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Style Quarterly Magazine .

© 2015 Style Quarterly • All Rights Reserved.

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n this article, my featured guests happens to be two of

the coolest guys on the Contemporary Jazz scene. The first

is Southern California’s very own chart-topping guitar-

ist, writer, and producer Nils, who’s currently celebrating

the release of his new album (after more than 3 years).

The other is Baltimore, Maryland’s keyboard extraordinaire

David Bach, who recently flew in to discuss the formu-

lations of a new project to be produced by Nils. The three of

us decided to meet at a centralized cool spot in Studio City,

which offered a pleasant canopy-like setting sheltering us

from the sweltering heat on one of the hottest days of the

summer to discuss “

The Current State of Contemporary Jazz



ver the past several years I’ve been ask-

ing musicians, D.J.’s and industry execs

about their point of view regarding the

current state of Contemporary and Smooth Jazz,

and more specifically the sustainability or the

future of the genre. Many are shaking their fin-

ger at terrestrial radio for their over-saturation

and over-commercialization of a regurgitated

programmed sound that hindered the creativity

of yesteryear’s and today’s artist.

Listen, I get it, people love familiarity; if

they’ve never heard it before and it rubs

them the wrong way, then you better

play something they have - and quickly,

otherwise they’re packing their bags and

off they go to the next station.

Remember when radio was essential? Or,

perhaps when it seemed like they cared

about the music? If a song was on the radio and

it was a good song people would go to their

favorite retail oulet and buy it - or whenever

they went to a concert or a night club they

expected to hear it. A good Club or Mobile D.J.

knows how to mix and blend the


along with the familiar, he’s bent on building

a reputation for himself by becoming known

for breaking and introducing new songs or just

being the first to play a song that could become

the next hit. People trusted radio and D.J.’s to

feed their need for music and current events

surrounding the entertainment community

locally and abroad.

I understand this dilemma from a specific angle

considering I spent 15 years as a local Jock play-

ing at notable Night Clubs and running my own

Mobile D.J. Service. During this time I promot-

ed various events in the Los Angeles area. As a

Record Pool Director, presiding over 125 D.J.’s I

would issue D.J.’s with the latest promotional 12”

vinyl records from the labels and then reported

back to the labels with an accurate feedback

as to what was hot and what was not, all the

while working at two music trade magazines


This “commercialized-sound” forced musicians

to adhere to a style that became more imitated

and saturated rather than offering a newness

that would broaden the spectrum while opening

doors to a variety that would garner a freshness

that could only benefit the genre by introducing

new artists, new sounds and new life.

Nils’ Comment


“I am very excited about Internet radio and in-

ternet TV stations becoming a new force in the

music industry. It seems there is a fresh

wind coming with these stations that

offer a broader playlist, less commercials

and are now easily accessible even in your

car. From an artist point of view they are

easier to access and should be part of the

groundwork every artist undertakes to

get his or her CD promotion campaign

rolling. They also help to close the gap

that a declining radio format left open.

There is a big difference in exposure a new

single can get from when Pacific Coast Highway

was number one 10 years ago to today. See my

blog article writing-a-dying-art/

. I know the fans are still

there, and I am optimistic that we can find a

new and even better way to connect with them

through internet radio and social media. By

taking the time to answer e-mails and offering

personalized/autographed CDs on my website

to establish a closer bond with my audience.

Nils’ Social Channels:



Don | Nils | David

Hangout: Aroma Coffee & Tea • Studio City, CA

Photo: The Anonymous Press

Style Quarterly • California Style





Don Martin | Publisher

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