I don’t think I like jazz. It feels like one of those things you have to grow up to enjoy. Like golf, or Quiet Coaches. But I think I like Jazz FM. Or specifically this show.

Listened In is 2ZY’s weekly air-check blog. Every week we listen to a random twenty minute sample of a station or programme in the news.


WHAT  Dinner Jazz on Jazz FM

WHO  Helen Mayhew

WHEN  Monday 16 September

1925 If You Never Come to Me/Kate Williams and Bobby Wellins

“Kate Williams at the piano, Bobby Wellins at the saxophone.” A read about a forthcoming live gig at the 606. “More details at the 606 club website – or our own, which is Jazz FM.com.”

1931  Some Other Time/Tony Bennett

1935  The Dreamer/Tim Lapthorn

Back announces, references the Tim Lapthorn album and the fact that he’s also at the 606 tomorrow night. “You’re listening to Jazz FM. St Regis Hotels and Resorts partner Jazz Travels with Sarah Ward ..,” begins a slightly clunky S&P script but the client’s wonderfully on brand and it’s perfectly delivered.

ADS: Jazz FM Eliane Elias gig/Honda Jazz/Mishcon de Raya/British Gas boilers

ID: Jazz FM. Discover the Music.

1943  Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen/George Adams and Don Pullen Quartet


Call me a philistine, but lots of what I imagine proper jazz to be sounds to these ears like so much musical showing-off. And elsewhere in the day, Jazz FM appears to be Jazz-ish FM. Not so here.

Here at dinner time – often a radio desert (rather than a dessert) – there can be few other stations better programmed for the time of day. Purists and jazzophobes can both be sated by the mood, the feel of the music, and the distinctly background presentation. It’s a Jazz Trojan horse, ably steered by Helen Mayhew – throughout the station’s turbulent history.

This incarnation of the station is now quietly four years old, and like the best re-boots, cleverly ported the best bits of the original – Dinner Jazz, the following Late Lounge, and the exquisite David Arnold hook. Even that bloody chameleon.

Consistency of presentation, an understanding of why brevity matters, understated  passion for, and knowledge of, the music … Next time you’re home after a hell of a day, stick in on and hear what I mean.

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