[JPL] real contemporary jazz & the smooth format

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 9 13:03:23 EDT 2006

I would say Ricky that all the artists you listed - with the exception of Chick, Herbie, Pat (There was one release of his they played much but the name escapes me at the moment) and not so much Bela - are or have gotten airplay on the smooth formats over the past 10 years. Some of these artists now as Ed noted are also getting more play on straight ahead formats - simply because their music has become more musically interesting in compositional and improvisational structure - more compatible to our formats. Like the Jackets. The Tone Center product also does exceptionally well for us. "The Royal Dan" tribute or the tribute to John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. 
  Now one can argue with the artists you mentioned how much play they would get or why the selections chosen for airplay would be the least creative and artistic on the smooth stations. The interesting thing is that most of these artists were established in the 70's - in a big way - when their music was played on high profile contemporary jazz stations. They can still sell well today based on that initial exposure and truthfully don't need the airplay. In fact all that you listed continued to get extraordinary print media support so why do they need the airplay? 
  Most of these artists aren't concerned about airplay now anyway and if you talk with some of them privately they'll tell you so. They know they really don't need it to sell their product because they can tour as much as they want. As you know the artists that can tour are the ones selling product. What we need to do is to find a different approach as to how we can help develop "new" artists visibility. If we don't live jazz as we know it will slowly descend into the abyss of the overplayed familiar - it's pretty much there now. 
  Jae Sinnett  

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In a message dated 8/11/2006 1:16:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Ricky Schultz 
the real irony is that it was the rise of Contemporary Jazz that spawned 
format but once the format was branded, Contemporary Jazz was tossed out 
with the bathwater. Suddenly the post fusion music of Metheny, Duke, 
Corea, Crusaders, Yellowjackets, Clarke, Michael Franks, Strunz & Farah, 
Fleck, Spyro Gyra, etc etc was to a large extent without a home. you 
hear a George Benson track with an extended solo; the biggest, most popular 
and in many instances most talented musicians were passed over?>

Why did they toss it? Especially if it is as popular with audiences as its 
supporters say it is? That doesn't make any sense. I'm confused. 

Dan Polletta
hi dan--for whats its worth, imho, the consultants who ruled smooth jazz 
with an iron fist always had their eyes on a more pop heavy format [= to more ad 
$$'s]. initially they included some New Age (more popular in the mid 80s) 
and then slowly drifted toward playing only pop /RnBb vocals ala mariah 
carey,janet jackson et al. it was a "mood service" to be marketed & branded so 
usurping the jazz moniker made sense/paid dividends.

i still think there is room for a true contemporary jazz format that could 
also include extra tasty adult urban and what was called triple A rock for 
flavor. sadly all three genres are largely overlooked by terrestrial radio. 
considering the size and pocketbooks of the boomers
and the now aging gen Xer's, i'm surprised these 3 styles havent received 
more play.

those three formats include very significant numbers of "career" artists: 
still recording, still touring, still selling tickets and in many cases, still 
making great music.

ricky schultz

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