Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bernd Hoffmann on jazz radio

Bernd Hoffmann, who is speaking at our Vortex Jazz Research seminar tomorrow, has written a great paper on jazz on German radio. It is from  in Graz
2010 Jazzresearch News Number 36 (Pages 1719 - 1728)

Bernd Hoffmann, Cologne / Germany

Radiophone Jazz Sceneries:
Jazz in Broadcasting and on Stage

Apparently it is a caprice of history: radio and jazz are the sounding companions of a whole century. Already during the first decades the new mass medium broadcasts the swinging music from the New World. On American ground the encounter of different music cultures from Europe and Africa develops into a genre, which finds the ideal partner and agent in the quickly growing broadcasting sector. Reports and the transmission of concerts are first steps of this symbiosis. Jazz, which is primarily perceived to be music of acoustic character, presents itself as entertaining dance music, later on followed by advanced concepts. Next to sound carriers like gramophone records and compact disks, especially radio is a presentation platform for improvised music at the beginning of the 2010s. New stylistics are created and commented upon, trends are described and regional scenes and the change they undergo are documented. On radio we get to meet whole generations of jazz musicians, American jazz with its historic sounds, current European approaches of improvised music in their “national” dialects.

The multilayered image of jazz distinguishes the facets of its presentation in public broadcasting, in programs about historical styles or current concerts featuring improvised music, recordings of musicians of a certain regional scene, concerts featuring international groups, and festivals that are arranged by the respective regional public broadcasting agencies. If radio transmission, music productions or the politico-cultural positioning: the plentifulness of tasks emphasizes a complex editorial system within the German Broadcasting Association (ARD), Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur, which emerged already during the postwar period and which have historically grown due to the network-like structures within different jazz scenes in Germany. The current state of jazz music is closely related to the positioning of public broadcasting agencies towards this genre, the jazz editorial offices of the ARD are the primary pillars of German jazz life, on a regional as well as on a national level. Due to their continual support, a close cooperation between them and musicians, festivals, and venues becomes possible. The federal system of the regional public broadcasting agencies supports the widely spread activities in the German jazz regions and fosters the informal exchange of information about artists and bands within the network of engaged jazz editorial offices, also in those states that are further off city regions.

The draft paper “On the Situation of Jazz and current Improvised Music in Germany” by the Bundeskonferenz Jazz presented to the German Bundestag in February of 2007, evaluates the work of the ARD jazz editorial offices in detail:

Especially the role of the regional public broadcasting agencies needs to be emphasized, which play an important role for the production and the reception of jazz. Nine regional broadcasting agencies of the ARD (Bayerischer Rundfunk, Hessischer Rundfunk, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Radio Bremen, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Südwest Rundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk) as well as Deutschlandfunk and DeutschlandRadio Kultur have jazz editorial offices, whose programs hold regular slots for jazz shows. The ARD (plus DKultur and DLF) broadcasts about 33 hours of jazz a month and thereby is the leading mediator for jazz in the medial landscape of the Federal Republic of Germany. Upon this, festivals, sponsorship awards (e.g. WDR Jazzpreis, SWR Jazzpreis) and politico-cultural co-operations (“Gemeinschaft unabhängiger Spielstätten”) were created on basis of initiatives by public broadcasting and also support the regional and national jazz scene. The bigger public broadcasting agencies like WDR, NDR and HR have their own renowned Big Bands who perform on stages and festival nationwide.1

