Something Understood on Radio 4

GEOFF WINSTON writes about last night’s Radio 4 programme Something Understood, on the spirituality of jazz. The programme is available on BBC iPlayer for the next week.

This week’s ‘Something Understood – The Spirit of Jazz’ was a really eloquent and moving programme about jazz and its roots, practice and spiritual aspects by Mark Tully and Ian Smith. This articulate half-hour presentation featured music, poetry and reflections. It was pleasing to see Glen Miller, Coltrane, Jarrett, Monk, Billie, Fats all sitting together comfortably (with a mention of Kenny Ball, too) alongside a gentle demolition of the snobbishness of the jazz cliques, and in-depth thinking about improvisation, its role and practice. Poetry selections were apposite and it was also informative and thought-provoking to hear Smith talk about conversation as improvisation.

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