[JPL] Jazz Vocalists Female or otherwise.

Kathryn Smith katesmith999 at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 8 16:41:17 EDT 2005


Kate here
 typically I’m a sideline reader, direct to the source responder.

However, as an exclusive indie promoter

With an inordinate amount of vocalists this year
 

I have to speak up and say, 
Arturo and Russ I GREATLY APPRECIATE that which both of you bring to the table and programmingly make available.

Russell Haines <rfhnyc_ at hotmail.com> wrote:************************************************
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7/7/05

Arturo from KUVO wrote:

Every station that programs jazz, as little or as much as they do, should
have a balanced hourly mix of styles. Ever since jazz radio began vocals
have always been the most difficult to program IMO as most jazz fans either
love them or hate them. Vocals are the one style of jazz that causes the
most responses, positive and negative. Personally, I can tolerate average
performances in just about every jazz category except for vocals, I am like
most fans, very particular about vocalists, you either have it or you
don't...no middle ground. Okay, that said why is it as of late we have been
flooded with an inordinate amount of female jazz vocalists?, most of which
bring nothing to the table, in fact many are just out n out unlistenable.
Without pulling out the r-card most of these vocalists all have something in
common. I realize recently it's vocalists that have $old the mo$t album$ so
the labels will push vocalists until the market is over run with them which
doesn't help radio or retail.

At jazz80-KUVO, 92% of our weekly output is jazz, disregarding quality of
performance, if I was to attempt to program let's say 80% of the female
vocalists received, playing 2 vocals an hour, we wouldn't be able to play
them all. Now what do stations who are part time jazz outlets do? I say to
record labels and to indy vocalists, enough is enough!

Another disturbing trend is the increasing amount of live recordings with
mostly double digit track lengths that have tremendous playing but are
difficult to program for day parts.

For years I was known to be highly critical of the artwork and packaging of
many albums and you know, it worked because over the last year I have seen a
vast improvement of album's artwork, they are much more radio friendly for
the most part although there's still room for improvement in some cases.

There's an old Cuban adage, "el niño que no llora, no mama", the baby that
doesn't cry-doesn't suckle, so I hope the recording industry hears my cries
once again.


Arturo Gómez
Music Director, Jazz 89-KUVO
The Oasis In The City
Colorado's First HD FM Radio Station
Celebrating 20 Years of Public Radio


Here are some thoughts from Wisconsin:

I agree we are getting an awful lot of discs featuring vocalists. I also 
think we are getting a lot of discs featuring guitarists and a lot of discs 
featuring saxophonists. I'm glad there are people keeping jazz alive.

Arturo writes: "Personally, I can tolerate average performances in just 
about every jazz category except for vocals, I am like most fans, very 
particular about vocalists, you either have it or you
don't...no middle ground."

Maybe it's just me, but I can't tolerate average performances period.
Our listeners want quality music but are also VERY supportive of new 
faces/voices who are trying to make a go of it. Our audience expects our 
programming to be things they can't hear anywhere else (Bob Parlocha on Wis. 
Pub. Radio). Our audience want's to hear Diana Krall but not more than 
someone they have never heard before. Unless something is just plain 
unlistenable, I feel I owe the artist and our listeners a shot. If people 
don't like it we'll hear about it just as we will hear about the discs they 
dig. Yes, musicians either they have it or they don't and as a programmer I 
won't waste their time or our listeners time with mediocre material. I try 
to call or e-mail indie artists or labels about their discs positive or 
negative.

Arturo writes: "Now what do stations who are part time jazz outlets do? I 
say to
record labels and to indy vocalists, enough is enough!"

As a part time small market jazz outlet, we are the only hope for indie 
labels and artists. We play the music that works for a strong set. If that 
means five vocalists then thats what we do. I do not write this with any 
anger or rancor to Arturo or KUVO but it is no surprise that a station with 
the size and market of KUVO can't and won't encourage indie labels and 
artists. Perhaps "the business" of radio does not allow for that support. I 
say to indie labels and artists we have always appreciated your efforts and 
support of a small station and we say it is only "enough" when you say it's 
enough.

Arturo writes "Another disturbing trend is the increasing amount of live 
recordings with
mostly double digit track lengths that have tremendous playing but are
difficult to program for day parts."

Luckily, once again, being in a small market and not the norm for the 
industry (the summits have made that point more than once) I don't have to 
worry about "day parts" so I look forward to double digit cuts. I look for 
THE MUSIC first and that is the criteria all of our Jazz dj's use when on 
the air. I know I am not alone in that process and will say, without 
mentioning names, I have had excellent conversations with others who are 
also in smaller markets and operate the same way.

I hope others in smaller markets will weigh in on these issues. It seems to 
be mostly the "heavy hitters" that participate in these discussions.

Arturo, thanks for bringing up a new issue for examination.

A small (sort of) fellow jazz programmer,

Russ

Russ Haines
Jazz Music Director
WWSP 90fm
Stevens Point, WI.


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