Trying Again

February 6, 2008 at 6:59 pm 2 comments

It’s been about 18 months since I released my last CD. It was titled “A Step Along the Way” and was firmly in the Smooth Jazz vein. I was – and still am – fairly pleased with it, and at the time actually invested a little money in promotion.

Working with All That Jazz, a promotion company which is based in the Las Vegas area, I sent copies of the CDs to about one hundred internet, college, public and other radio stations that are willing to play material from new artists. These stations, in turn, report to SmoothJazz.com which tracks play and keeps top 50 charts for both mainstream and indie smooth jazz artists.

All That Jazz works with mainstream smooth jazz artists (which you see if you stop by their website) and also have a Developing Artist Program, which I qualified for. In the past I had tried to interest them in my previous work. This CD was the first they felt had some cuts that would work well on Smooth Jazz radio. The people at All That Jazz were terrific – totally above board, and they even made an extra effort to help. In spite of all of this, the results were disappointing. I did get some decent airplay, but not enough to warrant any further promotion.

This disappointment, coupled with two other factors (which I’ll get into in a second), led me to abandon my efforts at composing and recording more Smooth Jazz material. Instead, I have spend the better part of this time working on my vintage instrumental arrangements, many of which have been the topics of posts here. This has been loads of fun and very rewarding. I even think there might be some commercial potentials with this material – boomers seem to get particularly nostalgic when they hear them. However the cost of obtaining copyright clearances and one of the factors affecting my interest in releasing Smooth Jazz have prevented me from releasing this stuff commercially.

Factor One: This applies to both the potential for selling either my vintage instrumentals or smooth jazz material. Basically, people are just buying many fewer CDs today. I’m sure you’ve read about this. The pattern of sales for my CDs bears this out. I released my first Smooth Jazz CD, Up All Night, in 2003. I have sold ten times as many of those as I have my most recent CD. Most of those sales were in its first year. Compounding this is the reality that there are about a zillion more indie artists – most of them excellent and deserving of attention – competing for those smaller sales volumes. Downloads have partially taken up the slack, but not completely.

Factor Two: I have, quite frankly, been extraordinarily disappointed with every single mainstream Smooth Jazz release I’ve bought or listened to in the past year or so. This includes albums from artists I quite literally revere – Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Chuck Loeb, Fourplay, for example. So much seems totally formulaic, stale, uninspired, etc. Maybe it’s just me – I have not kept track of how these albums have sold. Maybe their fans like them and buy them. I am certainly inclined to blame the record companies – these guys have decades of superior work behind them and I firmly believe if they were allowed to try new things and stretch out, they would do more marvelous things. I don’t think the record companies let them in the Smooth Jazz area. It seems many of them are getting involved in other things now, perhaps as an alternative outlet for their considerable creativity.

Anyway, this venting has essentially been a prelude to introducing three new tracks I’ve been working on for the past couple of months. I’d be very interested if you would care to comment on them – especially if you are a fan of Smooth Jazz.

The first track is called, appropriately enough, Trying Again. You might note a bit of a Reggae feel underneath things. It’s basically the same rhythm I use in my arrangement of Sukiyaki, which you can find in an earlier post.

The second track is called Gerry’s Song. This is because I borrowed a chord change that identifies Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey, recorded by Gerry and the Pacemakers and written by Gerry Marsden (which also appears in another earlier post).

The third track is called New Home Again. This title is the result of a listserve to which I belong having moved its server for the third time in the past few years. With a simple guitar, keys, bass, drums instrumentation and a kind of fast jazz-waltz feel, this track is bit more “straight ahead” than the other two, which are firmly in the Smooth Jazz vein.

Here are the links to listen:

Trying Again
Stream
MP3
Gerry’s Song
Stream
MP3
New Home Again
Stream
MP3

I could post charts if there is any interest. Leave a comment to that effect and I’ll add them.

Entry filed under: Guitar, Jazz, Smooth Jazz.

Sally’s Midnight Blues Feverish

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Smooth Jazz Redux « Jazz and Classic Pop Music  |  July 31, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    […] It has been quite some time since I made a smooth jazz recording. As I have noted in at least one prior post, I have recently found tiresome virtually the entire genre. As such, my attention has been devoted […]

    Reply
  • 2. Another Revision « Jazz and Classic Pop Music  |  August 12, 2010 at 6:33 am

    […] also continue to like very well. It is called “Trying Again” and dates from early 2008. When I posted about it then, the notes indicate I was trying to see if I could return to the smooth style which had recently […]

    Reply

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