In 2008, a long list of jazz musicians passed away. And among them we lost two who were also superb presenters of jazz on radio.
Both of these men had helped jazz in all its forms to reach the ears of those of us inclined to hunt jazz down. But they also knew how to appeal to the bigger population: those seeking enjoyment and solace and spiritual whatever from hopping radio stations:
Humphrey Richard Adeane Lyttelton, trumpeter, clarinettist, bandleader, broadcaster, writer, journalist and calligrapher: born Eton, Berkshire 23 May 1921; cartoonist, Daily Mail 1949-53; chairman, I’m Sorry I Haven’t Clue 1972-2008; married 1948 Pat Braithwaite (one daughter; marriage dissolved 1952), 1952 Jill Richardson (died 2006; two sons, one daughter); died Barnet, Hertfordshire 25 April 2008*.
Campbell Crichton Mackinnon Burnap, trombonist, vocalist, bandleader and broadcaster: born Derby 10 September 1939; married 2002 Jenny Hargreaves; died London 30 May 2008*.
Both were exceptionally generous men with masses of warmth and good humour. And their passings away leave not so much a gap as a huge void in British jazz. And they were certainly kind to me.
Yes, there are other, senior people in the British media village with a genuine devotion – and more -for jazz: Michael Parkinson , Russell Davies.
Yes, there are also other presenters.
But if I want to hear the friendliest, most experienced, most professional jazz broadcasting voice in Britain, following the closure of theJazz radio station, a bit of research tells me that
“Helen Mayhew brings Jazz music to in-flight radio presenting shows for EVA, Kuwait and Singapore Airlines as well as ‘Jazz Connections’ on Virgin trains.”
Or there’s a very short clip which gives no clue to her interviewing craft or her knowledge of the scene on her website.
Helen knows the young London scene better than ANYBODY. If I go to an interesting gig by a promising young player or singer which I think nobody else can possibly have found- she’s got there before me!
SIMPLE MESSAGE: BRING BACK HELEN MAYHEW TO NATIONAL RADIO.
*(Source: The Independent’s fogeyish obituaries page)