AS an act of masochism, BBC Scotland’s axing of Jazz Nights comes straight from the Marquis de Sade handbook.

At a time when many are questioning the licence fee, alienating allies will only cause further reputational damage.

Jazz buffs are, almost by definition, defenders of publicly-funded broadcasting. We have to be. Jazz is seldom heard on commercial radio.

I’m a jazz nut. As a teenager, listening to Auntie Beeb’s Bebop to Hip Hop, did more than induce joy. It served to bolster a beleaguered art form.

Glasgow’s only jazz club, The Blue Arrow, shuttered last October. A venue showcasing spirited musicianship. The range of jazz genres there was impressive, from the exuberance of swing bands to the affecting melancholia of Billie Holiday ballads.

For a time, I was swept back to Glasgow’s last jazz beacon; Bourbon Street, a restaurant just off George Square. The owner told me, “When Bourbon Street closed, I was left with a small fortune. I went into it with a large one.”

Passion often induces myopia, and so rarely identifies blips on a balance sheet. I’ve just returned from Prague, where the Reduta Jazz Club has been firmly established since 1956. Surely a modern European city, like Glasgow, can sustain its own vibrant scene?

A diminution in programming will further reduce jazz’s growth and development here.

Scottish jazz has global devotees. A pal of mine, Detroit record producer, Dave Usher, was an honorary Scot. As well as being Annie Ross’s "bidie-in", he rescued Dizzy Gillespie from recording oblivion. Capitol Records had Dizzy under contract, forcing on him the scarcely believable aberration, You Stole My Wife, You Horse Thief. Complete with equine effect from Dizzy’s trumpet.

You doubt me? Check it out on YouTube.

Dave died last year in Manhattan. On trips to Scotland, with Annie, he’d delight in attending gigs.

With graceful manners he’d say, utterly without irony, “Brian, I’ve always wanted to hear jazz in Greenock.”

Right now, we’re witnessing an explosion of innovation, primarily from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which offers the only full-time degree-level jazz course in our country. Its students festoon gigs all over Glasgow.

Lounge suits have been replaced by more lax sartorial standards; Sneakers and sweat bands. Beanie hats and man buns. So what? The music is what matters. One trumpet maestro sports a beard which is almost Appalachian. Whilst resembling Grigori Rasputin, his playing evokes the brilliance of Harry James.

Their exquisite jazz is a communion with the spirits – celebrating the feast day of Errol Garner or Bessie Smith.

While paying homage to the past, they’ve justified confidence in playing their own compositions. Some so superb they’d pass for standards from the jazz canon. It can be transformative in the personal as well as the collective sense.

One girl nudged me, indicating her boyfriend playing keyboard.

“He was wild before music tamed him,” she said. “Look at his fingers dance? Hitting keys instead of strangers in a bar.”

Time for a rethink by Auntie Beeb? You bet your sweet jazz it is.

Brian McGeachan is an author and playwright