Jazz has shed its chin-stroking, snobbish reputation in recent years. With the rapper Kendrick Lamar enlisting trumpeter Terrace Martin to produce his No 1-charting 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly, and homegrown nights such as London’s Jazz Re:Freshed and Steam Down enticing younger audiences, now is the perfect time to discover the genre and delve into some of its finest podcasts.
For the anoraks among you, the niche but encyclopaedically detailed Jazz Beat on NPR is the best place to go for an all-round grounding in the greats of jazz. Hosted by broadcast veteran Tom Reney, the podcast series distils his three decades of experience into episodes covering the likes of legendary drummer Max Roach and New Orleans blues pioneer Fats Domino. NPR has also archived its excellent documentary series Jazz Profiles, including rare interview recordings with the famously reticent pianist Bill Evans.
If the jazz tradition seems too stuffy to get into first, there is the newly launched Supreme Standards podcast instead. Hosted by DJ Tina Edwards, this weekly pod dissects the latest developments in the UK’s jazz scene, with episode one featuring an interview with jazz-influenced poet and songwriter Sampa the Great.
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[This piece was published on 2/11/18]