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14 December 2021

Sir Michael Parkinson and Norah Jones lead Jazz FM’s Festive schedule

Sir Michael makes a welcome return, plus Grammy winner Norah Jones and actor Danny John Jules present special programmes

The station celebrates Jazz FM Awards Lifetime Achievement Award winner Tony Bennett with a Lost Tapes Special

A New Orleans New Year sees NOLA legend Kermit Ruffins making his presentation debut

The UK’s only jazz, soul and blues radio station have announced their Christmas and New Year schedule today.

Not only will it present festive versions of regular programmes and reviews of 2021’s creative jazz music scene, but it will also see a series of guest hosted shows and features to provide a festival audio tipple.

On Christmas Day itself, Sir Michael Parkinson makes a return to Jazz FM following his series earlier in the year.  “Parky – My Kind of Jazz at Christmas” will give him the opportunity to play his favourite Great American Songbook Christmas favourites and will also feature some timely performances from the Parkinson TV archive.

There will also be special programmes on Christmas Day from singer Norah Jones and YolanDa Brown, plus the star of Boxing Day’s festive Death In Paradise BBC 1 special – Danny John Jules – joins Jazz FM to present his first show on the station.  Later in the evening musician and broadcaster Clare Teal will take the baton from Sir Michael with a big band and swing Christmas night special.

On Boxing Day, there’s a two hour Lost Tapes special on Tony Bennett, the Lifetime Achievement Award winner at this year’s Jazz FM Awards that will feature unheard interview material courtesy of the National Jazz Archive, plus following the last episode of Jazz FM’s first ever comedy series there will be a “Cabinet of Jazz Special – the Presidential Inauguration Concert” with comedian Marcus Brigstocke that will feature the live performances recorded over the series by the show’s guests such as Claire Martin, Jay Rayner and Clarke Peters

For New Year’s Eve, the station will broadcast a New Orleans themed party featuring US jazz musician Kermit Ruffins alongside the stations own NOLA specialist DJ Lil’Koko

There will also be a chance for listeners to catch up on some of the ground-breaking and seminal moments from the last 12 months.  There’s a chance to hear Jazz FM’s first drama – Space is The Place – take to the air again, along with the highlights from this years’ Music That Made Me series.  Sir Michael Parkinson appears again giving the listeners a chance to hear his first series of Parky – My Kind of Jazz if they missed it first time.

Finally, there will be a chance to hear the Jazz FM Awards 2021 in full alongside the backstage content collected over the night.


Sir Michael Parkinson

“Some of the best Christmas songs ever were written in Hollywood where it never snows nor are there any Reindeer.  Don’t believe me? Well then tune in to a special Christmas version of ‘Parky: My Kind of Jazz’ on Jazz FM and I’ll prove it to you.”

Norah Jones

“Jazz FM is an institution so I’m really excited and looking forward to spending Christmas Day afternoon with the Jazz FM listeners to relax them into the afternoon with some of the greatest Christmas songs ever recorded alongside a few from my new Christmas album also.” 

Danny John Jules

So anyway. There I am at the Jazz FM Awards 2021 and it got me thinking, “What music would I play on the radio?” Well now the mad fools have shot themselves in the foot and given me a slot between 5-7 on Christmas Day! I’d better get my festive swing-groove-funky strides on and manicure My seriously happy ‘Jazz (Cat) Hands’. 

Nick Pitts, Content Director, Jazz FM

“2021 has been a tremendous year for Jazz FM with so many ground-breaking programmes broadcast and new voices having time on the air, and we thought it would be good to give our loyal listeners the chance to hear some of those again but also create new versions specially created for the festive season alongside some fresh programmes. 

The names you see above, all agreeing to spend their Christmas’ with us and the audience, are the best in the business, and alongside our regular presenters, Christmas on Jazz FM has never sounded so special.  The stars really are coming out for a Jazz FM Christmas this year.”

Jazz FM’s festive on air line up

Week Commencing Monday 20th December

Schedule as usual except…

Christmas Eve: Friday 24th December

6pm – Sarah Ward’s Christmas Collection – Stalwart broadcaster Sarah Ward kicks off the Christmas weekend and break with her traditional selection of beautiful festive music from right around the world

Christmas Day: Saturday 25th December

6am – Jazz FM Christmas Breakfast – weekday breakfast show host Nigel Williams broadcasts live on Christmas morning with music to welcome you into the day

10am – YolanDa Brown on Christmas Day – Jazz FM’s Saturday afternoon presenter and CBeebies favourite YolanDa provides Christmas cheer and music.

1pm – Jamie Crick’s Christmas Request – we hand the radio station over to the listeners and stars of the music to choose the songs for two hours

3pm – Norah Jones.  The multiple award-winning vocalist joins Jazz FM for a special relaxing afternoon of music.

5pm – Danny John Jules.  Actor, comedian and Jazz fan Danny joins Jazz FM to play his favourite jazz, soul and blues ahead of his return to BBC1 smash TV show ‘Death In Paradise’ on Boxing Day.

7pm – Parky – My Kind of Jazz at Christmas with Sir Michael Parkinson.  The broadcasting legend returns to Jazz FM with a selection of his favourite Christmas songs from the Great American Songbook.

8pm – The Clare Teal Christmas Show – more classic Christmas themed jazz, big band and swing with the broadcaster and musician.

