Preview: Keith Loxam's Farewell Jazz-Line-Up - Transmission Sun 30th June

Keith Loxam at the Scottish Jazz Awards 2011
Photo credit: Louis de Carlo

Keith Loxam writes about his thirteen years producing Jazz Line-Up, and looks forward to his last show:

Thirteen turned out to be lucky number. I was invited to be interviewed at BBC Scotland for a new Jazz Programme to air on Radio 3 from April 2000. At that time I was still living in Oxfordshire. So on the morning in question, I booked an 8am rail ticket to Glasgow to the “formal interview" at 2pm. Incidentally the subway train that took me from Glasgow Buchanan Street to Hill Head was Train 13.

As with all job interviews you remember very little but I do recall being asked “ how you find this programme integrating into Jazz Scene”. My reply was to activity be involved with festivals, make unique studio recordings, instigate our own public concerts and give mainly British jazz the reflection and platform it deserves on the Radio.

Just 4 hours later I was hurtling down the tracks back to Euston and a mobile phone call came in from BBC Scotland offering me the job, 13 years later I made the hardest decision of my life to offer myself to leave the BBC as part of the reduction of positions across the corporation.

I did not create Jazz Line-Up. That was the job of senior producer Lindsay Pell; my first show was programme 3. Claire Martin alternated with Stacey Kent and even now there have only been four full time presenters. Helen Mayhew followed Stacey and then Julian Joseph. Kevin Le Gendre is our first dep call, yet he is a regular for features and interviews. The first session was Jim Mullen and his “Burns” project recorded at the BBC Maida Vale studios.

I am sure the Jazz on 3 programme will confirm it’s the best job in the world to call a musician and offer a recording gig or concert. I remember as a young lad going to Maida Vale to see Jazz club being recorded and on many occasions found it full. I am proud to say that I kept that tradition alive in Line-Up with many audience shows at Maida Vale and you were lucky to get a ticket.

Working in the UK jazz scene is so exhilarating we are all on the same track, bizarre hours crazy lifestyle unbelievable music. I particularly salute the smaller festivals who are 100% committed to UK Jazz and to the musicians themselves. My visits to Southport Winters Weekend, Scarborough , Wavendon to name just three three, The courageous Bill Kyle in Edinburgh who stages jazz seven  nights a week gives the younger players a platform and even supports a big band, no wonder we was nominated for the Services To Jazz Award at the 2012 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. The enterprising Steve Rubie at the 606 is an inspiration to us all and Ross Dines at Pizza Express was a joy to work with when recording some of his sets, the list goes on and on.

I am sad to leave this amazing, stimulating vibrant and constantly evolving scene, and am sure that Muslim Alim and Sushil Dade continue to support you. I will be there, yet in the audience and I might even buy a CD!

Keith Loxam's farewell production of Jazz-Line-Up will be a recording the BBC Big Band directed by Julian Arguelles at Glasgow’s City Halls, on Saturday 22nd June. Transmission date is Sunday 30th June at the usual time of 11pm. Claire Martin will be presenting. Well-wishers can either add a comment, or send us an e-mail which we will be happy to forward.

2 comments:

  1. Al Ryan (former producer of Jazz Alley/Sunday with Gay Byrne and Jazz After Hours on RTE lyric fm, Ireland) writes by email:

    "Raising a glass to the great Keith Loxam, a true gentleman of jazz and broadcasting. There are very few back room boys left like Keith in the world of radio now. He belongs to that small percentage of individuals who were born to not only make great radio but to also produce a great working atmosphere with all involved.

    He has that unique gift of making presenters, performers and colleagues feel completely at ease. I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with Loxy down through the years and its always been a joy whether sitting at an EBU Jazz Producers forum, being at a recording session in the old BBC radio Scotland studios on Queen Margaret Drive, hunting down Organs in Cologne or getting soaked at the Cork Jazz Festival! It's been tops!

    So here's to lucky 13, your very own Bakers Dozen in fact! (What a great name for a jazz group!) we all look forward to seeing and hearing the Keith Loxam Hammond B3 collective coming to a town near you soon. Wishing you the happiest of times! Al X

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  2. Jazz Lineup has been consistently excellent for the entire time of Keith Loxam's production. Thank You for such wonderful stuff! I hope this doesn't mean the the BBC is cutting back its jazz, which we all cling to with such affection. Living in Berwick upon Tweed, not a jazz town, I am lucky to have Bill Kyle not too far away, but the BBC jazz is just as necessary for us afficionadoes!
    Enjoy whatever you do next, Keith! x

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