Smooth jazz


Smooth jazz
Smooth jazz
Stylistic origins Jazz fusion
R&B
Funk
Pop
Cultural origins 1960s/1970s in the United States
Typical instruments GuitarSaxophoneBass guitarPianoTrumpetFluteDrumsSynthesizers
Mainstream popularity Medium, from 1970s to present - United States
Derivative forms Sophisti-pop
Urban jazz
Other topics
List of smooth jazz musicians

Smooth jazz is a genre of music that grew out of jazz fusion[1] and is influenced by R&B, funk, rock, and pop music styles (separately, or, in any combination).[2][unreliable source?]

Modern derivatives of the genre include the more-recent New Adult Contemporary format of broadcast radio. "Smooth jazz" has been successful as a radio format; however, in 2007, the popularity of the format began to slide. Consequently, it was abandoned by several high-profile radio stations across the U.S.A., perhaps most notably by WQCD (now WEMP) in New York and KKSF in San Francisco. Many industry insiders have speculated that the smooth jazz format may die out, particularly with many of industry giant Clear Channel Communications' stations dropping the genre.[3] Critics of the company, however, blame Clear Channel for the format's decline, citing too much repetition of a sharply-reduced number of tracks on Clear Channel-owned stations that alienated many listeners. Despite the format's demise on commercial radio, a growing number of non-commercial stations have taken up the music. In addition, smooth jazz concerts, recording sales—as well as increased smooth jazz offerings on the Internet—continue to show strong fan support for the genre.[3]

Contents

Description

In general, a smooth jazz track is downtempo (the most widely played tracks are in the 90–105 BPM range), layering a lead, melody-playing instrument (saxophones – especially soprano and tenor – are the most popular, with guitars a close second) over a backdrop that typically consists of programmed rhythms and various pads and/or samples. Although many listeners and record companies group smooth and contemporary jazz together, the genres are different. Smooth jazz is generally considered background music, whereas "straight-ahead" contemporary jazz is seen as demanding the listener's undivided attention.[2]

Smooth jazz groups or recording artists tend to play their instruments in a melodic fashion such that they are recognizable within just a few measures; this category includes names such as saxophonists Kenny G, David Sanborn, the late George Howard, Najee and Art Porter, Jr.; guitarists George Benson, Marc Antoine, Peter White, Johnathan Butler, Ray Parker, Jr, Norman Brown, Ronny Jordan, and Yves Vincent; pianists Joe Sample, David Benoit, and Bradley Joseph. Some performers, such as Dave Koz, Bob James, and Nathan East are notable for their numerous collaborations with many of the genre's big names. Groups include Fourplay, Pieces of a Dream, Acoustic Alchemy, Airborne and The Rippingtons. Female performers include Keiko Matsui, Joyce Cooling, Mindi Abair, Candy Dulfer, Sade, Brenda Russell, Pamela Williams, Regina Belle, and Anita Baker.

Origins

Smooth jazz can be traced to at least the late 1960s. Producer Creed Taylor worked with guitarist Wes Montgomery on three popular records (1967's A Day in the Life and Down Here on the Ground and 1968's Road Song) consisting of instrumental versions of familiar pop songs such as "Eleanor Rigby", "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Scarborough Fair". While jazz musicians had performed pop hits since the early 1900s, Montgomery's commercially successful albums were somewhat of a departure from this tradition, containing little of the complex improvisation of his earlier recordings and being aimed squarely at pop music audiences. Reviewing A Day In the Life, critic Scott Yannow[4] writes, "although the jazz content is almost nil, the results are pleasing as background music."

From these commercially successful records with Montgomery, Taylor founded CTI Records. Many established jazz performers recorded for CTI (including Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker, George Benson and Stanley Turrentine). The records recorded under Taylor's guidance were typically aimed as much at pop audiences as at jazz fans, with ornate string section arrangements, and a much stronger emphasis on melody than was typical in jazz. Some critics and jazz fans expressed a distaste for CTI releases, but much of the label's output is now generally well-regarded: Yanow writes, "Taylor had great success in balancing the artistic with the commercial."[5] Hubbard's funk/fusion album Red Clay, issued by CTI and containing a lengthy cover of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" and has been described as arguably "Hubbard's finest moment as a leader."[6]

In addition to Benson, jazz musicians in the 1970s whose style would be called smooth jazz today included Bob James, David Sanborn, Herb Alpert, and Chuck Mangione.[7] Others with a similar style included Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Grover Washington, Jr., Spyro Gyra (with songs such as "Morning Dance"), Sérgio Mendes, Tom Scott, Dave and Don Grusin, and Joe Sample.[citation needed]

