Just like Mark Twain’s title above, once upon a time “JAZZ IS DEAD” was probably a provocative statement. It was the misleading title chosen for a 30-minute BBC Radio Four feature presented by Paul Morley today , New Year’s Day, available to play again. Or, as the BBC blurb has it: “Jazz was once revolutionary, but is now arguably part of the heritage industry”.
In point of fact, the programme ended up demonstrating the precise opposite. With contributions from- among others – Seb Rochford, Nick Smart, Gary Crosby and Laura Jurd, it was an impressive piece of work, pointing out the diversity of directions which jazz encompasses, leading listeners in a number of good listening directions. A good summary would be Paul Morley’s neatly-turned sentence at 17:18 “Jazz music’s complex sonic history [.]never dies, but lies in wait for potential change.”.