Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let's Just Power Forward

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:

Bon, Bon, Bon. I share your sadness regarding Mr. Tisdale. I am not any great fan of basketball or for that matter any of the gladiatorial arts. I prefer violins to violence -- though, oddly, I prefer sex to sax. But I developed an appreciation for cagers as a result of Mr. Tisdale's grace off the court. When I heard he had passed, my heart sank, but then it rose, because it was following him to his final destination.

Who will now take the torch?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Bon Schmidt: First Wayman Tisdale passes away, and then we learn that premier Smooth Jazz oasis KKSF has been raped by Clear Channel and turned into a 70s rock station...it has been a bad bad time. SJ hater Brad Kava reports about it here. It is a hard time for the fans of the smooth. Be strong, my breatheren.

Obviously a station is not as mighty as a soul, and Wayman Tisdale, a man who enjoyed two huge careers in one brief lifetime, shown brighter than most. His 1989-90 season with the Kings was that which basketball legends are made of. His 2001 mind-blower FACE TO FACE retaught the world what a bass could sound like (and "When I Open My Eyes" warms my soul like a soft down blanket). He fought his cancer like he played on the court, like he grooved to the audience. We will miss him.

To my man Quent...a man who I truly have the deepest of feelings for...in a time when my feelings are flowing like the Yangtze River drank from by one of the Five Chinese Brothers...this is a rough time. We need to get back to the smooth.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Make It Ruff, Make It Smooth

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:

The other day I was in La Jolla and happened to run into Bon Schmidt at a record store. He was buying a Jan Hammer record, so I can tell you first that he is a man of his word, assuming that word is "smooth." We shook hands and he left. Later, much later, I noticed that he had slipped a note into my pocket. I don't know how he did it. It was a note about keeping the faith, and it was inspiring enough that I will reprint it in full here:

"Quent," it says -- he calls me "Quent" -- "there is rough and there is smooth in life, and we should never be afraid to admit that we like smooth, for we are the monarchs of our own life, and a good monarch prefers peace to war, prosperity to poverty, and ease to difficulty. If I am a monarch, music is my kingdom, and smooth jazz is the key to that kingdom. Go on like butter, Bon."


Sunday, April 26, 2009


Bon Schmidt: There was a neighbor of mine who was always trying to get me to listen to the Yardbirds, Blue Cheer, Led Zep…all of that stuff…when we were lads. I, in turn, tried to make him understand the true genius of Stanley Clarke and Spyro Gyra. As would be expected, we had little to relate to on the music end, and focused more on our joint appreciation of rollerblading. I took him to a Gyra concert a few years ago, and he totally flipped; since he passed the bar, the guy seems to have really gotten his head together about what I have been trying to hip him to (I have no idea if there is a connection).
So he took me kicking and screaming to the Jeff Beck show at the Fox Theater in Oakland last week and OH MY JIMENY the show I witnessed took my breath away. The Fox is a beautifully restored theater for starters. When Beck hit the stage, it was obvious from the first note that something special was going on. I was expecting banal rock antics. Instead, I got a smoother Jeff Beck…instrumental with a bass player that was RIGHT UP THERE with the feel and suavity of a Sting or Nathan East….and look again: it is a GIRL by the name of Tal Wilkenfeld! The two really locked in and the sounds were oh so pleasing…think of some of Joe Sample’s recent stuff. Near the ending of the show, they both played her bass…Beck on the lower strings…forming a momentary relationship that was as unique and dare I say it ROMANTIC as any one of I have seen on a stage in a long time. Long Live Jeff Beck and welcome to the smooth side.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Markets Are Broken

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:
I was recently vacationing in Naples. Naples, Florida, that is. I have come over the years to love 107.1 FM, your headquarters for smooth sounds and easy living. In recent years, it has migrated to 100.1 FM. This time, though, even that was no more. I was gobsmacked. When I got home, I looked all around the Internet until I found this account. We must stop the bleeding. Smooth jazz is being shoved out of the way rudely by "an upbeat, high-energy, rhythmic selection of songs intended to make you 'feel good.'" Sirs, I do not feel good. I feel robbed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Bail Out We Can Believe In...