The Weather Channel released its first compilation album in 2007, The Weather Channel Presents: The Best of Smooth Jazz, based on collections of popular smooth jazz music played on the Local On the 8s segments. It peaked at #1 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz charts in the same year.[8] Artists represented include Joyce Cooling, Dave Koz, Paprika Soul, Four 80 East, Jeff Lorber, Pieces of a Dream, Chick Corea, Jeanne Ricks, Ryan Farish, Mark Krumowski, Najee, and 3rd Force. In 2008, their second compilation CD containing their most requested music was released, titled The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II.[9] Artists include Russ Freeman & The Rippingtons, Jeff Lorber, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Bradley Joseph, Bernie Williams, David Benoit, Spyro Gyra, Norman Brown, Chris Geith, Joe Sample, Charlie Parker Quartet, and Eric Marienthal.

Derivatives

A recent development is urban contemporary, which incorporates aspects of hip-hop. This style is aimed at audiences who would normally listen to radio stations that play a mix of hip-hop and R&B. Among the musicians who frequently perform urban jazz are Dave Koz, Boney James, Paul Jackson Jr., Nick Colionne, Bobby Perry, Urban Jazz Coalition, Streetwize, and Tha' Hot Club.

Urban jazz includes artists such as Bob Baldwin, Michael Lington, Brian Bromberg, David Lanz, Bobby Ricketts, Kim Waters, Daniele Caprelli, Ken Navarro, Walter Beasley, Peter White.

Another nascent trend involves the fusion of smooth jazz and electronica, the results of which are similar to what has, among electronica enthusiasts, come to be called "chill." Radio stations such as New York's WQCD and DJs such as Rafe Gomez pioneered the usage of playlists that blend tracks from both genres.

Public reception

The music of musicians like Pat Metheny, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, and Sting is often classified as smooth jazz, and many of these artists are capable of performing well in multiple styles</ref> The Allmusic guide article on "fusion" states that "unfortunately, as it became a money-maker and as rock declined artistically from the mid-'70s on, much of what was labeled fusion was actually a combination of jazz with easy-listening pop music and lightweight R&B."[10]

Music critic Piero Scaruffi has called pop-fusion music "...mellow, bland, romantic music" made by "mediocre musicians" and "derivative bands." Scaruffi criticized some of the albums of Michael and Randy Brecker as "trivial dance music" and stated that alto saxophonist David Sanborn recorded "[t]rivial collections" of "...catchy and danceable pseudo-jazz".[11] Kenny G in particular is often criticized by both fusion and jazz fans, and some musicians, while having become a huge commercial success. Music reviewer George Graham argues that the “so-called ‘smooth jazz’ sound of people like Kenny G has none of the fire and creativity that marked the best of the fusion scene during its heyday in the 1970s”.[12]

The over-30 audience in the US enjoys the melodic nature of the music, its frequent revival of Pop standards and its freedom from histrionic vocal lines[citation needed]). The appeal of smooth jazz is also developing in the late-teen and 20s age groups in East Asia (especially Japan[citation needed]) and in Europe. In particular, late-night coffee bars play smooth jazz in order to create an enticing late-night, non-alcoholic social atmosphere where conversation is encouraged.[citation needed]

In the United Kingdom, British jazz performer Digby Fairweather, before the launch of UK jazz station theJazz, denounced the change to a smooth jazz format on defunct radio station 102.2 Jazz FM, stating that the owners, GMG Radio were responsible for the "attempted rape and (fortunately abortive) re-definition of the music — is one that no true jazz lover within the boundaries of the M25 will ever find it possible to forget or forgive."[13]

Radio

Early history

Smooth jazz as a radio format has its roots in the construction of what were once called "beautiful music" stations, which generally played fifteen-minute sets consisting of instrumentals bookending a vocal song or two. The incubators of the format were specialty shows at night or on the weekends, in places such as Atlanta (WQXI-FM), Miami (WWWL-FM) and San Antonio (KTFM). The first jazz radio station to attempt to reach an audience beyond hardcore jazz fans full-time was New York's WRVR-FM, which was acquired by Sonderling Broadcasting in 1976. Under its new management, WRVR more than tripled its audience by emphasizing artists like George Benson and Pat Metheny that were crossing over to more popular formats. Other early pioneers included WLOQ in Orlando, Florida (which began programming such a format in 1977), Russ Davis in Atlanta and "Jazz Flavours", Ross Block, Dave Caprita and Stu Grant at Love 94FM with "Sunday Morning Jazz" in Miami and Art Good at KIFM San Diego with "Lights Out San Diego".

