The past and the future of jazz celebrated in Birmingham

The Eastside Jazz Club (artist's impression)

Projects include a research project into 1960’s jazz broadcasting and a new big band

A golden era of music television is set to be recreated at Birmingham City University, as a major new research project looking at jazz broadcasting in the 1960s gets underway.
As well as encompassing archival research and interviews with former production staff, the study will involve transforming the University’s main TV studio to simulate how a jazz programme was made. This will include scrutinising the technical decisions faced by television crews and improvising musicians at each stage of producing such a broadcast. Researchers will be working from the original BBC camera scripts in contrast with the University’s state-of-the-art facilities.
Although focused on BBC jazz programming, Dr Nicolas Pillai hopes the project will stimulate additional research on ITV’s music output; on the relationship between jazz radio and television; and on the reception of BBC jazz television in Commonwealth countries, for example.
The project – ‘Jazz on BBC-TV 1960-1969’ – will be facilitated by the Jazz Research cluster at Birmingham City University, which is led by Professors Nick Gebhardt and Tony Whyton.
Furthermore, Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, is currently preparing to move to a new state-of-the-art £57 million home this year, which will include the city’s only permanent jazz space – Eastside Jazz Club. Earlier this month, Birmingham Conservatoire launched its big band Ellington Orchestra, who will be a regular fixture in the new club.
Professor Tim Wall, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, said:
“Birmingham City University now arguably hosts the largest jazz studies research centre in the world and, on the basis of achievements like Nicolas’, is now the source of some of the leading work in the field.”

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