Belfast Telegraph

Jazz on local BBC 'pie in the sky'

A former BBC radio presenter has criticised his former employers for paying scant attention to the local jazz scene.

Encountering any jazz within local television programming is highly unlikely, Brian Dempster said. The writer and former presenter of the Big Band Club on Radio Ulster publishes his new book, Tracking Jazz - The Ulster Way, on February 23.

"The prospect of coming across any genre of jazz within locally scheduled television programming is pie in the sky," he said.

"An interested viewer is more likely to find satisfaction by watching out for Clint Eastwood movies or paying close attention to background music during the TV adverts."

His book will be launched at the La Mon House hotel in Comber, Co Down. It coincides with an evening celebrating the life of local blues and jazz singer Ottilie Patterson, who met and fell in love with music legend Chris Barber as a teenager, married him, and joined his band, touring extensively in the 1950s and 1960s. She died last year.

"This is a celebration of the life and jazz and blues by Patterson," he said.

He added that since the end of the George Hewardine and Alan Tongue reigns in the 1980s, UTV and the BBC had produced little of significant importance to Northern Ireland jazz and its followers.

A BBC spokesman said: "BBC Northern Ireland is committed to providing coverage of a wide range of local music which reflects the diverse tastes of our audiences.

"Jazz, along with many other styles of music, are represented through television programmes such as Out Of The Blue and our coverage of events such as The Belfast Festival at Queen's.

"Across our output, we cover many local music festivals, including City Of Derry Jazz Festival, and broadcast the weekly specialist music programmes Jazz Club and After Midnight With Linley Hamilton on BBC Radio Ulster."

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