Dizzy and All That Jazz

Written by Louis Barfe

It’s been something of a year for jazz centenaries, what with the first commercial jazz record dating from 1917, not to mention Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie all being born that year.

John Birks Gillespie got the works from Radio 3 last week, with Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz concentrating on his career (R3, Sundays, midnight) and Kevin Le Gendre devoting a whole Jazz Line-Up (R3, Saturdays, 5pm) to the man with the bent trumpet. The music selection in both avoided duplication, mercifully, and conveyed well how important Gillespie was as a composer and bandleader, as well as getting across how much fun he was.
His mischievous personality shines through the music.

Oddly, sometimes in the car when I’m listening to another station, with the traffic announcements enabled, Radio 3 breaks through and interrupts. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a traffic report on Radio 3, so I’m not sure why this is happening. It’s not as annoying as presenters who set off the RDS traffic flag a long way in advance of the actual report, and then  take ages to switch back after. Maybe they view it as a way of building an audience.

I remember with glee a Danny Baker show on GLR many years ago when he had obviously just worked out how the RDS system worked (a supersonic tone usually embedded in the traffic news jingle). He proceeded to spend the rest of the show (or at least until the producer told him it was almost certainly illegal) firing it off randomly and issuing sinister messages to the capital’s motorists with heavy reverb added to his voice.

‘You there. In the car. Your car does not exist,’ is one that lodged in my mind. Hilarious to those of us in on the joke, but heaven knows what anyone else made of it.

Louis on Twitter: @AlanKelloggs or email: wireless@cheeseford.net