Part one - Here we are in perhaps the craziest year of our lives. Hopefully I can play some music for you that will soothe our souls and give us a break from these troubled times. And what a way to start with the brand new release from the man that has long been considered the prime contender for Smooth Jazz’s saxophone throne, Dave Koz. This album was released October 9th, thirty years and one day since his debut album. It is all new material. Outside of Christmas albums and his fantastic collaboration Summer Horns albums, this is Koz’s first pure Dave Koz release in ten years.
No surprise it has collaborations from many greats from this genre. It was made entirely virtually during the pandemic. It was designed to be released in coordination with and played at Koz’s appearance at this year's Catalina Island Jazz Festival. As with so many things, that did not work due to the pandemic cancelling the festival. Unfortunately it looks like that appearance will not even occur next year due to Dave Koz’s contractual obligations to the Hollywood Bowl. That makes it all the more important to play it on the radio over the next several weeks.
While there are many great songs on this album, I can not imagine beginning with any other than one titled Long Goodbyes. This song was named due to those during the pandemic that had to say goodbye to loved ones, not a permanent goodbye, but hopefully ones that will result in beautiful reunions. Now what additionally makes this an exceptional song is that it features an icon, one of the greatest musical talents of our generation, the one, the only pianist, Bob James.
Dave Koz had just written this song in March when he was contracted by Sandy Shore from Smooth Jazz.com. Schorr was asking many artists to record a song in their homes acapella and submit it for her to play and make people feel good during the pandemic. Koz readily agreed and played an acapella saxophone version which Shore posted. Bob James heard it, loved the song, and played an acapella piano version adding beautiful harmony as only he could. Koz on hearing Bob James’ version immediately knew they must record it together virtually. Koz contacted him and this was the result. I am playing two of the greats Bob James and Dave Koz with Long Goodbyes.
One and one-half years ago I was confronted with my greatest challenge doing this show. I had no interview experience when Crossover media on Madison Ave in New York offered to have an international star, jazz pianist and vocalist Sarah McKenzie drop by our Redding studio for an in person interview about her extraordinary career and to talk about the release of her latest album Secrets Of My Heart. With advice and help from my station colleagues and lots of preparation, I made it through that interview. I was proud of the result but truth be told, it was Sarah that carried me through it. I can not say enough superlatives about this wonderful young lady. It was a fascinating interview. I especially enjoyed her stories about some of the very famous artists she has worked with including Michael Buble, Chris Botti, Michel Legrand with a connection to Miles Davis, Pierre Boussaguet, and others. She gave detailed and interesting answers to everything I asked. She has led such an interesting life and was certainly able to speak at length about it all. It was an amazing educational primer on music. As a result I could not fit it all into one two hour show. Those shows are available in our archives labeled 4-20-2019 and 4-27-2019.
Accompanying her to the interview was her manager Burkhard Hopper who is a London based artist manager. He has kept in touch, recently informing me of one of Sarah McKenzie’s current projects. She was commissioned by the Diablo Regional Arts Association in Walnut Creek (San Francisco, California) in conjunction with Jazz at the Lesher Center For The Arts concert series to create a 60-minute video extravaganza titled ‘MUSIC CONNECTS OUR WORLD’ . It incorporated highly acclaimed musicians from all corners of the globe, who were recording themselves virtually during lockdown. The video concert embraces various styles of music, from choral to pop, from tango to bossa nova, but mostly jazz. It was all arranged and performed, as well as some of it composed by Sarah McKenzie, who was also the event hostess. It is an extraordinary work.
With an introduction by Sarah McKenzie, I will play the grand finale of that concert that was presented on October 3rd. This is an original composition by Sarah McKenzie titled Waiting Here For You. With a vocal and on the keys, Sarah is accompanied by four internationally world renowned musicians on the drums, guitar, bass, and the Hammond organ that have in the past individually performed with Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Michael Buble, and others.
Part two - Billboard top three songs in Smooth Jazz for this week played.
Part three - new releases from this year continued. I have a jazz work that is both new and old. This new album release is never before heard stellar live recordings of the first lady of jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald. It was recorded March 25th,1962 at Ella Fitzgerald’s live performance at the Sportpalast in Berlin. Amazingly it was never released. Now 58 years later, just released on October 2nd by Verve Records this album is titled The Lost Berlin Tapes. What a marvelous chance to hear one of the all time greats at the height of her career.
Part one - turn up the quiet time with five uninterrupted songs in a row featuring new work from Diana Krall.
Part two - favorite songs from the past years of Smooth Jazz.
Part three - classic among classics segment - Grover Washington Jr.
Part four - great memories in music segment - Bette Midler-From A Distance.
Thank you for your support of this program and KKRN.