Listening Tip: Desmond on the BBC

In the wake of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s recent programs about Bill Evans, RifftidesDesmond BBC headshot reader Brenton Plourde notifies us of a new BBC series to be streamed on the internet. Beginning tomorrow, Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz on BBC Radio 3 will air a weeklong series about Paul Desmond and his music. The BBC’s preview page does not make clear whether the shows will be available to web listeners outside the United Kingdom. For an advance look at the program rundown, go here.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit


  1. Terence Smith says

    Nice tip ! And what inspired, not-obvious, Desmond selections from BBC’s Geoffrey Smith. Thank you to Brenton Plourde and Doug Ramsey.

    It reminds me of the Bill Evans selections tastefully chosen by BBC to represent Bill ( in recent great Rifftides tip/link from Jack Reilly/Doug Ramsey). When I saw BBC’s Donald Macleod had selected Bill’s “G Waltz” (only recording?) I thought “Yes!” It’s a perfect representative choice which Bill could have played nightly, but didn’t…a road taken but once.

    So many Desmond performances are gifts that just keep giving, and the list keeps growing too. I am saving up to get the 1969 All-Star White House Ellington Tribute CD you featured on November 25. The samples had me thinking, “I Didn’t Know about You.”

  2. Brenton Plourde says

    Hello All. I am a current resident of Canada and I am currenly listening to the BBC Series, so it is available to listeners outside of the United Kingdom.

  3. Lee Schell says


    Thanks for all the great stuff on your blog. The listening tip on Geoffrey Smith’s BBC show on Paul D was a real jewel. [thanks, also, to Brenton Plourde]. I hadn’t heard “Warm Valley” in years! Ed Bickert’s playing sounds simple, but, is deceivingly complex. He has been “unsung” all of his career. I can see why he and Jim Hall were such good friends. Boy, do I miss Paul Desmond! Where have you heard that before?

  4. says

    As a Brit I’ve every right to slag off the BBC for it’s odd TV/Radio broadcasts when it comes to jazz. Unsocial timings for programs in particular. However when they do things well they sure as hell do it well. The Desmond and Bill Evans programs are cases in point.

    There have also been some knockout documentaries by them as well. The one of Ronnie Scott and the club, available in full on You Tube and the couple on saxist/composer Johnny Dankworth. The Johnny Mercer, although not jazz was a feast of musicality as was the “Jews on Broadway” extolling the virtues of the incredible Jewish contribution to great popular song.

    Come on MY BBC keep up the high standards you know you can do so well..

  5. Frank Roellinger says

    Thanks for the tip, Doug, came in loud and clear in my neck of the USA. I especially liked Geoffrey Wilson’s estimate of Paul’s solo on “Southern Scene”, which I’ve almost never before seen anyone else comment on favorably. I’ve long considered it one of his best in terms of ideas that build one after the other into an intricate, musically logical statement. To my ears it is majestic. I don’t feel like a minority of one any more.