In 1983, "adult alternative" became a well-defined radio format, with jazz, new age music and adult contemporary music. In 1987, the switch by album-oriented rock KMET in Los Angeles to KTWV "The Wave" made the format more popular.[14]

After programmer Frank Cody began "The Wave" in Los Angeles and the simultaneous KIFM (San Diego) and the eclectic KKSF (San Francisco), the number of stations banking on "The Wave's" softer sound grew quickly. Those included "Breezin' 100.7" in Milwaukee and KHIH in Denver programmed by consultant Gary Guthrie, WNUA (Chicago) consulted by Cody, WVAE (a short-lived Wave network affiliate from 1987-89) and WJZZ in Detroit, WNWV in Cleveland (which began as a Wave affiliate but eventually moved to local programming), Ohio, and the re-launch of WQCD (CD101.9), New York. Also Love94FM [WWWL, later WLVE] in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, an early innovator with its "Sunday Morning Jazz" show went totally smooth jazz by 1990, not long after The Wave in Los Angeles had switched to the format. The format had been deemed "New Age" originally and radio stations like WNUA Chicago and KNUA Seattle emulated the phrase in their call letters. For a short time in 1987-1988, Chicago actually had two such stations, as the "Wave" network was also heard on WTWV-FM, licensed to suburban Des Plaines (now WPPN).

In the late 80's, research firm Cody/Leach conducted a study for WNUA/Chicago; it was through the verbatim responses from listeners that the name "Smooth Jazz" was identified.[citation needed] WNUA then adopted the slogan "Smooth Rock and Smooth Jazz",[15] replacing the old slogan "Music for a New Age" as the station added more vocals and dropped most "avant-garde" instrumentals.[16] Under the direction of General Manager John Gehron, "Smooth Rock" was dropped. Cody is credited with making "Smooth Jazz" a household name, giving rise to its nationwide proliferation through the firm Broadcast Architecture, the widely syndicated “The Jazz Show with David Sanborn” and his association with saxophonist Dave Koz. Cody was also responsible for overseeing the launch of the now defunct Satellite Music Network's syndicated "Wave" format.[citation needed]

Over a six-year period ending in 1993, the format increased its audience by 140 percent, and from 1992 to 1993, by 67 percent. Listeners were 71 percent white and 28 percent black. Advertisers recognized that adult alternative music tended to attract buyers of upscale items.[14] The format became much more jazz-oriented, with very little new age, and even while emphasizing young artists, the format kept its heritage acts as well.[17] However, smooth jazz did add artists from adult contemporary music to increase its popularity with a larger audience; artists included Mariah Carey, Bonnie Raitt, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Michael Bolton, Tina Turner, and Janet Jackson.[18] The smooth jazz format also added R & B; according to Cary Goldberg of JVC, Paul Hardcastle "brought a sophisticated, urban groove" to the format. She said, "Instead of bringing jazz to R&B, he's brought an R&B groove to contemporary jazz."[19]

The smooth jazz music mix included 70 percent instrumentals and 30 percent vocals. Programmers no longer regarded the music as merely "background". The format's most successful stations included WNUA, KKSF, KOAI, WNWV and KIFM, as well as WQCD, which had a significant rating increase in Fall 1993.[18]

Smooth jazz (still referred to as "adult alternative" in Billboard until the magazine began using the term for album alternative[20]) experienced the largest increase in "power ratio" in 1994; the term refers to the relationship between audience share and advertising revenue. Although the format was increasing in popularity, M Street Journal counted 43 stations in the format, down from 64 in 1989. But new stations such as KKJZ in Portland, Oregon and KLJZ in New Orleans experienced immediate success.[21] New stations in 1995 included KCIY in Kansas City, Missouri; KMJZ in Minneapolis; WSJZ in Buffalo, New York; and WJCD in Norfolk, Virginia.[22][23][24][25][26]

"Smooth jazz" has gone on to be recognized as a successful radio format, first emerging in name in the mid- to late-1980s (often, they would be transitioned from existing "new age" stations) and subsequently spreading into most radio markets within the United States and many without.

Smooth jazz radio today

Recent problems

The smooth jazz radio format continued to grow and thrive through the 1990s and early 2000s, though in the late 2000s most markets began losing smooth jazz stations. In a number of media markets, this format is no longer available over the air except online or on HD Radio.[27] Currently, the most prominent of the few remaining commercial (and independently-programmed) smooth jazz stations are WSBZ "The Seabreeze" in Destin, Florida, WEIB in Northampton, Massachusetts, and KYSJ in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Three of the originators of the smooth jazz format - WQCD in New York City, WNUA in Chicago, and KKSF in San Francisco - have all signed off in the last several years. WQCD became album-rocker WRXP on February 5, 2008; KKSF shifted to classic rock as "The Band" on May 18, 2009; and just four days later, WNUA abruptly dropped the format for "Mega" (a Spanish pop format). The demise of these pioneering smooth jazz stations seems particularly indicative of the problems within the format.

