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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE INNER EAR (article first published : 2001-02-18)

What’s the connection between Peter Sellers and British jazz – find out in SAfm’s documentary series The Inner Ear broadcast on February 21 just after the eight o’clock news and again on February 25 at 09h30.

In the pre-Beatles 50’s, British Jazz was often confused with pop. British Trad jazz, a corruption of Dixieland, was in itself a corruption of the music of New Orleans, where jazz began. But, amidst the Helen Shapiros and the skiffle, there was some truly fine “Trad Jazz” including that of Chris Barber, the fanatical purist Ken Colyer and clarinettist. Sandy Brown.

The new breed of British jazz musician is typified by saxophonists Courtney Pine and Andy Sheppard. They can be heard in British Jazz – It ain’t wot it used to be presented by Nigel Vermaas, who interviewed both artists, as well as speaking to veteran drummer David Mills. Music featured in this documentary include that of Sandy Brown, Acker Bilk, Humphrey Lyttelton, Cleo Laine, Ted Heath, and, of course, Pine and Sheppard.

Says Nigel Vermaas: “Since the freer intermingling of American and British artists, jazz in Britain has really taken off. Another interesting aspect is the influence of South African musicians such as Bheki Mseleku, Dudu Pukwana and Louis Moholo.”




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