All that jazz...

Radio Three Controller Alan Davey Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey

Jazz is a very broad church - how are you defining it for this series?

Defining Jazz could take us forever as it is such a unique and intricate style of music. The aim is to reflect a broad range of jazz, from the kind of new experimental stuff that gets reflected on Jazz on 3, to more classic voices such as Ella Fitzgerald. By reflecting the broad spectrum of jazz programming available on Radios 2, 3, BBC Scotland and elsewhere on the BBC, alongside the range of Jazz reflected on Jazz FM, we hope that audiences will be able to discover more about such a wonderful art-form.

What can listeners expect to hear?

We'll kick off with a broad introduction to jazz from Jamie Cullum, then swing into a variety of shows and presenters to appeal to newcomers and jazz aficionados alike. This will range from Jazz for Absolute beginners with Claire Martin and Julian Legendre to a series of Masterclasses with legends such as trombone player Dennis Rollins exploring each key instrument important to the development of jazz in-depth.

We also have a wide range of documentaries celebrating the life and careers of jazz artists such as Billie Holiday, fabulous live performances from the EFG London Jazz Festival, including Kamasi Washington, a tour of jazz festivals around the country from Jez Nelson, and jazz musician Neil Cowley exploring Dudley Moore's interest in the genre. We will also be revealing the Top 50 jazz artists with Radio 3's Geoffrey Smith and Jazz FM's Helen Mahew. I am excited to see who our audiences have voted the Greatest Jazz Artist of all time.

Tell us about the pop up radio station

When I joined BBC Radio 3 I realised we weren't the only ones that did a lot for jazz. There's Radio 2, and a specific jazz category in BBC Young Musician, but also Radio Scotland and others. I worked with James Stirling, BBC Music Editor and we decided that it would be a great service for jazz fans if we brought it all together in one place for a concentrated period of time to really get to the root of what makes this art form so great, especially after the recent success of Radio 2 Country.

As Jazz FM is a commercial network serving jazz all hours, we thought it would be a unique and exciting opportunity to ask them to join in, to really give audiences the best in expertly curated content. Hence we have a unique collaboration which benefits music and jazz fans alike. Editors Lindsay Pell (BBC Scotland), Tony Cheevers (BBC Radio 3), Radio 3 producer Kevin Bee and a terrific team from across BBC Radio have worked hard above and beyond their day jobs to create something really special, and we really hope audiences will enjoy it as much as we will.

There's been great collaboration between BBC stations and Jazz FM. Could you elaborate on this.

We asked Jazz FM at an early stage if they'd be interested in joining us to create something new for jazz - they readily agreed and have provided specific strands of programming from their archive - including a legendary Ella Fitzgerald concert from 1980. They have worked with us to present the top 50 Jazz Artists of all time, using Radio 3 and Jazz FM presenters; it's been a great partnership and the two teams have worked brilliantly together, and it is thrilling to be able to offer audiences such focused and intricate content about such a fascinating and musically ground-breaking genre which is such a key part of our musical heritage.


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