us.

A little history. This is a station that has always had an ambivalent relationship, at best, with jazz. So chary was it of being associated with a minority art form, albeit one that some consider to have been the greatest American contribution of the last century to world culture, that it even changed its name at one point to J FM. When the Guardian Media Group bought the station two years ago, there was hope that a more enlightened approach might hold sway.

But the way this latest change at Jazz FM has been reported on The Guardian website makes it clear that those steering the group probably think that jazz is a perfume by Yves Saint Laurent. "Traditional jazz will vanish from Jazz FM's daytime schedules... but modern jazz singers such as Jamie Cullum and Joss Stone will be heard throughout the day." The fact that so ignorant and misinformed a statement could appear on the site makes it clear that nobody in charge knows the first thing about jazz.

Traditional jazz is an early form of the music represented by the likes of Louis Armstrong, and has never been much played on the station. The term does not refer, as the author seems to think, to all jazz prior to 1990. Modern jazz, of course, does not mean that which has been created in the past five years but, broadly speaking, encompasses all jazz that followed on from the bebop revolution after the Second World War. And, lastly - Joss Stone, a jazz singer?

The always excellent Dinner Jazz evening shows are being extended, but it's still shameful that a station called Jazz FM should want to shunt the music into a night-time ghetto. Although it hardly seems possible, Jazz FM has disgraced itself still further. Its very name ought to be a breach of trading standards.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power