Radio programs bring the different aspects of jazz together: studio productions or concert recordings, interviews or portraits of musicians, music analysis or the stylistic categorization of a festival. The jazz programs of the ARD radio offer an astonishing scope as regards content and when taking a look at the current thirty-six programs with their yearly broadcasting volume of 2.598 hours, a very complex world of music becomes visible. Within a weekly rhythm the nine ARD broadcasting agencies and Deutschlandfunk as well as Deutschlandradio Kultur broadcast several jazz programs in order to offer different radio show formats for the different music styles - from swing to improvised music. Thirteen of those forty-nine programs extend the jazz genre towards a stylistically fanned out Afro-American repertoire definition: As historic companions of jazz, blues and sacred singing have found their own way of expression. With about 1.110 hours of broadcasting time a year, which is almost fifty percent of the daily broadcasting volume (until 8 pm), these styles of music offer a diversified tone color.
The real centerpiece of the editorial work comprises those thirty-six programs2 that coin the jazz profile of the ARD in 2010: Here, all regular formats of shows are outlined that offer about 2.600 hours of jazz to the listener each year. The quantitative distribution of regular jazz shows – with regard to the respective regional broadcasting agency – shows many different ways of management. On the one hand the jazz tradition of certain federal states in West and East Germany plays an important, historically grown role. On the other hand, the specific form of presentation and the content form a distinctive image of the radiophone scenery in Germany.

Already in times of its constitution, the young Federal Republic of Germany is being accompanied by radio broadcasts that satisfy the desire for information, mostly of young jazz fans. With the help of the ninety shows of the “Jazz-Almanach” that was broadcasted by the NWDR Köln between 1948 and 1952 the impulse on a regional scene can be demonstrated well.3 Author of the show, Dietrich Schulz-Köhn, has – just like his “combatants” Joachim Ernst Berendt, Karlheinz Drechsel, Joe Kienemann, Werner Götze, Olaf Hudtwalker or Dieter Zimmerle - braced and manifested the jazz ideal in daily life of both German political systems via public broadcasting. That is because since the beginning of the federal broadcasting system we encounter a close cooperation of the jazz scenes and the regional broadcasting agencies, a cooperation that looks back on sixty years of teamwork and correspondingly filled archives. These historical concerts are a brick within the mosaic of jazz history and current documentation of improvised music by ARD radio.

The different organization of the editorial work is being discussed quite diversely in the German specialized press. At the same time, the factor of broadcasting volume for jazz is being discussed, a factor which is hard to quantify. This is due to the lack of controversy as regards contents about stylistic and questions of personnel. With the works of Schreiner (1968), Fark (1971) and Jost (1988) 4 exists a pretended serious, quantitative denomination which is supposed to provide a basis of argumentation in the discussion about more broadcasting time for jazz. In another paper I have discussed that this study does not serves as a basis for comparison, especially as the East German stations are not included in the data that is being analyzed as a basis for theses studies.5 For the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s Schreiner calculates a volume of about 1.320 hours per year. Frank and Jost see a growth of the Jazz broadcasting volume, which – with all caution – is estimated to be about 1.550 hours. A systematic error in these calculations lies in the selection of the named broadcasting formats and the nonobservance of irregular broadcasted jazz shows. According to today’s data that would after all be a third of the broadcasting volume today. Another fact characterizes the “calculated” decade: Almost all regional broadcasting agencies create their own jazz newsroom and thereby professionalize their work for shows and the concert business, create a solid network through the newly developed program advisory council of the Berliner Jazztage (later Berliner Jazzfest).

The eleven jazz editorial offices of the ARD have systematically registered the regular and irregular jazz programs between 2006 and 2008 in order to provide a solid foundation for a qualitative and quantitative analysis. Further the transmission of the big bands and further activities have been accounted for as well. This comprehensive database documents a broadcasting volume for jazz music of 4.500 hours between 2006 and 2008 via airwaves, cable, and Internet. The prevailing census, which was obtained on basis of the thirty-six radio shows, affirms this volume and thereby the tendency of the extensive study. But through the selection of certain shows the general volume appears to be less.

Calculated were - next to the thirty-six jazz shows - the regular “mixed” formats that primarily used jazz music for their program. This is stylistically mixed concert series but also culture journals that use jazz as their core music. The thirty-six jazz shows therefore hold a volume of 2.598 hours per year; mixed formats have a volume of 1.110 hours. The ARD therefore broadcasts 3.708 hours of jazz in 2010. Shows that occur due to current events are not counted in.