However, the format has made a minor comeback in some markets. In Chicago, low-power TV station WLFM-LP - which broadcasts on Channel 6, allowing its audio portion to be heard at 87.75 MHz on most FM radios - switched from alternative country to Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz feed as "87.7, Chicago's Smooth Jazz." A similar situation has unfolded in Anchorage, Alaska, where smooth jazz KNIK-FM disappeared from its old frequency of 105.7 (replaced by KNLT, a soft A/C station) and was revived on TV Channel 6 with the audio portion available at 87.7, featuring a mix of jazz, including some smooth jazz, and blues. In Detroit, where CBS Radio's WVMV "V98.7" switched to Top 40 as WDZH "AMP Radio" in September 2009, Martz Communications Group launched translator W284BQ "The Oasis" on 104.7 in April 2011, simulcasting the HD-2 feed of WGPR 107.5 FM and airing Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz feed. Interestingly, the "V98.7" format continues to air on WDZH's HD-2, giving Detroit two smooth jazz stations available on HD subchannels. And in Orlando, Florida, where "Smooth 103.1" WLOQ disappeared in early August 2011 and was replaced by a Spanish pop format, smooth jazz is once again available via translator W273CA "Smooth Jazz 102.5", which also uses Broadcast Architecture's format as a relay of WMGF-HD-2.

Smooth jazz has also disappeared from commercial radio in most other major or medium-sized markets, including Cleveland; Miami; Atlanta; Cincinnati; Dallas; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington; Houston; Indianapolis; Sacramento; Dayton, Ohio; Milwaukee; Columbus, Ohio; Tampa, Florida; Lansing, Michigan; Modesto, California; and most recently, Orlando, Florida and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Many of these stations continue to program smooth jazz via HD subchannels or online streams.

Canada's highest-profile smooth jazz station, CIWV-FM, now CHKX-FM in Hamilton, Ontario, abandoned the format in late July 2011, switching to country music instead and moving the jazz format to an online stream only. This leaves Anglophone CJGV-FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Francophone CKLX-FM in Montreal, Quebec as Canada's two last remaining smooth AC or smooth jazz stations, and CJGV-FM has applied to drop the format for adult contemporary.

Reasons

The decline in popularity of the smooth jazz format has been blamed on a variety of factors, including lack of exposing compelling new music, over-reliance on instrumental cover versions of pop songs similar to the mostly-defunct Beautiful Music format, and Arbitron's PPM reports showing lower ratings[28] returns for smooth jazz stations than the traditional diary system had. Lack of revenue and the genre not being viable during the current economic crisis have also been cited as reasons.[29] Many purists of the format also feel that the smooth jazz interpretation has strayed too far from its roots in contemporary jazz and new age music by over-relying on soft urban vocals, with R&B artists such as Beyonce Knowles and Aretha Franklin now staples of many smooth-jazz playlists. Others indicate that the repetition of the same tracks on stations -- particularly those owned by Clear Channel Communications[3] -- and the reduction of artists recording tracks resulting in fewer tracks for airplay[30] may have also contributed to the decline.

Time to stop complaining about it not being the way it used to be ... and start embracing the way it is and the way it’s going to be in the future ... whatever that may be! Hello, Tomorrow.

—Dave Koz[31]

American saxophonist Dave Koz responded back in November 2009 to the claims that the smooth jazz radio genre was in decline by stating that although the audience has aged and not enough young people were embracing the format, making it harder to gain advertising revenue, the genre is still seeing the support in record sales and audiences at shows. He also suggested that the format may move from a genre covered by big FM stations to one covered by smaller stations, in particular Internet radio stations (such as Boomer Radio Smooth Jazz Favorites) which were showing an increase in popularity.[31]

Some of the former terrestrial smooth jazz stations, including the former KHJZ in Houston, the former WJZW in Washington, WVMV in Detroit, and the former WQCD in New York, continue to offer smooth jazz programming as Internet streams or as offerings on their HD subchannels. Some stations which are still providing smooth jazz and are still popular in their respective markets, including Jazz FM in the United Kingdom are integrating traditional and popular jazz and jazz standards alongside smooth jazz tracks in their playlists.[27]

The Smooth AC format

One tack several smooth jazz stations have taken, in order to attract more younger listeners (particularly in the important 25-54 age demographic) without completely alienating jazz fans, is to evolve the format into a hybrid known as Smooth Adult Contemporary. Smooth AC stations play more of the vocalists popular on smooth jazz stations, such as Luther Vandross, Sade, Robin Thicke, Anita Baker, and Basia, while incorporating more mainstream and urban AC material from artists such as Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, and Maroon 5 and limiting instrumentals to two or three cuts an hour (and usually restricting airplay of instrumentals to artists such as Kenny G, Dave Koz and Chuck Mangione who have had crossover pop success).

