When Ed started the Billy Webzine, visitors were invited to respond to some of the musician's polemics.

Richard Russell offered his observations too.

"Jazz 606 on BBC 2 many years ago now, was magnificently popular with the non jazz listener and magnificently unpopular with the jazz purist," wrote Craig Duncan, producer of the forthcoming BJ documentary, in an e-mail to the BJ Webzine last year. "How," he asked, "can we make a show that will please everyone? And does Jazz transpose well on TV?"

 "I side with the misery bastards who felt 666 trivialised the genre," wrote BJ.
"It was completely spontaneous and everyone genuinely had a ball," said Craig.

Including LAZZARINI, whose recollections are first, below.

"Best jazz on TV?"

 Farkin yonks ago.
I woz a sprout
Someone had made a space available somewhere and invited some top-flight geezers and there they all were sitting around with their instruments. The Basie band, Bill and his boys, some other luminaries, I remember Lambert Hendricks and Ross, don't remember all the names but - like I said - I was naught but a sprocketling.

 Everyone was loose - jackets off, hats on, bottles out.
And they just played.
No audience that I remember - just like a rehearsal.
Everyone played and had fun and the cameras just cruised around and in and out. It worked.

 Anyone else remember?
Had the same iconic document status as "Jazz On A Summer's Day"
- no narration or explanation - just proper players doing wot they do properly.
Not staged.


BJ prosecution:-

 For some reason I side with the misery bastards who felt 666 trivialised the genre. Interludes like the poetry and The Bohemian married '60's expressionism with 'the Word' type 'yoof tv' format. Both positive styles cancelled each other out. To present such a bastard marriage on BBC2 was the final mis-match.

 I see before me (I am Mystic Smeg) - a concert hall. But then only players upon it busting  veins and passion pouring all over the stage. I don't see pompous self righteous competent curators (of which the scene is riddled). I see close ups of sweat, finger's whirring, furrowed brows. The agony, the ecstacy. Well - that's 1' 30" sorted.... Your earlier musings of filming in several regional clubs is sound. But beware the false presentation. The false mug shot of the embarrassed 'pretending to be cool' punter. The height of absurdity -close up of bird stuffing her face during Julian Joseph being 'seriously sensitive.' It was a basement room wiv people eating - that ain't 'art' - that's the food industry. For example - the finale of 666 with Sumara, chairs pushed back. Come on, Andy - you was not thinking. It came across like an outtake from some spazzy '60's hippy movie. How we laughed. It was staged. Artificial. Untruthful. Jazz should be truthful. It was truthfully shite.

   The other problem, apart from image, is sound. Those sound techs trained at the BBC are specialists in broadcast sound. We know why popular music has developed stylistically - it's to placate broadcast frequencies. The double bass (which you could very roughly say is the difference twixt pop and jazz) has an empherial sound. Not at all liked by broadcast engineers. It is rare that the correct tonality twixt ride cymbal (for pop read closed hi-hat) and double bass is captured on tv - let alone radio. Jazz does not take kindly to compression. With digital broadcasting, I'm hoping this problem will disappear.


Craig Duncan - defence:-

 I've just realised that I have let all that stuff you wrote go - without so much as attempting to stick up for Jazz 606. I agree about the Samara thing it was a bit embarrassing - but it was actually completely spontaneous and everyone genuinely had a ball. I suspect you were watching it with a few jazz smug something's in order to laugh so bitterly at what is NOT music but entertainment. Jazz 606 was split between good music and lots of entertainment (not MY entertainment by the way - we were making a programme for the many, not the few).

The money that supports these gigs is from the wallets or restaurateurs. Even the Vortex charge an arm and a leg for a la-de-da spot of grub. People munch their way through your solos only to spurt out pasta when its their cue to clap. You can't bite the hand that feeds you. I have often made my grievances plain to you when I have come to see you play and no-one seems interested (certain Soho eatery springs to mind) in anything but their pizzas it seems to me.

When we tried to find a realistic place where music like this is played We were always directed to restaurants. So although you say Jazz 606 was not truthful and not art but reflective of the food industry - it was to the food industry that we had to find bands like yours.

Both me and Andy worked damn hard to make as good a programme as we could. We were up against a lot of snobbery, shitty attitudes and elitism (not to mention bitching) from Jazz fans - and as two dedicated programme makers with a fondness for music - I'd wouldn't be surprised if we didn't touch that sort of thing with a barge pole again. You'll all have to make do with Jools Holland and sycophantic shite like that.

Jazz does not get the airing on TV it's art deserves probably because the stereotype of Jazz is actually frighteningly accurate. If you want a series of jazz greats to appear together on the telly you have to wait until their dead, their management have cleared the peculiar copyright sub-paras and most people have heard of them but never heard a note they've played.

The 'alleged' people saying 'nice' are the ones refusing to appear on the same stage as Nitin Sawney or Orquestra Mahatma.

Anyway - you know I love you and I love the tunes - but a line or two about what was good about 606 would not be undeserved or I'll have to get out my fisticuffs and picket your front door. "No salesmen or pickets".

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