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John Harvey

Michael Berkeley's guest is crime novelist, poet and jazz enthusiast John Harvey.

Crime writer John Harvey has no shortage of fans. His prize-winning books have sold over a million copies and have been translated and published all over the world. His Nottingham detective Charlie Resnick is now so well known – after 12 novels, two television adaptations and four radio plays – that he seems like a real person: a brooding solitary sensitive man who has a passion for ... listening to jazz. And this is where the fans come in. Because for years now they have been sending Harvey compilation tapes of the kind of jazz tracks that they think Resnick would enjoy. So no surprise to discover that his creator John Harvey has a lifelong love of jazz, conceived during a misspent youth in London jazz clubs.

As part of the jazz season across Radio 2 and 3, with highlights from the London Jazz Festival, John Harvey chooses his favourite jazz tracks. The playlist includes early Billie Holliday, Thelonius Monk, James P. Johnson and Chet Baker. Harvey, who’s a fine poet as well as a crime writer, reads a moving poem about Chet Baker’s mysterious death. Other music choices include Shostakovich, Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides Overture’, and a Tango for corrugated iron by Jocelyn Pook.

Harvey reveals that he dislikes how crime fiction has changed during the 25 years he’s been writing it: ‘There almost seems to be a competition who can have the most disgusting things in their books, and what awful things you can do particularly to female victims.’ And he talks about his decision to retire his detective Resnick, leaving him sitting on a park bench, ‘hankering after a fresh helping of Thelonius Monk`.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

59 minutes

Last on

Sun 18 Nov 2018 12:00


Music Played

  • Billie Holiday

    Mean to Me

    • Billie Holiday: The Quintessential Vol IV.
    • CBS.
    • 11.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave)

    Conductor: Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich. Orchestra: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra.
    • Essential Media Group.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    The Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave)

    Orchestra: Great Symphony Orchestra of the All-Union Radio. Conductor: Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich.
  • James P. Johnson

    Victory Stride

    Orchestra: The Concordia Orchestra. Conductor: Marin Alsop.
    • The Symphonic Music of James P Johnson.
    • Musical Heritage Society.
    • 1.
  • James Price Johnson

    Victory Stride

    Ensemble: Concordia. Conductor: Marin Alsop.
  • Elvis Costello


    Performer: Chet Baker.
    • The Very Best of Elvis Costello.
    • Universal Music.
    • 7.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Concerto for piano, trumpet & strings in C minor, Op.35

    Orchestra: Munich Philharmonic. Conductor: Marc Albrecht. Performer: Sol Gabetta.
    • RCA.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Cello Concerto no.2 (2nd mvt: Allegretto)

    Performer: Sol Gabetta. Orchestra: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Marc Albrecht.
  • Jocelyn Pook

    Tango with Corrugated Iron

    Ensemble: Electra Strings.
    • Unknown Public 09: All Seeing Ear.
    • Unknown Public.
    • 1.
  • Thelonious Monk


    Performer: Thelonious Monk.
    • Criss-Cross.
    • Columbia.
    • 5.


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