One of the first high-profile stations to adopt the Smooth AC approach was pioneering smooth-jazz station KTWV in Los Angeles ("The Wave"), under new program director Jhani Kaye. KTWV's transition was successful in improving the station's 25-54 ratings, and since then several other smooth-jazz stations have made a similar transition, including WXJZ in Gainesville, Florida, WLOQ in Orlando, Florida (which dropped the format on August 1, 2011, in anticipation of a change to Spanish language programming), and most recently, KIFM in San Diego, which switched to smooth AC in March 2011 in response to rapidly falling 25-54 ratings (the station had plunged to 23rd place in that demographic in the most recently available Arbitron ratings). KJZY in the Santa Rosa, California, market also supplements its homegrown Smooth AC format with some adult standards artists like Tony Bennett, Rod Stewart, and Frank Sinatra.

KTWV and KIFM continue to program "traditional" smooth jazz formats on HD subchannels; KIFM's HD-2 features "Pure Smooth Jazz," while KTWV programs "Wave Classics," featuring vintage smooth jazz cuts no longer played on the main station, on its HD-2.

Other former smooth-jazz stations have evolved to Rhythmic Oldies formats while maintaining their previous call letters, notably KOAS in Las Vegas and KYOT (now known as "Eva") in Phoenix. KOAS saw its ratings in the 25-54 age demographics improve after moving to its "old school" format.

Non-commercial and AM stations

By 2009, as smooth jazz continued its rapid decline on the commercial radio airwaves, a growing number of non-commercial stations have taken up the music and added it to their programming. Among non-commercial stations now playing smooth jazz include WVSU in Birmingham, Alabama; WFSS in Fayetteville, North Carolina; WRMU in Alliance, Ohio; WFSK in Nashville, Tennessee; KBBG in Waterloo, Iowa; KUNV in Las Vegas, Nevada; WONB in Ada, Ohio (on Sundays); LPFM broadcaster WGRV-LP in Melbourne, Florida, and nearby communities via translators; and most recently, WBWH-LP in Bluffton, Ohio, which has extended its Sunday-night show "The Chillout Sessions" (featuring a mix of smooth jazz, smooth vocals, and chill music, hosted by Donald Isaac) into its primary format as of October 2011. In addition, some commercial stations which present the format on their HD side channels, such as KKCW in Portland, Oregon, and WDZH in Detroit, do so without commercial interruption.

One of the longest-running non-commercial smooth jazz radio programs in the United States is "The Quiet Storm,"[32] which airs weekly on the community-based WGDR-FM in Plainfield, Vermont and its sister station, WGDH-FM in Hardwick, Vermont, both owned by Goddard College. Launched in 1998 and hosted by Skeeter Sanders, "The Quiet Storm" is actually a 50-50 mix of smooth jazz and soft R&B, presented in "Triple-A" (Album Adult Alternative) style, with a strong emphasis on "B" and "C" album tracks that most commercial stations often ignore. The show takes its name from the early-evening program pioneered in 1976 by WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C. and duplicated with great success as a 24-hour format three years later by KBLX-FM in San Francisco. In September 2011, a syndicated commercial version of Sanders' program began broadcasting on the Internet-only Fishbowl Radio Network.[33]

In some markets, the smooth jazz format has also found a new home on the AM dial. In Reno, Nevada, KBDB-AM switched from regional Mexican programming to Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network several months after the format was dropped by KJZS-FM in its format switch to country music. In Atlanta, another market where the format has vanished from the FM dial, AM station WPBC picked up Broadcast Architecture's feed for weekend programming. Another AM station programming the format is KQJZ in Kalispell, Montana, at 1340 AM, which simulcasts on an FM translator at 103.5.

In Detroit and Orlando, FM translators have also signed on relaying smooth jazz-formatted HD-2 subchannels, as previously mentioned.

Specialty shows

It is not uncommon for adult contemporary music or urban AC stations to devote some of their weekend programming to the format in an effort to serve a niche market without devoting an entire station to it. Some examples include WRRM Warm 98 in Cincinnati, WZUN in Syracuse, New York, WMXC in Mobile, Alabama, and WSOL in Jacksonville, Florida. An oddity in this category is WLAV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a classic rock station which features a "cool jazz" brunch show on Sunday mornings. WZTK in Burlington, North Carolina, a talk station, also devotes most of its weekend programming to smooth jazz.

