Monday, 30 November -0001

Radio Review: 17 April

Two Easter music shows that went down a treat

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176The Easter weekend wireless harboured two music documentary treats. First came It’s All About The Bass on Radio 4 (still available on iPlayer), in which Ellin Stein (maker of a rather fine Tom Lehrer documentary I reviewed a while back) spoke to legendary US session bass player Carol Kaye, who turns 80 this year.

When I say Stein ‘spoke to’ Kaye, she is an interviewer who lets the subject speak, to the point of editing her questions out, an approach I admire. We heard Kaye talking about her poverty-stricken upbringing, her origins as a jazz guitarist and the way she established herself as a woman in the macho studio scene of the 1950s.

She admits to a ‘bad attitude’ but suspects her take-it-or-leave-it manner impressed producers. One producer who loved Kaye was Phil Spector. ‘He showed signs of being a little off-kilter back then,’ Kaye asserted, which given that she’s not given to understatement, made me roar with laughter.

Then on Jazz FM on Easter Monday, pianist (and friend of this column) Neil Cowley talked eloquently for an hour about his love of Dudley Moore’s musical side. Cowley said that as a child he identified with the LP sleeve that showed Dud ripping up Bach’s 48 Preludes And Fugues like a strongman tearing a phone directory. ‘Bach and Beethoven were my grind at the time, and like Dudley, I was a jazz-loving British pianist who just wanted to be Erroll Garner.’

Joyously, there were archive clips of Dud discussing Garner and recalling the one occasion his hero saw him play, making him so nervous, he spilled Coca-Cola on the piano. Cowley’s paying tribute to Dud at Ronnie Scott’s next Friday and Saturday night. If you’re at a loose end, pop along. It’s going to be a delight.

Neil ’n’ Dud: The Other Side Of Dudley Moore is at
Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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