Splendid jazz programming – on classical radio station

I never listen to Classic FM. I tried when it launched, but it’s far too lightweight for my tastes; I much prefer BBC Radio 3.

After trialling it seriously, I never listened to Classic FM’s sister station, Jazz FM, either, or its successors, Smooth FM or theJazz.

So I don’t have much time for the hugely successful company behind Classic FM. It has created a big new market, but I’m not part of it.

Imagine my surprise, then, when, on long drive, I happened upon – and warmed instantly to – Classic FM Jazz, a two hour programme which runs nightly from midnight.

It had some fine programming – established greats like Bill Evans and Chet Baker; fringe voice like Blossom Dearie, which had me guessing (and floundering); and credible, interesting new sounds.

It was agreeably presented by Helen Mayhew, who taught me a lot, without appearing to. And very few of the relentlessly tiresome ad breaks which do much to diminish the station’s daytime output.

Classic FM Jazz: a real find; I’ll be returning whenever I’m driving after midnight.

Gerry Smith

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