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About Us

Information about The Smooth Jazz Ride & staff

The Smooth Jazz Ride is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and website devoted to the preservation of contemporary jazz by providing album reviews, artist interviews, smooth jazz news, and a host of other features designed to get and hold the interest of the contemporary jazz aficionado. We do not directly sell any products but do provide music purchasing information for those interested in purchasing the products we review or profile here.  Ours is an informational website, and we hope you enjoy its many features time and time again. It is your interest that keeps us–and the genre–alive.

About the President:

Ronald JacksonPresident and Chief Editor

Ron has been a music aficionado for decades. In fact, he was a vocalist, guitarist,  and writer in the R&B, Blues, and Classic Rock genres from his preteens on through five decades and counting! He has also enjoyed Smooth Jazz, New Age, World, and Latin music for decades. After reluctantly deciding to relinquish his dream of becoming a national performer, he chose to use his professional writing skills (having minored in English in college and working as a writer with several Federal agencies for over 30 years before retiring) to make this significant contribution to this industry he so loves.

Ron developed a deep love for contemporary/ Smooth Jazz beginning in 1990 and has chosen that genre as his main focus, though he has now opened the door for a couple of his other musical loves, as well (as seen here on the Latin Fiesta and Blues Bus pages). He also hosted his creation, Smooth Conversations on BlogTalkRadio, for several years and is currently preparing to “resurrect” that radio program via a different host medium soon.

Being quite adept at all things music, and having established a working and personal relationship with many artists, labels, and various PR personalties, he is certainly the perfect “driver” to steer The Smooth Jazz Ride.

Ron doesn’t operate alone. He is surrounded by a competent staff including reviewers, coordinators, a photographer, and IT people. Key players include:


Aira Olave

Vice President/Director of Operations

Aira attended Queens College in Queens, NY. As a youth she performed in many school and community plays such as The Life of James Bland, Peter Pan, and Abe Lincoln.Aira Olave

During the mid-70s, she performed with the Bland Steel Drum Band (a musical group consisting of four inspired teen-age girls).  She has also worked with non-profit organizations where she has advocated for numerous humanitarian causes.

As the Director of Operations for The Smooth Jazz Ride, she’s involved in all aspects of the operation; from human resources, social media, and even as photographer whenever the need arises. She has also served as a co-host of The Ride’s Smooth Conversation radio show.

In the rare hours when she is not on the “Ride,” she enjoys live music, reading, and riding this sweet roller coaster that we call life. She’s active on Facebook; so, stop by and say hi!

 

Rene Taniguchi
Deputy Director of Operations
Editor, Smooth Jazz Festivals and Events Calendar

Rene says that music has always been a constant in her life, growing up with a wide variety of genres and romantic pop bands in the San Francisco Bay Area. From there, her tastes in music took a significant turn with Carlos Santana’s AMIGOS album, where the blisteringly soulful guitar licks, multilayered blend of jazz fusion, Latin Jazz and extended instrumentals stirred something in her soul. The search to find that ‘right sound’ went on for years until she found her home in 1987 with San Francisco’s KKSF-FM, one of the early leaders of the Smooth Jazz format.  She was a proud member of the KKSF Listener Advisory Board until the station folded in 2009.

Rene has a degree in Mass Communications and worked in radio, print, and TV for over 30 years.  She remains busy in the music world, working with Contemporary artists Michael Lington, Oli Silk, Rocco Ventrella, as well as promoters and producers as an On-Site Artist Assistant, lending her ears to ensure sound quality is its best at soundcheck, among other duties. She has also written numerous newsletters, articles, and concert reviews for various artists and SJ sites and is currently writing a music-themed novel.

“I’m blessed to be able to combine my best talents – writing and sharing my love for Smooth Jazz – with The Smooth Jazz Ride. When the call came for assistance, I knew that this is what I had to do!”

She says, “Going to a live concert and meeting the artists is an exhilarating experience! To be able to thank the musicians for their talents and to get to know them on a personal level is a true honor. Our Smooth Jazz artists are wonderful people, generous and kind.”

