As I said time and again, few things carry a greater feeling with them than being in the air, en route to as far away from your everyday normal as possible.
Yep, I’m on a plane again. :) In part, I’m writing to stave off the soporific effects of being in the air; apparently, I have that little quirk that makes me go zonk regardless of how much coffee I drink beforehand. In another part, I am finally int he great position where I can think about something other than paying my bills, politics, what I’m seeing in the news, etc.
In a twist of…I don’t even know what…I’m seated next to someone who was, at one point, working at the Boston smooth jazz station before it went country. In the ensuing conversation, I started contemplating as to exactly how much things have done a 180 in the past almost 6 years that I’ve been attending shows (the graphic design/photo stuff followed later, but the shows began in college). It’s not a new contemplation. I think on this pretty much on every trip. But the more time passes, the more it dawns on me that I’m probably the luckiest person on the face of the earth to be surrounded by the people that I have gotten to know.
It’s interesting. I may be an atheist, but I don’t believe in coincidences.
It also got me thinking that, now that I’m working somewhere other than the CPA firm (which doesn’t quite eliminate the fact that I will be doing taxes in tax season anyway as a freelancer – taking the RTRP exam this winter, I hope, and then getting enrolled in school), the possibilities for my travel suddenly have opened up. I still remember Berks 2010 with a degree of fondness; it was not my first grand event (having gone to the All Star Cruise 2009 and Jammin’ in Jamaica before), but it was a one-of-a-kind trip. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to go back since then…until, hopefully, sometime soon.
It’s odd. Not that being an accounting admin had ever stopped me from traveling as I saw fit, but I’ve held off on going to certain events out of sheer courtesy for my employers. Now that the employment has changed, suddenly, there’s more possibilities. More destinations. And who knows where I’m going to end up on my next adventure?
As I’m in the air, I’m also wondering where the genre is heading as a whole. Smooth jazz has always been a niche genre, and now that the radio stations had clutched their pearls and flipped, it’s become even more so. But I notice that the fan base and the listenership base are steady, and not only that, it’s starting to expand as the new artists – younger, fresher, different – are entering the genre. It’s probably always going to be a niche because the focus is on the talent as opposed to showtime special effects, but it is encouraging, to say the least, to see that it’s not going anywhere, and apart from that, there is new growth potential with new artists.
I will confess myself to being a little bit of a stalwart when it comes to some things. Not that I won’t go with the flow, but when it comes to my music, I like seeing certain constants. Certain artists, whom I had grown up with, and whom I enjoyed from my first forays into jazz, I almost require hearing in any station/music medium that I choose. Spyro Gyra, Special EFX, Boney James, Down to the Bone – they are all staples in my collection, and in my Pandora station. Much as I like the fact that the new blood is bringing in a young, fresher crowd – hell, even people my age as they figure out that hey, sometimes relaxing music is a really great thing, and sometimes it’s really not what it seems like – it makes me ask how long it would be before they discover the music that others had grown up on, and music well before their time, and wonder why they didn’t hear it before. And it also makes me wonder, is there an advertiser willing to take that idea and engineer a workable plan out of it?
Because it’s not as though people won’t go for smooth jazz if it were presented by a mass-medium in a positive way. When Boney James’s Contact soared to the top of the Billboard charts, Z-100 made a note of it. And Z-100 is about as far away from contemporary jazz as it can get. I would bet you good money that a chunk of the listeners of Z-100 thought, “Hey, I think I can check this out” and ended up buying the album. And that’s exactly it: a mass medium, in this case a top-40 station, had a positive representation of a niche.
So what’s to say that this can’t be done more? Not enough to take another station away from the format, but enough to shine a spotlight?
Let’s think about that, ladies and gents.