Tweez sez: What proof of the prejudice running rampant in our country right now? While the government and media are obsessed with AIG, GM, Citibank and other temples of wanton greed, a critical sector of monumental national interest is being left to flounder. Muzak, the font of creativity that gives the gift of Muzak to every dentists office across this great country of ours is going bankrupt. And yet Geitner is silent. And to my knowledge, Obama is still yet to make a statement on his administrations response to the collapse of the Muzak sector. Use this email link to make your voice heard. And remember. We have a right to bear arms people!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Braun Over Brains

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:
So happy that Boney James came up, because it gives me a chance to also point the smooth jazz finger of distinction at his sometime collaborator, the trumpeter Rick Braun. The two of them once did a supersmooth superurban supercover of "Grazing In the Grass." Does everyone remember? I don't have much more to say about Braun, except this:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

...his name is B-O-N-E-Y

Bon Schmidt: Where have we gone with this blog? Talk of cruises? Nephews? Frakin’ Allen Kepler? ALLEN KEPLER? That guy ain’t cool…he is a douche…everybody knows that. Good taste in music does not an icon make, car-peesh? HE IS A FAILED TRUMPET PLAYER! Why do you think Norman Brown took off and won the Grammy without him?
Okay, I cannot verify that last factoid, but I can relate this: I thought we were theoretically pontificating about MUSIC in this space…the stuff that stirs us to the souls of our bones…to that deep place where the work-a-day world tries to get to, but only the smoothest of sounds can.
I have been reading these posts and feeling wirey, my friends. And that—THAT--is when I turn up the Boney. Boney James, ladies and gentleman. The Urban Smooth Jazzer. The former winger to Morris Day, The Isley Brohers and the legendary Bobby Caldwell. HE is the natural offspring of the Kenny “Starbucks” G movement…hell, he even brandished the hair!
I snuck into the Warner Bros. Records building to see him play for the staff pre-Sweet Thing (1997). He played his heart out and the mostly older female audience (sexy) was triumphantly absorbed. To me, that era was thee finest…muy sweet, muy smooth…the Rufus cover (title track), the flowing solo on “It’s All Good”, Peter White’s accordion and AL JARREAU!!!! Pure goodness.
What’s more, guru Paul Brown produced a record here that shows off the sexiness of the new Bryson C-Series! Not many records can boast that!
A decade later I saw a Boney again flow a fantastic Smooth Jazz All-Star Cruise (admittedly)--you can espy me (if you don't blink) grooving on the youtube video of Stone Groove (my hair was a little shorter then). Boney takes R&B and smooths it out to the groove that I truly love.
Let’s stick to music, fellas….and I dare you to beat the Boney.

Blood Is Thinner That Smooth Jazz

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:
I have a nephew who hates smooth jazz and as a result I hate him. Still, he is my breeder sister's offspring and so I am obligated to listen to him go on about his "Black Lips" and "Ponytail" and "White Stripe" and whatever other wretched music is being dumped into the cavity between his ears. The other day he called me. He was out west, in a city he would not name, and he stumbled upon a performance by Chuck Mangione. What? That's what I said: "What?" He told me that he went in and stood at the back of the hall and listened to Mr. Mangione and his band. "He played some meandering formless thing that went on for ten minutes," he said. "It was like being hit in the head by a foam hammer."
Was it "Love the Feelin'?" I said, referring of course to one of the anchor tracks of his 1976 album "Main Squeeze."
"Whatever," he said.
I am sure it was "Love the Feelin'." And one day I will love the feelin'...of disowning him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Love Boat

Errm. How on earth where we left out of the loop on this? The Smooth Jazz Cruise? There have been seven annual sailings. Who knew? I never learned to swim, but that would not stop me heading down to Half Moon Cay with the likes of Euge Groove and the finger-tastic Jake Shimabukuro.