With regard to the timely distribution of jazz shows the program schemes a development hardly acknowledged to this day. The argument that jazz shows are always broadcasted during nighttime when nobody is listening, is confronted with the result of a current count out. Apportioned into three time zones (shows until 8 pm, until midnight, and until 6 am) the primetime of jazz remains between 8 pm and midnight. More than 60 percent of all regular shows take place in that time span, jazz nights account for 17.9 percent. In the afternoons and early evenings 564 hours of jazz music are transmitted, with 21,7 percent there are more afternoon and evening jazz shows than nightly jazz shows.

The differentiation by means of content of the different shows and their regional use becomes apparent though the division of five aspects:

  • Shows that focus on the reporting of concerts and festivals
  • Shows that cover outstanding artists
  • Shows that present concerts and new releases
  • Shows that deal with stylistic comparisons and the jazz-historical classification
  • Shows that give an insight to current developments b presenting short reports

With regard to the analyzed 36 shows and broadcasting series (= 100 %) the graphic on page 6 shows that monothematic shows about styles, rhythmic phenomenon or jazz-historical events take more than 32 percent of the regular jazz radio shows. In contrast we find the extensive concert format (=28,9 %), which documents the liveliness of actual jazz life by live-transmissions but also through historical transmissions like at the Berliner Jazztage.
The propagation of musical contents via the new releases demonstrates the service oriented thought and attitude which had already developed in the 1950s. 16.6 percent of all jazz shows provide this commentary overview and provide information on seldom recordings that are hard to be accessed. With the format of the jazz magazines (=18.8 %) jazz editorial offices of the ARD to develop a different type of radio show; a rather historical variant are the portrait-shows that present important personalities, mostly of historical jazz (=7.7 %).

