For many years smooth jazz was widely played on many radio stations throughout the country exclusively devoted to this format. Then it suffered through a precipitous decline and came close to falling off the map. But now it is time to get excited. The resurgence of smooth jazz is unmistakable. More radio stations are again picking up the format. Smooth jazz cruises and concerts are rapidly increasing.
Highly successful sold out or nearly sold out Smooth Jazz concerts this past year occurred throughout the country starting with Seabreeze in Florida in April, continuing throughout the summer and culminating with the 32nd Annual Catalina Island Smooth Jazz Festival in October. Also of note is the sudden emergence of a rising number of very talented young, new artists joining many veterans of thirty years or more from this format.
We are finding these young artists recently dominating the top of the charts. In the middle of this hour, we will see if that trend continues with guitarist Adam Hawley having Billboard’s number one for the past three weeks and having achieved four number ones out of only so far two albums released in a career that just started in 2016.
Also on only her second album with a previous number one is the very talented pianist, singer, and composer Kayla Waters, daughter of smooth jazz superstar saxophonist Kim Waters. From the age of six, she studied classical piano and eventually earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Howard University. As a performer, she made her debut playing on several of her father's albums before launching her own career. Last week she held onto Billboard’s number two song with the song Zephir an early release from her latest album Coevolve. That album was just released October 26th and already debuted this week at number 14 on the jazz albums chart. Tonight’s music begins from that fantastic brand new album.
Another of smooth jazz’s brightest new performers is saxophonist Jazmin Ghent. Her new album is titled The Story Of Jaz. It was first available in conjunction with her headliner appearance at the recent middle of October Catalina Island Jazz Festival. We will here her sax accompanied by the keys of Jeff Lorber, leader of the Jeff Lorber Fusion on the song Amends.
Devoting this segment to bright new smooth jazz stars, next we have violinist Josh Vietti. His career had a slow start as a street musician in Santa Monica but has since blossomed. He headlined the Friday evening performance of the second weekend of the recent Catalina Jazz Festival He released in June his second album this year, the album Serenade. From that album we will hear his rendition of the song Let me Love You.
After our look at this week's Billboard's top three songs in smooth jazz for this week, our new releases will focus on brand new work from some of the 30 plus year veterans of this format. I have new releases from Herb Alpert, Brian Simpson, Gerald Albright, Jeff Lorber, and Paul Brown.
In our second hour, turn up the quiet time, I have another song from that brand new September 14th release of the album Love Is Here To Stay that has now topped the charts for an unbelievable seven straight weeks in a row as Billboard’s number one jazz album. Sure to be one of the great celebrated duets of all time, Diana Krall and 92 year old icon Tony Bennett have combined their incredible voices on this album of twelve songs.
This hour is devoted to playing more classics from smooth jazz and will wind up tonight with perhaps my most played artist, guitarist Peter White. From his album Groovin’ he will play I Never Knew Love Like This Before.
Next week will start the month of December with lots of Christmas music, both smooth jazz and traditional.