Smooth Jazz has, of course, been the official music of cruisin', ever since this...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Allen Kepler for President

Tweezer Cohen opines: There are two types of people in this world. Those who like their Smooth Jazz on the classic side (and lord knows there are enough members of this web site fraternity who can you bore you drooly about that dust covered historical irrelevancy.) and those who like their sounds on the Fresh side. The question is... who turns you onto Smooth Jazz innovation? Who is the voice of progress? Gives you your fix? Is the pusherman, so to speak? The answer for me to each of the last questions is Mr. Allen Kepler, the host of the Smooth Jazz Top 20 countdown on the Smooth Jazz Network. If there was a Pullitzer for Smooth Jazzery, Kepler would have a very full shelf-above-the-fireplace if you know what I mean. And with his angular cheekbones, Roman nose and articulate eyes, he is an all round model for today's smooth jazz listening youth. If anyone else can name me a more influential progressive force in our community, I would love to hear from you...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lookin' like Mr. G

We asked you for your Kenny G look-a-likes and you answered. This was sent in by Marlene in WIndsor, Ontario of her boyfriend, Ahmed. "Kenny G with a deviated septum" she says. We hear you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It is with great sadness that I share the following information with you.  From Jazz Times...

Two members of flugelhornist Chuck Mangione's band were among the 50 people killed on the plane that crashed into a Buffalo, New York house Thursday night.  Publicist Sanford Brokaw told the Associated Press that flutist Gerry Niewood (pictured) and guitarist Coleman Mellett were aboard, en route to a Mangione gig in Buffalo Philharmonic that has now been canceled.  Niewood recorded and performed with Mangione from 1968-76 and sporadically since the late '90's, and also recorded with a wide range of artists including Peggy Lee, Patti Austin , Simon and Garfunkel, Bob James, Lalo Schifrin and Grover Washington Jr.  Niewood also recorded a number of albums as a leader.  Mellett's recording credits include appearances on albums by the Sugarman Three and Eddie Landsberg.  He also released a solo album in 2007 called Natural High.  

Down and dirty flautist

SJ purists may scoff at the soul flute stylings of Jef Kearns, but I for one am overjoyed at the arrival of such a brash and boundary-smashing talent. Kearns brings a dash of urban chic to the comforts of our Smooth Jazz party. One listen to a pulse-racing cut like "Lavender" and you'll agree that this is one down-and-dirty Flautist! Kearns makes his silver stick sing in the best hot love SJ tradition.

Kearns' revolutionary style will surely ruffle some feathers out there, but so what? So what if he arrives in our scene from the distant teeming jungles of urban hip hop? So what if he's got a strange porkpie lid and strange n' youthful close-cropped haircut? So what if the cover art of his debut album "On the Level" is done in that grafitti-marker font heretofore utilized exclusively by blingy MCs? Be not afraid. As the saying goes, "Nu Jazz. No rules."

Yeah, Boy

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:

The other night, I was preparing a post about women in smooth jazz. There was too much pushing and shoving and pulling it out to show it, and I wanted to bring things down to a smoother level. I thought we could be in Japan with Keiko Matsui or in Dutch with Candy Dulfer or in heaven with Joyce Cooling. But my desire to skew female seems to have run into some G-male trouble. Everywhere I look, someone's posting about Kenny G. This guy looks like him. That guy looks nothing like him. The other guy's standing next to him on set. I have nothing against the man -- I love his music -- but the focus on him at the expense of other artists started to depress me, and not even a dose of his sublime "Havana" video, featuring Savion Glover, could lift my spirits.

No. I lied. They were lifted.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dirty Sexy Kenny

My dear friend Bruce Gilbert had the good fortune of hiring Mr. Gorelick to play himself (of course) in an episode of Dirty Sexy Money. According to Bruce, in between takes Kenny would rip lightning from his Soprano golden peace pipe. Here he plays his own rendition of My Favorite Things for a pig playing a cop. Word on the set was that his version was better that 'Trane's. Way better.