After taking this look at the quantitative aspect of the broadcasting volume of jazz within the ARD now aspects that rather deal with the content – this is where the true evaluation of the editorial offices sets in:
The term “Jazz sceneries” implicates the existence of different regional scenes that show different dynamics. The strength of a region can be determined by a number of location factors, e.g. the number of venues, festivals, or concert series. More difficult are assessments of the number of musicians or groups who play improvised music; especially hard is the evaluation of their attribution to a certain active scene. Further, institutions like conservatories or radio stations influence and change the image of a region with their own dynamics. As the federal states provide jazz only with insufficient funding, the support of public broadcasting for festivals and concert series has become almost institutional. Due to the linking of local festival activities and editorial work within the ARD, 28 festivals and concerts series could be documented between 2006 and 2008 that show this specific aspect of support: ARD: Jazzfest Berlin; Bayerischer Rundfunk: Internationale Jazzwoche Burghausen; Deutschlandfunk / Nord- deutscher Rundfunk: Jazzbaltica; Deutschlandradio Kultur / Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk: Leipziger Jazztage; Hessischer Rundfunk: Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt; Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk: Bundesweites Jazz Nachwuchsfestival Leipzig, Festival Woman in Jazz Halle, Jazz in der Oper Halle, Jazzmeile Thüringen, Sonnenberger Jazztage, Jazz in der Semperoper Dresden; Nord- deutscher Rundfunk: Hamburger Jazztage, Jazz Open Hamburg; Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg: Jazz Units, Jazz Focus, Jazz in E., Preisträgerkonzert des »Karl-Hofer-Performance-Preises«; Radio Bremen: Jazz ahead; Saarländi- scher Rundfunk: Jazz live with friends, Internationales Jazz Festival St. Ingbert, Jazz Festival St. Wendel; Südwest Rundfunk: Donaueschinger Musik- tage; Westdeutscher Rundfunk: Internationales Jazz Festival Münster, Duisburger Traumzeit-Festival, Moers Festival, Internationales Jazzfestival Viersen, Internationale Jazztage Hilden, Dortmunder Jazztage, WDR 3 Jazz.Cologne.
Further, monthly concert series in the transmission halls like “Bühne frei im Studio 2” in the transmission halls of RBB, RB and WDR, the New Jazz Meeting or the jazz club Quasimodo (DKultur) compliment this regional diversity. Upon this, it is the radio festivals that offer ambitious programs next to the ARD-festival Jazzfest Berlin. With the Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt (HR), the Donaueschinger Musiktagen (SWR), the Leipziger Jazztagen (MDR), the Hamburger Jazztagen (NDR) and WDR 3 Jazz.Cologne, public broadcasting shows an enormous bandwidth of national and international improvisation art.
As festivals on the one hand allow the public presentation of the regional scene, interesting production occurs on the other hand - with jazz musicians behind closed doors. Due to the technical infrastructure of the public broadcasting stations they have the best preconditions for demanding studio productions, that especially support young jazz musicians with their first steps as artists in their own right. This form of support is hardly known although this is especially important, as it is a direct investment into the future of jazz music. The following selections emphasizes the portion of production of all public broadcasting agencies of the ARD: Bayerischer Rundfunk: ICI Ensemble München, »Wisdom Of Pearls«;Alejandro Sachez Nonett + 1, »Schärfe einer Sekunde«; Norbert Gabra, »Tango Jazz Trio«. – Deutschlandfunk: Florian Ross Oktett; Jochen Feucht Quartett; drei Preisträger »Jugend jazzt«. – Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk: Leipziger Big Band, »Kontraste«; David Timm & Reiko Brockelt, »Inner Circle«; Leipziger Big Band mit Allan Vizzutti, »Live In Concert«. – Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg: Efrat Alony, »Unarmed And Dazed«; Maria Baptist, »Music For My Trio«; Ekkehard Wölk, »Reflections On Mozart«. – Saarländischer Rundfunk: Hel- mut Eisel & Band, »Klezmer At The Cotton Club«; Zabriskie Point, »Weepsleepdream«. – Südwest Rundfunk: Alexander von Schlippenbach, »Twelve Tone Tales« Vol 1 und Vol 2 (Intakt). – Westdeutscher Rundfunk: Vince Mendoza, »Blauklang«; Markus Stockhausen, »Synopsis«; Ekkehard Jost Ensemble, »Cantos de libertad«.
