Friday, December 11, 2009

The Only Constant is Change

If there's one thing that's true about radio, it's that you seldom get to say goodbye. For instance, in my life I've worked at seven stations and never been given the chance to do a last show. Management just doesn't like the “final show” idea.

That's what makes AccuRadio, Inc., the company behind, an employer unlike any other I've encountered in my career in broadcasting, and it's entirely in a good way. Take, for example, the fact that they're allowing me the chance to put up this final blog, knowing it's my opportunity to say goodbye.

Recently, I received an offer to program and host the midday show on WLFM 87.7, the over-the-air radio station which replaced WNUA 95.5 as Chicago's Smooth Jazz station this past May. The opportunity was, quite simply, too good to pass up.

My voice and name will slowly disappear from the site over the next few weeks. However, because of a unique arrangement between my current and future bosses, I will continue to program the music at this site. I will still be here but behind the scenes, making sure the music remains true to our original vision for the site when we launched this past June. isn't going away.

Last but definitely not least, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to every listener who's discovered us during the past six months. The support and encouragement Kurt Hanson, President of Accuradio, and I received along the way were remarkable and indicated to us that we were doing something right. You made the entire endeavor worthwhile. The countless emails, phone calls and comments in the Shoutbox were an incredible motivator. Please keep 'em coming and know that we take every one seriously.

Thank you for listening. To you and your family, we wish you all the blessings of a wonderful holiday season.

Rick O'Dell

Operations Manager – Smooth Jazz

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nominees for the 52nd Grammy Awards

We applaud these UltraSmoothJazz artists on their Grammy nominations announced yesterday:

Chris Botti - In Boston (Best Pop Instrumental Album & Best Long Form Music Video)

Hiroshima - Legacy (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

Booker T. Jones - Potato Hole (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman - Modern Art (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

Spyro Gyra - Down the Wire (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

Beyonce - "At Last" (Best Traditional R&B Performance)

Jim Brickman - Faith (Best New Age Album)

Philippe Saisse - At World's Edge (Best Contemporary Jazz Album)

Randy Crawford & Joe Sample - No Regrets (Best Jazz Vocal Album)

The winners will be announced Sunday, January 31, 2010. The full list of nominees is available here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Traveling Music

One of our loyal listeners, “SaxFan” in Louisville, Kentucky, asked in the Shoutbox last week for a few suggestions on Smooth Jazz CDs which would make for good listening in the car during those long holiday drives. In the car I prefer a CD that has decent energy and a fair amount of hit material. Here are a few that I've always enjoyed listening to through the years while we made our way over the river and through the woods:

Acoustic Alchemy – Reference Point (GRP)

David Benoit – Best of, 1987-1995 (GRP)

Chris Botti – The Very Best of Chris Botti (GRP)

Boney James – Sweet Thing (Warner Bros.)

Jazzmasters – The Greatest Hits (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Joe Sample – Spellbound (Warner Bros.)

And some festive holiday season fare:

The Very Best of Christmas (new release for 2009) (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Making Spirits Bright (featuring G. Albright, R. Elliot, D. Krall and more) (GRP)

Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy)

Boney James – Christmas Present (Concord)

Diana Krall – Christmas Songs (Verve)

Dave Koz & Friends – A Smooth Jazz Christmas (Capitol)

Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel – The Gift (Narada)

Peter White – Songs of the Season (Columbia)

Have I left out anything? Drop me a note (; I'm also on Facebook), and I'll add your suggestions to the list.

Rick O'Dell

Operations Manager –

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Win a Gift Pack of The Year's Best New Releases

We're giving away holiday gift packs featuring the year's best new releases in Smooth Jazz. Included among the CDs in each gift pack is my pick for the year's finest new holiday CD, The Very Best of Christmas on Trippin' 'n' Rhythm Records.

The Very Best of Christmas features Paul Hardcastle, Tim Bowman, Gregg Karukas, U-Nam, Oli Silk and others performing our favorite songs this time of year.

To enter, it's very simple. All you have to do is send me an email to Please include:

1. Your name.
2. Your email address. (And we'll never sell your email address to a third party.)
3. Where you listen to

(You can also enter by regular mail with a letter or postcard to: Rick O'Dell, UltraSmoothJazz, 400 North Wells, Suite 408, Chicago, IL 60654.)

We'll select winners at random starting soon.

What's New at Ultra Smooth

Just added to the playlist:

Cindy Bradley - "Bloom"
CD: Bloom (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Smooth Jazz has always suffered from a shortage of talented women musicians, so it's a treat to introduce this Buffalo-born trumpeter on her major label debut.

Craig Chaquico - "Songbird"
CD: Follow the Sun (Shanachie)

Yes, it's the melody made famous by Kenny G, a tune that's become a standard of Smooth Jazz. For the first time, we get to hear a guitar playing the lead. Much like Paul Brown's take on "Winelight" and Norman Brown's read on "Skating," the effect is ear-catching.

Paul Hardcastle - "The Circle"
CD - The Collection (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Paul's son, Paul Jr., who up to this point has been featured occasionally on his father's CDs only in the liner notes, steps forward to make a statement of his own--on saxophone. That's the younger Paul Hardcastle making a memorable first impression playing all the sax solos.

Everette Harp - "Texas Groove"
CD - First Love (Shanachie)

Doing a little "background check" on the big man, I was stunned to learn this is his 17th year in Smooth Jazz, his debut coming in 1992. Since then, he's lost a ponytail but gained a consistently powerful tone that cuts through on his ninth CD.

Brian McKnight - "What I've Been Waiting For"
CD - Evolution of a Man (Koch)

He's no longer just a smooth crooner. Add in a successful morning show on radio (KTWV/Los Angeles) and his new "Brian McKnight Show" on TV, and you've got a multi-media star in full bloom.


Rick O'Dell
Operations Manager - (

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Smooth Jazz Christmas Your Way

If 22 years of playing Christmas music have taught me anything, it's this: listeners take it very seriously. People absolutely know what they like when it comes to the music of the holiday season. Requests start coming in as early as mid-October, and they don't stop until about the time the final present is unwrapped Christmas day.

That's why, as we launch the first ever SMOOTH JAZZ CHRISTMAS channel at, we want to make sure we're doing it right. When you have a moment, please consider these questions:

What are your favorite holiday songs?

Which ones should we absolutely add to our Christmas music channel?

At the same time, which Christmas songs should we avoid playing?

Some titles and artists would be most helpful.

Drop me an email:

We'll be incorporating your suggestions into Smooth Jazz Christmas this holiday season, and we'd really appreciate your input. Thanks!

Rick O'Dell - Operations Manager -

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coming Soon . . .


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