Lookin' like Mr. G

Tweezer writes: Fact: Kenny G is God. Fact: Human beings are formed in God's image. (Genesis, 1:26) Question: Why did I have to join the Hair Club then? OK. Am over it. It is however irrefutable that many people around the world, from different backgrounds and of different creeds do resemble Mr. Kenneth Gorelick. And this is what I hope will be a new feature on our site, in which we celebrate him by celebrating them.

First up is Fabricio Coloccini. An Argentinian soccer star who is known for his rugged play and his luxurious locks in equal measure. If you or any one you know has been blessed by the Lord to look like Kenny G. be in touch and we will honor them here!!!

Up In Here

The Bishop here, comin' at ya from Las Vegas, Nevada via Tuscon, Arizona via Hinton, Oklahoma (Great Plains Correctional Facility).  SJF just put my life long love of smoove jazz back on the horse.  It is indeed the wind beneath my wings and as soon as I earn a trip back to the computer lab I'll be right here ruminating all over these velvet walls.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

They Call Him The Breeze

Bon Schmidt: Cut the Tweeze some slack and he takes a melancholy mile--if he wants to divert this flash convo towards the depths of the velvet lining he wears on his sleeve, I wish to restitch and get us back to nows-ville. And while you may not think of George Benson as NOW...one listen to Breezin' and you will remember every brick, every last brak, that he has laid to get us to NOW. Since my last postage all I have been doing is Breezin' through a career flash-cooked by Miles Davis in the 60s, eclipsed by his AM heights in the 70s, to his emergence on the Smooth Jazz charts when they began.
It is raining down on my house right now, but there is a globe of warmth around THIS GUY as Benson's guitar wing-swells blow the air that I need...the air that I breath...all over this black-lit living room. And dig those funky string-pad-laced key slaps. Oooh-we. Try to get the tune out of your head. Try to stop it from letting your body groove into the couch while it takes you up high. This ain't no waxish cover, Tweezer....this is the realio dealio.

George Benson=Apollo Creed?

Uz veselību! Priekā!!!

Tweezer Cohen: There are a couple of things in life I simply hate: Child Molestation. Gil Grissom. And small mindedness. The posts thus far have violated at least one, arguably two of the Tweezerman's code. You guys can talk your talk. But the Smooth Jazz universe is as broad as the Andromeda galaxy and by sticking to the boundaries of this great country of ours, you guys are dooming yourself through your Smooth Jazz parochialism. When I say Jurmala, Latvia, your first response is probably the sanatorium at Pumpuri. But there is more to the town than that. Much more. In the form of one Olegs "Mr. Go" Grisins, they have one of the most talented masters of the Smooth Jazz staple. The cover version. His bass playing is kaleidoscopic. He can take a song as mediocre as Smooth Operator by the overrated wench, Sade and turn it into an anthemic statement of calmness in the storm. If Olegs had had the good fate to be born in Riga, Michigan instead of Riga, Riga, then, mark my words, we would have heard a lot more about this man. So guys. Spare me the big names. Pack your Samsonite and follow me on the road less travelled...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The gentleman

Randy "The Pitstain" Pitowsky here: Tweeze and Bon, I hope it goes without saying that I have nothing but respect for your passion for SJ. You've both made the world a far Smoother place, and for that I'm ever grateful.

But this talk of yours has got off to a Rough start. I love me my Chuck, my Herb and I give all due credit to my Spyro, but any real rap about this music we love so much has got to begin with a flip of the blazer collar to the true gentleman of the artform.

I speak, of course, of Mr. David Sanborn.