The politico-cultural positioning of the ARD jazz newsrooms holds a wide spectrum of activities: The Jazzpreis of the Mitteldeutschen Rundfunks (MDR), SüdwestRundfunks (SWR) or the Westdeutschen Rundfunks (WDR) help to attract national interest to regional jazz scenes. Further the sustainability of politico-cultural oriented broadcasting series (WDR: „Jazz Cities in NRW“) should not be underestimated. The national Federal Meeting „Jugend Jazzt“ is controlled by the DLF analogous to the national character of this competition. With the hr-big band (Hessischer Rundfunk), the NDR Big Band (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), the WDR Big Band and the SWR Big Band the ARD supports orchestras of international caliber that have proven in many productions that they are ensembles that are amongst the best in the world.
1 Bundeskonferenz Jazz, »Zur Situation des Jazz und der aktuellen improvisierten Musik in Deutschland. Eckpunktepapier«. Presented by the Bundeskonferenz Jazz in February of 2007, on: http:/ Access: May 3, 2008
2 Die Jazz-Sendereihen der ARD im Jahre 2010 sind:
Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR)
01) »Radio Jazznacht« [BR 2] So, 0:05–2:00 Uhr
02) »Jazztime« [BR Klassik] Mo–Fr, 23:05–0:00 Uhr
Hessischer Rundfunk (HR)
03) »hr2 Jazz Now« [hr2] Mo/Do 19:30–19:55 Uhr
04) »hr2 Jazzgroove« [hr2] Di, 19:30–19:55 Uhr
05) »hr2 Jazzfacts« [hr2] Mi, 19:30–19:55 Uhr
06) »hr2 Swingtime mit Bill Ramsey« [hr2] Fr, 19:30–19:55 Uhr
07) »hr2 Die hr-Bigband« [hr2] Sa,19:05–19:55 Uhr
08) »hr2 Live Jazz« [hr2] So, 19:05–19:55 Uhr
Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR)
09) »Jazz Lounge« [MDR Figaro] Mo–Sa, 19:30–20:00 Uhr
10) »Jazz« [MDR Figaro] Do, 21:00–22:00 Uhr
11) »Jazz in Concert« [MDR Figaro] 1 x mtl, Mo, 20:05–22:00 Uhr
Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)
12) »Jazz vom Feinsten« [NDR 1Radio MV] Di, 21:05–22:00 Uhr
13) »Play Jazz« [NDR Info] Mo–Do, 22:05–23:00 Uhr
14) »Jazz Special« [NDR Info] Fr, 22:05–23:00 Uhr
15) »Jazz Klassiker« [NDR Info] Sa, 20:15–21:00 Uhr
16) »Jazz Konzert« [NDR Info] Sa, 22:05–23:00 Uhr
17) »JAZZ NDR Big Band« [NDR Info] So, 22:05–23:00 Uhr
18) »NDR Info Jazz Nacht« [NDR Info] 5 x jährl., 22:05–6:00 Uhr
Radio Bremen (RB)
19) »Jazz nach 10« [Nordwestradio] Mi, 22:05–23:00 Uhr
20) »Hot Jazz« [Nordwestradio] Sa, 23:05–0:00 Uhr
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB)
21) »Late Night Jazz« [Kulturradio] Sa, 23:04–0:00 Uhr
22) »Jazz Berlin« [Kulturradio] 1x monatl., Fr, 22:04–0:00 Uhr
Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR)
23) »Jazz live with friends« [SR 2 Kulturradio] 6 x jährl., Mi, 20:04–23:30 Uhr
24) »JazzNow, mit Jazz ABC« [SR 2 Kulturradio] So, 18:30–20:00 Uhr
Südwest Rundfunk (SWR)
25) »SWR2 Jazztime« [SWR2] Mo, 15:05–16:00 Uhr
26) »SWR2 Jazz Session« [SWR2] Di, 21:03–22:00 Uhr
27) »SWR2 NOW Jazz« [SWR2] Do/Fr, 23:03–24:00 Uhr
28) »SWR2 Jazz nach dem Hörspiel« [SWR2] So, 19:00–20:00 Uhr
29) »SWR2 Jazz vor Sechs« [SWR2] Mo–Fr, 17:50–18:00 Uhr
Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
30) »WDR 3 Jazz« [WDR 3] Mo–Sa, 22:00–23:00 Uhr
31) »WDR 3 Jazznacht« [WDR 3] 10 x jährl., So, 00:05–6:00 Uhr 4 x jährl., Sa/So, 20.05–6:00 Uhr
32) »WDR 3 Konzert Jazz« [WDR 3] 1x wöchentl., 20:05–22:30 Uhr
Deutschlandfunk (DLF)
33) »Jazz live« [Deutschlandfunk] Mo, 21:05–22:00 Uhr
34) »JazzFacts« [Deutschlandfunk] Fr, 22:05–22:50 Uhr
35) »Jazz zur Nacht« [Deutschlandfunk] Mo/Di, 1:05–2:00 Uhr
DeutschlandradioKultur (DKultur)
36) »Tonart« [Deutschlandradio Kultur] Di, 2:05–5:00 Uhr
3 Bernd Hoffmann, »›Spiegel unserer unruhigen Zeit‹: Der Jazz-Almanach. Anmerkungen zur Rundfunk-Sendereihe des NWDR Köln (1948–1952)«. Jazzforschung / Jazz Research 40 (2008), S. 175–239.
4 See: Reinhard Fark, Die mißachtete Botschaft: Publizistische Aspekte des Jazz im soziokulturellen Wandel. Berlin: Spiess, 1971. – Ekkehard Jost, »Jazz ... und der Rundfunk«. Jazzpodium 4 (April 1988), S. 8–13. – Klaus Schreiner, »Jazz im Funk«. Claus Schreiner (Hg.), Jazz Aktuell. Mainz: B. Schott’s Söhne, 1968, S. 220–225.
Hierzu die Berechung von Fark: BR: 11,30 Stunden, HR: 11,40 Stunden, NDR: 23 Stunden, RB: 22 Stunden, SDR: 14,30 Stunden, SWF: 16 Stunden, WDR: 10,30 Stunden (Schreiner 1968: 222f.).
5 Bernd Hoffmann, »Regionale Struktur – nationale Perspektive. Die Rolle des öffentlich- rechtlichen Rundfunks in den deutschen Jazzlandschaften«. Jazzforschung / Jazz Research 40 (2008), S. 135–149.

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