A cancer survivor of over six years, Rene has created a music library for the California Pacific Medical Center’s Radiation Oncology Department in San Francisco as a way of giving back to her community. She now offers The Smooth Jazz Ride community her picks of the best and newest festivals and events to share the experience with all smooth jazz fans!

 

Steve Giachardi
Contributing Author, And Then There’s This page
Concert reviewer

In Steve’s own words:

I really found jazz when Anita Ward started to Ring my Bell, and disco sorta lost me at the start of the eighties.

I had grown up on British rock, you know Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Cream, and the blues-based bands. music was very much a hidden thing in those days. However, I somehow found the soul and jazz-funk tip. It became an obsession. I would travel the south of England to listen to DJ’s like Robbie Vincent, Chris Hill, Pete Tong, Dr Bob Jones, Tom Holland. These were guys that were playing imports. Stuff you didn’t hear on the radio except for those specialist shows, Saturday lunchtime and evening, before dance music was anything like it is today.

They were playing people like Charles Earland, Herbie Hancock, The Blackbyrds, BT Express, Brass Construction. Then came disco and now everything was ringing with the sound of the synth drum. I wanted more of “the music,” so I started to explore these names I kept coming across George Benson, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith, and these guys took me back to a whole pantheon of amazing music. That was it, I was hooked, and I started collecting and reading, absorbing everything I could find.

Later, I went on to do pirate radio as Geo the Jazzman for a few years and began writing for a couple of magazines, one free sheet and a couple of respected journals.

Then I became a father. I had to make a choice, and economics won. I gave up the jazz life and went in search of employment.

Well the kids have now grown, and I wanted to get back to what I enjoyed so I started a blog, http://Blewnotes.tumblr.com, on Tumblr. I chose to celebrate the birthdays of Jazz musicians and called the blog Jazziversaries. Three years, later and I’m still doing it.

What an inspiration it has been, the musicians that I have found and the creativity that is around and growing is truly amazing!

I chose to follow this passion of mine, and that’s when The Smooth Jazz Ride appeared from out of nowhere!

Now I’m aboard “The Ride” and thoroughly enjoying it! Thanks, TSJR! I just love getting out there and bringing you, the fan, information on the cool stuff that’s happening in and around London Town. Watch out for so much more!


Liz Goodwin

Contributing Author, Featured Smooth Jazz Artist & TSJR Editorial pages

Liz is a San Francisco Bay Area-based freelance writer who has contributed to several Jazz print publications: Jazziz; Jazz Now; Windplayer; and Pacific Sun, a weekly paper based in Marin County. She most recently has written profiles for AllAboutJazz.com.

She worked for seven years as an Editorial Assistant/Staff Writer for a daily newspaper, the Alameda Times-Star, before the paper ceased operations due to military base closures, and the usual resulting economic realities.

While not writing and listening to music, she loves sports (particularly the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers); singing; films; photography; collecting Jazz-related books and CDs; spending time with her family and friends; and meeting new people.

She first became aware of The Smooth Jazz Ride upon browsing for jazz websites. The logo and the site in general looked so colorful, friendly, and inviting! Hence, it was difficult to resist. She was especially drawn by the content of the articles. Liz says, “The site embraces an abundance of talented artists who are sometimes overlooked, in spite of their gifts. That’s always an encouraging sign!”


Dwynn Barr

Staff Photographer &
IT Consultant

Dwynn Barr

Dwynn says: I am a digital media and IT support specialist with over 20 years of experience in the areas of photography, video, and IT graphics support .  I discovered early in life that I had a love for photography, jazz, and electronics. As fate would have it many years later, I discovered The Smooth Jazz Ride.  I was so impressed by the site and all it offered, and here I am — the staff photographer  & IT consultant. Who says you can’t have everything?

To me, jazz is a universe in itself, constantly evolving and giving birth to new sounds and stirring emotions. You can be a million miles away, yet still at home.

 

Should you wish to contact one of our departments, see our Contact Us page.