Sunday, November 1, 2009

California the definitive Smooth Jazz hub of the US

California could be dubbed Smooth Jazz hub of the United States. Smooth Jazz has its most success as a radio format and radio is the powerful force behind this fast growing music that is most popular among middle agers.

The Californian landscape is dotted with Smooth Jazz dedicate channels as we found out on a recent visit. The diehard stations are Radio Free KJLH 102.3 FM (Los Angeles), WAVE 94.7 FM (Los Angeles), The River 105.5 FM (Modesto), K Jazz 102.3FM (Palm Spring), Bridge 96.1 FM (Redding), KSSJ 94.7 FM (Sacramento), KIFM Smooth Jazz 98.1 FM (San Diego), Magic 106.3FM (Santa Barbara) KJZY 93.7FM (Santa Rosa), KMYT 94.5 FM (Temecula).

Offbeat must mention Saddleback College radio KSBR Jazz 88.5 FM, a radio station that airs New Age/World & Roots Reggae music, features much of Smooth Jazz live performance from various locations in the LA area (Kevin Melvin hosts a Smooth Jazz show on weekends).

A sub of jazz, Smooth Jazz had its influence in R&B, funk and pop and was established as a commercially viable music in the mid –late 1970. Among the early pioneers were Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour, Grover Washington Jr, and bands such as Spyro Gyro, Foreplay. The saxophone followed by the guitar are the featured instrument of Smooth Jazz.

From San Diego Melanie Maxwell, managing Editor & Publisher, brings news of the genre in a monthly magazine called Smooth Jazz News. And, while the premier American Smooth Jazz Award ceremony commutes to different US States, California’s highlight of Smooth Jazz is the over two decade running Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival produced by Art Good, host of the nationally syndicated JazzTrax radio show and staged over three consecutive weekends of October.

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