Syndicated shows

In January 2007,[34] Broadcast Architecture launched the satellite-delivered Smooth Jazz Network, featuring smooth jazz artists Dave Koz, Kenny G, Norman Brown, Brian Culbertson, Paul Hardcastle and Ramsey Lewis as on-air hosts. The network soon spread to 25 markets across the US, with among its more notable affiliates including WJCD in Norfolk, Virginia; WJZL in Lansing, Michigan; WQJZ in Ocean Pines, Maryland; KJZS in Reno, Nevada; WKYL in Lexington, Kentucky; KORL in Honolulu, Hawaii; WAEG in Savannah, Georgia; and WAUN in Green Bay, Wisconsin. WLFM-LP in Chicago also began as a 100% satellite-fed Broadcast Architecture affiliate, but has since gone to mostly local programming during weekday daytime dayparts, with the satellite feed filling most of the remainder of the schedule. Of these stations, only KORL and WAEG continue to broadcast the Smooth Jazz Network; WJCD, WQJZ, WJZL, WKYL and KJZS have all switched to other formats (although the format was relaunched on a smaller AM station in Reno), and WAUN and WLFM-LP have evolved to the related Smooth AC format.

In addition to KORL and WAEG, the Smooth Jazz Network is also carried on KUJJ in Walla Walla, Washington; KQJZ in Kalispell, Montana; KMYT in Temecula, California; KJJZ in Palm Springs, California; KYZK in Sun Valley, Idaho; translator W284BQ "The Oasis" in Detroit, Michigan, simulcasting the HD-2 feed of WGPR-FM; translator W273CA "Smooth Jazz 102.5" in Orlando, Florida, simulcasting the HD-2 feed of adult contemporary station WMGF-FM; and weekends on WPBC-AM in Atlanta, Georgia, and WOWE in Flint, Michigan. It is also programmed on HD Radio subchannels in various markets, including San Francisco, Washington, Miami, Baltimore, Houston, Nashville, Memphis, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is available for streaming via Clear Channel Communications' iHeartRadio application under the name "Your Smooth Jazz."

In response to the growing trend toward Smooth AC, Broadcast Architecture has also begun marketing a Smooth AC Network (formerly named "Chillout Radio Network", despite the lack of so-called chill music in the network's playlist, and then renamed "Bright Radio Network" before the final name change to "Smooth AC") featuring the same air talent as the Smooth Jazz Network. The first Smooth AC Network affiliated station was KOCD in the Tulsa, Oklahoma market, but that station has since switched format to adult hits. However, a handful of other stations have since picked up the network, including WXJZ and former Smooth Jazz Network affiliates WAUN and WLFM-LP (although the latter features primarily local programming during weekdays, with Network programming used including Dave Koz's afternoon drive show and most weekend programming). KYOT in Phoenix also programmed the Smooth AC Network for a time after switching from smooth jazz and prior to moving to its current urban oldies direction.

The current air talent lineup on the Smooth Jazz and Smooth AC Networks includes Kenny G and Sandy Kovach (formerly of the late WVMV "V98.7" Detroit) mornings, Miranda Wilson middays, Dave Koz during afternoon drive, and Maria Lopez evenings and overnights, with weekend personalities including Norman Brown, Paul Hardcastle, and Allan Kepler's Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown.

Other weekly syndicated smooth jazz radio shows include the long running Art Good's Jazztrax, "Chill" with saxophonist Mindi Abair, Ramsey Lewis' "Legends Of Jazz" and the weekly two-hour Dave Koz Radio Show. In the summer of 2007, Broadcast Architecture launched the format's first ever national countdown show, the "Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown with Allen Kepler". The Smooth Jazz Top 20 now airs in more than 20 radio stations.

Elements of the smooth jazz format are also present in the Timeless Cool format distributed by Timeless Cool Music, Inc., which features a mixture of smooth and traditional jazz with adult standards by artists like Ray Charles, Madeleine Peyroux, and Bobby Darin and adult alternative performers such as Jack Johnson, Amy Winehouse, and Annie Lennox. However, this format has failed to take off and is as of August 2011 aired on only a small handful of stations nationwide.

Until September 30, 2008, Jones Radio Networks also distributed a smooth-jazz format via satellite. This network was discontinued following Jones Radio Networks' purchase by Triton Media Group, owners of the Dial Global stable of 24/7 formats, and Triton's decision to eliminate Smooth Jazz from its portfolio. Jones' Smooth Jazz network had dwindled to only a handful of affiliates at the time the format was discontinued; most of the remaining Jones stations (i.e. WJZL and WQJZ) were switched over to Broadcast Architecture's network.

