Opera Week - and a bit of jazz on the side

This week, on Radio 3, has been Jazz Week. Hooray, I hear you all cry. Lots and lots of jolly jazz on Radio 3! Hours and hours of super syncopation. At last a sign that Nicholas Kenyon, the stern head of dear old Radio 3, has unbent to dear old jazz.

A sign, even, that he has learnt something about jazz, which did not seem to be the case last May. This was the time when I drew attention to a 15-minute programme on Radio 3 about Jelly Roll Morton which managed to make eight major errors about him. Not eight major errors in the programme. Eight major errors in one 133-word paragraph, which included the presenter announcing one record and playing another, without anyone noticing that this had happened.

Nobody from Radio 3 wrote to contradict me, least of all to say sorry, so I take it that my count of eight major errors was correct. And if Nicholas Kenyon's crew can make so many errors about one jazz musician in one paragraph, just imagine how many major errors they can make in a Jazz Week!

Imagine the scope for wonderful mistakes in a seven-day period of jazz broadcasts.

But hold on.

Let us look more closely at this "Jazz Week". Let us count up carefully the hours of broadcasting devoted to jazz on Radio 3 this week, the programme hours decorated by Radio 3 with the proud strapline JAZZ WEEK.

Hmmm. I make it a total of 940 minutes, which is to say about 16 hours. Sixteen hours of jazz. Well, that's not bad, considering that our usual ration consists of nothing but the occasional concert recorded by the tireless Derek Drescher, backed up by Jazz Record Requests on Saturday. Oh, and that programme that nobody listens to because it's far too late, Jazz Notes, at 00.30 hours (and which can be rather annoying waiting up for because they tend to change the announced contents).

Hold on a moment, though. They have marked Jazz Record Requests as part of JAZZ WEEK. What a cheek. The programme. would be there anyway - it is broadcast every week, year in, year out (except when, as recently, it is cancelled to make way for live Wagner). Nothing special about Jazz Record Requests. You can't call it part of JAZZ WEEK.

And they have earmarked Jazz Notes as part of JAZZ WEEK. Oh, come on, fellows! Jazz Notes goes out the whole time, even if all the listeners are asleep. Subtract Jazz Notes and Jazz Record Requests from the total, and we get a less impressive 13 hours or so.

Of that 13 hours, another hour and a quarter is given to Radio 3's daily O-level session, Music Machine, in which Wynton Marsalis is talking to Natalie Wheen about how to get started in jazz and how to busk on "Happy Birthday" - not exactly designed to attract the average jazz fan. Included in this 13-hour total also are a chat with conductor Andrew Litton on what jazz records he likes (big deal) and a 45-minute programme called Voices which is a rag-bag of records by jazz singers. Well, I am not going to haggle, but if you count the genuine concert jazz performances going out this week which would not otherwise go out were it not for Jazz Week, I make it between eight and nine hours of solid music. All the rest is somewhat pointless chat, repeats or programmes that would go out anyway. Make it 10 hours, to be generous.

During the same period no fewer than 14 hours of opera are broadcast. I know, because I have just gone through the Radio Times, tediously adding it up.

To put it another way, during the "special" Jazz Week, more opera than jazz is being put out on Radio 3. This is partly because this week's composers, Cherubini and Spontini, are opera composers, which does bump up the total, but mostly because every week on Radio 3 is Opera Week. You have to designate a week Jazz Week to get eight or nine hours of music (just over an hour a day!) but with no effort at all, you can get 14 hours of opera.

It's not a proper Jazz Week, even when you print JAZZ WEEK in capitals, and flexible slots like Music Machine and In Tune are lent to jazz for one week only in order to make the figures look better.

It still doesn't add up to a jazz week, Mr Kenyon.

You don't fool me, sir, even if you fool yourself.

And I won't feel much different until you have a real Jazz Week or, even better, give instructions for Jazz Notes to be broadcast at a time when people are awake. Or, better still, until you cancel some Wagner to make way for jazz.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Chelsea are interested in loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Everton again next season
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?