BBC Four jazz weekend, 17th to 19th February
Set the video. Cancel all appointments. Take the phone off the hook. It’s the BBC Four Jazz Weekend this weekend.
It starts on Friday 17th, when a double feature on the mighty Sonny Rollins launches us into four whole hours of televised jazz.
9pm. Sonny Rollins: Beyond the Notes. Documentary about Sonny Rollins, featuring footage from his 80th birthday concert, which included guest appearances by Jim Hall and Ornette Coleman among others.
10pm. Sonny Rollins ’74: Rescued. Rediscovered film of a 1974 Sonny Rollins gig at Ronnie Scott’s, with a band which included Rufus Harley on soprano saxophone and bagpipes.
11pm. Ronnie Scott and All That Jazz. Documentary about the history of Ronnie Scott’s Club in London, with “rare archive footage of some of the club’s historic performances by Zoot Sims, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald“.
12 midnight. 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz. Repeated study of four albums released in 1959: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus’s Ah Um, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come.
There’s less on on Saturday 18th, but at 10.45pm there’s a repeat of the fascinating film The Jazz Baroness, about Pannonica de Koenigswarter (Nica for short), friend and muse to many of the great jazz figures of the 1950s, particularly Thelonious Monk. Monk, Horace Silver, Sonny Clark and Kenny Dorham were just a few of the people inspired to dedicate tunes to her.
Then it’s another full night on Sunday.
7pm. Sir John Dankworth at the BBC. Archive footage of Dankworth in a variety of settings, including an appearance with Duke Ellington.
8pm. Jazz Piano Gold. BBC recordings of, among others, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Stan Tracey and Oscar Peterson.
9pm. Barbara Thompson: Playing Against Time. Feature-length documentary about saxophonist and composer Barbara Thompson, which looks at her career and her struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.
10.15pm. Barbara Thompson in Concert. Footage from 1979 and 2005 of Thompson’s band Paraphenalia. (Malcolm Macfarlane was a member for a while – wonder if he’s on the film?).
Malcolm Macfarlane-era Paraphenalia:
An old Count Basie riff will never let you down!