Boxing Day Sunday 26th December

7pm – A Lost Tapes special – Tony Bennett.  Helen Mayhew hosts a special profile of this year’s Jazz FM Awards Lifetime Achievement Award recipient via a series of never before heard tapes from The National Jazz Archive will give a rare glimpse into Tony’s world through interviews recorded by journalist Les Tomkins in 1966 and 1972.

9pm – The Cabinet of Jazz Presents… The Presidential Inauguration Concert.  As Jazz FM’s first ever comedy series finishes, this special episode hosted by Marcus Brigstocke pulls together all of the live performances recorded over the series by the guests who played the role of Acting President.  Features Jay Rayner, Claire Martin, Clarke Peters, Dennis Bovell, Gary Crosby and Isy Suttie

Week Commencing Monday 27th December

Schedule as usual except…

All week Monday to Friday

1300-1400 – The Class of 2021.  Jazz FM plays the music that the station has made famous throughout the last 12 months, with special guests including….

2300-000 – Jazz FM Voices Party.  Throughout 2021 – the central point of Jazz FM Voices has been ‘community’. So, we’re continuing that with our End of Year Party that’s spread across the week and into New Year’s Day.  We’re headed to London, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Liverpool having commissioned local DJs to host an hour on Jazz FM that represents the sound of their city. (detail below)

Monday 27th December

6pm – Parky, My kind of Jazz (rpt). Sir Michael Parkinson plays the music in a selected repeat from his 2021 series.  In this episode Buddy Rich performs

9pm – Space Is The Place (rpt).  A chance to hear again the ground-breaking drama series from 2020 back to back and in one go.  Featuring the dramatized life stories of the original legends of jazz – Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sun Ra

11pm – Jazz FM Voices Party: Manchester with Pablo Blanquito. Manchester based DJ, curator and event producer Pablo Blanquito presents an hour of music with a dancers mentality.

Tuesday 28th December

6pm – Parky, My kind of Jazz (rpt). Sir Michael Parkinson plays the music in a selected repeat from his 2021 series.  In this episode we hear from Duke Ellington

9pm – The Lost Tapes.  Earlier in 2021, Helen Mayhew presented never-before tapes from Oscar Peterson and Art Blakey (thanks to the National Jazz Archive) plus Stan Getz (thanks to the Getz family).  Tonight is a chance to hear the highlights from those four stunning interviews.

11pm – Jazz FM Voices Party: Bristol with Worm Disco Club. The Bristol collective Worm Disco Club showcase an hour of groovy, funky, Afro-tropical tunes with a heavy dose of disco.

Wednesday 29th December

6pm – Parky, My kind of Jazz (rpt). Sir Michael Parkinson plays the music in a selected repeat from his 2021 series.  In this episode we have a performance from Stephane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin

9pm – Music That Made Me 2021Nigel Williams presents the highlights from this year’s series of in-depth conversations with Pat Metheny, Dianne Reeves, Candi Station, Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride and Nile Rodgers.

11pm – Jazz FM Voices Party: Liverpool with Dharma Collective.  Liverpool based duo Dharma Collective bring the heat with global sounds that are dance floor ready.

Thursday 30th December

6pm – Parky, My kind of Jazz (rpt). Sir Michael Parkinson plays the music in a selected repeat from his 2021 series.  In this episode we hear about Jonny Mercer with an excerpt from the TV Show

9pm – The Jazz FM Awards.  A special presentation of October’s full ceremony and performances along with the backstage interviews with the winners.  Featuring Courtney Pine, Ego Ella May, Jas Kayser, Emma Jean Thackray and many more.

11pm – Jazz FM Voices Party: London with Emily Dust.  No stranger to the club scene – Emily Dust brings a London night out to Jazz FM with funk, soul, and global melodic gems.

New Year’s Eve Friday 31st December

7pm – 1am – A New Orleans New Year.  A 6-hour commercial free party playing nothing but the music from the birthplace of jazz that knows how to party – New Orleans, including…

 7pm – DJ Lil Koko – Presenter of Jazz FM’s Big Easy presents the first two hours of the party

9pm – Kermit Ruffins –  The US jazz trumpeter, singer, composer, and actor from New Orleans continues the party, direct from his home stateside

Saturday 1st  January

9pm – Jazz FM Voices Party: Leeds with NikNak.  Leeds based turntablist and music creative NikNak presents an uplifting mix of jazz that’ll get you grooving as we welcome 2022.

Sunday 2nd  January

9pm – Aretha Franklin: The Real RESPECT – Nigel Williams explores real life events compared to the scenes of 2021’s Aretha Franklin biopic. Soul Music Historian and personal friend of Aretha, David Nathan separates fact from fiction and delves into the archives to reveal a whole chapter of her life that was missed out in the screenplay.  The programme also features Jennifer Hudson on her lead role in the film.

Bank Holiday Monday 3rd January

6pm – Helen Mayhew.  Helen brings the festival season to a close with a perfect selection of classic and contemporary jazz to either relax you or get your foot tapping.


– ENDS – 


For further press information, please contact:

Amelia O’Shea – Head of Communications, Bauer Media Audio UK  
E: M: 07718 489342  

Cat Martin – Communications Director, Bauer Media Audio  
E: M: 07932 746 363  

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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