Smooth jazz radio internationally

The smooth-jazz format is less common in Canada, possibly due to Canadian Content regulations and a relative lack of high-profile Canadian smooth-jazz artists (with some exceptions such as Diana Krall and Michael Bublé, as well as soft AC artists like Celine Dion or Paul Anka). After the aforementioned CIWV-FM's format change in July 2011, the only major Canadian English-language radio station still featuring primarily smooth jazz is CJGV-FM in Winnipeg, and aside from CJGV, Canada's only primarily smooth jazz station is Montreal's French-language "Planete Jazz" CKLX-FM. The former CHMC-FM in Edmonton, Alberta began in 2005 as a smooth jazz station, but switched in 2010 to an "uptempo" Adult Hits format as CIUP-FM.

In August 2011, Canada's last remaining Anglophone smooth-jazz station, CJGV-FM, filed an application with the CRTC to amend its format to adult contemporary, citing significant financial losses with the jazz format. If the application is granted, the smooth jazz format will essentially be extinct on Canadian Anglophone radio, with CKLX being the only primarily smooth jazz station left on Canadian radio.

New and innovative material from the UK, Europe and Australia has largely failed to gain airplay in the US. Well financed and often government-funded radio organisations in the UK, Europe and Australia, coupled with technical developments in the digital radio field, have led to the launch of a number of smooth jazz radio stations in these markets and their playlists are substantially more diverse than in the US.[citation needed]

In the UK however, the only radio station that regularly played smooth jazz was 102.2 Jazz FM in London and 100.4 Jazz FM in the North West. Upon takeover by the Guardian Media Group in 2003, the station started to create playlists predominantly consisting of easy listening soul and pop. Finally, in March 2004 in the North West and in June 2005 in London, the station changed its name to Smooth FM, and dropped smooth jazz from its playlists altogether. At the same time, GMG launched jazzfm.com in some parts of the UK which after closing in some areas. However, as part of its relaunch, smooth jazz and funk has also been played alongside more mainstream and traditional jazz output as played by former UK jazz station theJazz. On October 6, 2008 jazzfm.com was relaunched[35] under a three year deal with The Local Radio Company to relaunch Jazz FM[36] with smooth jazz output in the daytime and early hours of the morning.

List of Smooth Jazz and Smooth AC radio stations

United States (excluding HD side channels)

  • KBDB (Smooth Jazz 1400), Sparks/Reno, NV
  • KIFM (Smooth FM), San Diego, CA (Smooth AC)
  • KJJZ (K-Jazz), Palm Springs, CA
  • KJZY, Santa Rosa, CA
  • KMYT, Temecula, CA
  • KNIK-LP, Anchorage, AK (mix of jazz and blues)
  • KORL, Honolulu, HI
  • KQJZ (Smooth Sexy Jazz), Kalispell, MT
  • KTWV (The Wave), Los Angeles, CA (Smooth AC)
  • KUJJ, Walla Walla, WA
  • KYSJ, Coos Bay, OR
  • KYZK, Sun Valley, ID
  • WAEG (Smooth Jazz 92.3), Augusta, GA
  • WAUN (Smooth Bays), Kewaunee/Green Bay/Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • WBWH-LP, Bluffton, OH
  • WEIB, Northampton, MA
  • WFSK, Nashville, TN
  • W284BQ/WGPR-HD2 (The Oasis), Detroit, MI
  • WGRV-LP and translators (The Groove), Melbourne, FL
  • WLFM-LP (Smooth 87.7), Chicago, IL (Smooth AC)
  • W273CA/WMGF-HD2 (Smooth Jazz 102.5), Orlando, FL
  • WRMU, Alliance, OH
  • WSBZ (The Seabreeze), Destin, FL
  • WXJZ (Smooth FM 100.9), Gainesville, FL (Smooth AC)
  • WVSU, Birmingham, AL
  • WZTK, Burlington, NC (weekends)

Canada

  • CJGV-FM (Groove), Winnipeg, MB (English speaking)
  • CKLX-FM (Planete Jazz), Montreal, PQ (French speaking)

International

Please add! In the Netherlands (holland), known for North sea jazzfestival, there is Arrow jazz in fm. and internet at arrow.nl/jazz

