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17 March 2021

Jazz FM to broadcast the 100-year long story of jazz music in Great Britain

Jazz FM to broadcast ten-week documentary series on the 100+ year history of Jazz in Great Britain

Hosted by broadcaster Clive Myrie, each weekly episode tells the story of a decade of jazz, starting in 1919 through a cast of 50+ contributors

“The Definitive History of Jazz In Britain” starts on Easter Sunday

It’s been over 100 years in the making, but a new landmark ten-part series finally lands at Jazz FM from Easter Sunday looking at the history of jazz across the UK.

Starting in 1919 when the ‘Original Dixieland Jass Band’ visited London’s Hippodrome for the first official performance of jazz music in the union, the series will take us on a journey of the genre in Britain and how jazz evolved over the decades, ending up where we are today with a thriving British jazz scene that is the envy of the world.

“The Definitive History of Jazz in Britain” is hosted by award winning BBC journalist and presenter Clive Myrie who cites jazz music as one of his passions in life.  Each week he’ll explore the decade with archive audio, reconstructions, and expert insight from a who’s who of guests.

The programme, produced by MIM (Made In Manchester), has been created courtesy of another Audio Content Fund win for the UK’s only jazz, soul and blues station with previous winning ACF bids being Jazz FM’s Virtual Jazz Festival at the height of country’s first lockdown 12 months ago and the brand’s first ever drama series Space Is The Place.

Of the series, host Clive Myrie said: “Being a part of this amazing project is a dream come true. Jazz is an art form very close to my heart. The richness of this series is that not only is it an indispensable primer to British jazz in the last 100 years, but it puts the music in the social and political context of its time. It’s a powerful, fascinating ride with some incredible contributors and of course great music.””

MIM MD and Exec Producer of the series Ashley Byrne says: “It’s been great tracing the history of jazz in Britain. It is such a multi-faceted genre and its evolution is fascinating. Hearing from people who were there or are directly linked to those who helped create the UK’s jazz story gives us a real sense of how jazz has adapted over the years. It continues to be the great survivor when it comes to music genres finding its way into other types of music all the time. Running parallel to the music story is also the story of black people in Britain and how they faced many challenges including blatant racism over the decades. The story of jazz in Britain reflects the story of the changing face of society and culture over the past 100 years.”

Jazz FM’s Content Director Nick Pitts added: “After dramatizing the lives of five of our superstar artists last year in Space Is The Place, the fact we have the chance to tell the story in detail of the creative growth and expansion of jazz in Britain and the social change that has driven it over 10 hours with this programme is just so exciting and a perfect accompaniment.  We have learnt over the last 12 months that our audience don’t just thrive in hearing the music, but also the in-depth stories behind it, and this is well placed to be the series they have been waiting for.  I’d like to thank MIM and the Audio Content Fund for making this 100-year tale possible.”

The Definitive History to Jazz in Britain, with Clive Myrie

Sunday 4th April – Sunday 6th June (10 weeks) between 9-10pm

Episode 1 – The 1920s: Beginnings… 

Episode 2 – The 1930s: Superstars take the UK by storm… (features George Eggay as ‘Loui s Armstrong’)

Episode 3 – The 1940s: Surviving and thriving… 

Episode 4 – The 1950s: Heyday and heading in different directions…

Episode 5 – The 1960s: a new era…

Episode 6 – The 1970s: An international stage…

Episode 7 – The 1980s: Revolution and re-invigoration…

Episode 8 – The 1990s: Struggling but striving…

Episode 9 – The 2000s: A New Century a fresh outlook…

Episode 10 – The 2010s: The future…

Presenter: Clive Myrie

Producers: Ashley Byrne and Iain Mackness

Contributors include:  Independent researcher in African American music Howard Rye, Jazz musician Digby Fairweather, Musical collector and historian Dr Rainer Lotz, Professor Catherine Tackley, Jazz Trumpeter Claude Deppa, Drummer and percussionist Nick Ball, Historian Dr James Nott, Jazz writer Duncan Heining, Jazz musician Adrian Cox, writer and historian Stephen Bourne, Granddaughter of SSO vocalist Frank Bates Juliet Jones, Professor of radio and popular music studies at Birmingham City University Tim Wall, Popular Music Studies Lecturer Mike Brocken, The Cavern Club’s John Higham, Jazz Journal editor Mark Gilbert, writer Kevin Le Gendre, author of An Unholy Row Dave Gelly, jazz writer and photographer Val Wilmer.

Plus musicians: Courtney Pine, Penny Ham, YolanDa Brown, Ray Carless, Paul Jones, Clare Teal, Tina May, Alan Barnes, Simon Spillett, Duncan Galloway, Stephano D’Silva, Sarathy Korwar, Dave Green, Mally Baxter, Ray Wordsworth, Ray McVay, Paul Foad, Mike Pointon, Keith Ball (vocalist and son of Kenny Ball) and many more

For Jazz FM, Executive Producers: Nick Pitts and Christian Bragg

The Definitive History of Jazz in Britain is an MIM Production for Jazz FM supported by the Audio Content Fund


– ENDS –


For further press information, please contact:

Cat Martin – Bauer Media Communications Director (Radio)

M: 07932 746 363

Amelia O’Shea – Bauer Media Communications Manager (Radio)

M: 07718 489342

About Jazz FM:

Jazz FM is the largest commercial jazz station in the world, celebrating the complete spectrum of Jazz in all its colourful forms since 1990.  Jazz FM broadcasters, producers and team are true devotees, with a deep love and understanding of their particular Jazz shade, their passion is vivid, their enthusiasm infectious, sharing the finest jazz with everyone.

As the UK’s only dedicated Jazz broadcaster, Jazz FM is on a mission to entertain, promote and celebrate all that’s great about Jazz. Involvement with national festivals and awards is part of this – setting the bar high for live performance, recognising outstanding talent and strengthening the Jazz community.

No matter how people tune-in they always listen in colour.

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