Dig this: "A Tear for Crystal" is prime Sanborn, glam and glistening and brimming with the sort of effortless alto runs that make session players weep and the ladies cream their slacks. Backed by Mo "Curly Cue" Mahogany on fretless and Kevin "Kool" Finkel on keys (dig that DX7), Sanborn lays down layer after layer of soft cashmere sounscape before pinching his fabric into a divine seam at the four-minute mark. Listening to this lovely track lo these many years since its 1984 release, it is as smooth as a fragrant breeze off the Marina after a sweet evening strolling the shopping promenade with your suntanned and sandalled lover, the two of you pleasantly buzzed on a chilled peach wine cooler (or heck, three!), heading back to your glass-bricked condo to make tender, uninhibited love... all the while floating on Sanborn's sloshing waterbed of melody, so sweet and smooth it's brutal, violent really, laying waste to all the punk-ass pretenders you cite as the true practitioners of SJ.

You feel me?

FOURPLAY: The Definers Of The Smooth

Bon Schmidt: QE & TC-Part of me wants to hear what you are saying and call it TRUE, but if you want to cuddle the grooves performed in the 70s and 80s, and herald the band that finally defined EVERYTHING that Smooth Jazz stands for, you cannot help but bawl the name of FOURPLAY through the lavender-walled night clubs we ALL call home. Bob James, Lee Ritenour, Nathan East and Harvey Mason. Giants. James—master of the light key touch who singed the sound of Smooth Jazz into the hearts and minds of America through the theme song of the situational comedy TAXI—Ritenour—child prodigy and maybe the most tasty session guitarist of the genre—Mason—who earlier laid the definitive rhythm on George Benson’s Breezin,’ which has become thee modern standard (we gotta get some of that in the mix!)--these guys are leaders and legends. Not a week goes by when I don’t take a small dalliance of time for my person, pour some Harvey’s into the goblet and chill back to Bali Run from Fourplay’s debut 1991 Warner Bros Record (but lets face it, alcohol is totally unneeded when confronted with such a exhilarating groove and splendid beat). While nothing can match the production of the classic LP, the following live video shows the Fab Four of the New Jazz coalescing in musical brotherhood with true celebration in their minds. Bravisimo muchacho.

PS-Miss you Lee, L-O-V-E you LARRY.
PPS-Nice try with Spyro, Tweeze...but everyone knows that the track to beat is Catching The Sun.

You Can't Tamper With the Temple of the Lorber

Notes from Quentin E. Klopjaeger:
I am trapped in an airport now, so I am calling this post in to my assistant, who will record it and send it out to be transcribed. I am writing in praise of the composer and keyboardist Jeff Lorber, a venerable practitioner of the genre who puts all these other pretenders to shame. Lorber (I cannot bear to call him by his first name, so great is my respect for the man) started in fusion, then came to smoothness just as smoothness came to him. While still leading Jeff Lorber Fusion, he hired a young saxophonist named Kenneth Gorelick, who would later prolong his career by shortening his name. Gorelick left for a solo career but Lorber has always been there, smoothing out jazz, whether in the studio or on the stage or in the musical bed of the Weather Channel. Is there another man alive with his clarity of vision? When he performs "Do It Again," he is making the phrase live in sound: he does it again and again and again.


Tweezer Cohen: Schmidster. Don't harsh my mellow. man. Rise came out in 1979. October to be exact. Seven aching months after Spyro Gyra dropped this smooth jazz aural orgazm. 38 second of foreplay. And then, pure, smooth, coitus eruptus. Listen and learn my man.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Bon Schmidt says: I think the Tweeze is walking on the sky-moon. Chuck was not even in diapers when the real king began....Herb Alpert...all the way....nothing better. Herbie wrote the book. This is the shit that birthed Chuck, Kenny, Boney.....name it. Take RISE, the 1979 #1 Hit (on the Pop charts, no less) from the album of the same name: listen to the determination...the reverb-ed blasts and the vocal slaps in the back. True groove with nothing to prove. All good and alllllll the best. Tweeze, I is schoolin' ya.

Feels So Good

Tweezer Cohen: Lets start with the daddy of 'em all. The one that grabs smooth jazz newbies by the nipples and leads them through an odyssey of self-revelation. Undulating guitar. Teasing high hat. And brass that irons out those negative brain vibes.