Cable/Satellite/Subscription

Internet only

  • SmoothJazz.com

See also

Record labels

References

  1. ^ "Explore:Smooth Jazz". allmusic. http://allmusic.com/explore/style/smooth-jazz-d4447. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "What is smooth jazz?". Smoothjazz.de. http://www.smooth-jazz.de/what_is_smoothjazz.html. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  3. ^ a b c Harrington, Jim (2009-06-14). "Smooth Jazz might be in big trouble". Contra Costa Times. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_12532336?nclick_check=1. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  4. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/a-day-in-the-life-r144205
  5. ^ Creed Taylor biography
  6. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/red-clay-r104746/review
  7. ^ Sarah Rodman, "Smooth moves: Did Kenny G ruin the notion of smooth jazz?" Chicago Sun-Times, July 23, 2006.
  8. ^ "Chart history for The Weather Channel Presents: The Best of Smooth Jazz". Billboard Magazine. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=318&cfgn=Albums&cfn=Top+Contemporary+Jazz&ci=3093502&cdi=9730786&cid=04%2F19%2F2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Weather Channel, Best of Smooth Jazz II". JazzHQ. http://jazzhq.blogspot.com/2008/05/weather-channel-best-of-smooth-jazz-ii.html. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  10. ^ Available online at: http://www.allmusic.com/explore/style/d299
  11. ^ Piero Scaruffi, 2006. Available at: http://www.scaruffi.com/history/jazz17a.html
  12. ^ George Graham review - Available online at: http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:5Z0ukGXTz54J:georgegraham.com/reviews/methgrp.html
  13. ^ Fairweather, Digby (2006-11-18). "New Jazz Station - Goodbye to the Smooth, Hello to the Classics". Fly Global Music Culture. http://www.flyglobalmusic.com/fly/archives/europe_features/new_jazz_station_goodbye_to_th.html. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  14. ^ a b "Adult alternative a magnet for affluence," Billboard, 8/6/94, Vol. 106, Issue 32.
  15. ^ Robert Feder, "It's mayhem in a.m. on six radio stations," Chicago Sun-Times, October 25, 1988.
  16. ^ Robert Feder, "New Saturday shows follow Pee-wee's lead," Chicago Sun-Times, June 2, 1988.
  17. ^ Phyllis Stark, "Hip jazz boosts adult alternative radio," Billboard, 4/15/95, Vol. 107, Issue 15, p. 10.
  18. ^ a b Eric Boehlert, "Adult alternative embraces AC hitmakers," Billboard, 4/23/94, Vol. 106, Issue 17.
  19. ^ Michele Botwin, "Paul Hardcastle's Jazzmasters are choice of adult alternative radio," Billboard, 7/16/94, Vol. 106, Issue 29.
  20. ^ Carrie Borzillo, "Meeting adult alternative's unique needs," Billboard, 4/22/95, Vol. 107, Issue 16.
  21. ^ Phyllis Stark, "Power ratios study finds adult alternative top gainer," Billboard, 4/1/95, Vol. 107, Issue 13.
  22. ^ Phyllis Stark and Eric Boehlert, "3 more stations flip to adult alternative; River City moves to purchase Keymarket," Billboard, 4/8/95, Vol. 107, Issue 14.
  23. ^ "Call Sign History (WDAF-FM)". http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=8609&Callsign=WDAF. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  24. ^ "Call Sign History (KZJK)". http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=54425&Callsign=KZJK. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  25. ^ "Call Sign History (WBUF)". http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=53699&Callsign=WBUF. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  26. ^ "Call Sign History (WVMA)". http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=69570&Callsign=WVMA. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  27. ^ a b Fisher, Marc (2008-03-09). "Smooth Jazz: Gentle Into That Good Night?". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030700946.html. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  28. ^ Bentley, Rick (2009-05-01). "Jazz station moves to talk format". Fresno Bee. http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/story/1373796.html. Retrieved 2009-05-03. [dead link]
  29. ^ Moss, Khalid (2009-05-05). "Local radio station changes format". Dayton Daily News. http://www.daytondailynews.com/entertainment/music/local-radio-station-changes-format-107476.html. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  30. ^ Washington, Julie (2009-12-23). "WNWV "The Wave" to flip format from smooth jazz to adult album alternative". Cleveland.com. http://www.cleveland.com/tv/index.ssf/2009/12/wnwv_the_wave_soon_to_flip_for.html. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  31. ^ a b "Dave Koz says: ‘Stop complaining’ about smooth jazz radio’s decline because…". Radio Facts. http://www.radiofacts.com/2009/11/30/dave-koz-says-stop-complaining-about-smooth-jazz-radios-decline-because/. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  32. ^ http://www.wgdr.org/old/quietstorm.html
  33. ^ http://www.fishbowlradionetwork.com
  34. ^ http://www.broadcastarchitecture.com/Press.html
  35. ^ "Jazz FM set to return". Radio Today. 2008-02-28. http://www.radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.3106.2. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  36. ^ "Wheatley to relaunch Jazz FM". Radio Today. 2008-06-29. http://www.radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.3540.2. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 



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