Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Christmas Time in the City (and Suburbs)

These perennial Chicagoland favorites ought to take the edge off holiday season stress:

Daley Plaza in the Loop invites children to bring their holiday wish lists and have their picture taken with Santa at their Santa House while mom and dad stroll the annual Christkindlmarket through December 24. More information here.

Adler Planetarium presents its final "Star of Wonder" through January 3rd.

Brookfield Zoo's 28th annual "Holiday Magic" runs weekends in December.

Lincoln Park Zoo presents "ZooLights" with free admission through January 3rd.

The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe features the Wonderland Express and miniature Chicago landmarks through January 3rd.

The Promenade Bolingbrook presents "Symphony in Lights," 250,000 LED lights synchronized to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, through December 31.

Navy Pier presents "Winter Wonderfest" every day beginning December 4th.

Win Tickets to "Dave Koz & Friends: A Smooth Jazz Christmas" from ChiTownSmoothJazz!

Santa Koz is Coming to Town December 5 at the Auditorium Theatre

ChiTownSmoothJazz has six pairs of tickets we're giving away next week. To enter, send us an email to Rick@accuradio.com with the following:

1. Your name and daytime phone number.
2. "Dave Koz Concert" in the subject line of your email.

We'll select six entries at random with each winner receiving two tickets to the concert. Entry deadline is Tuesday, December 1, 2009. (To enter by mail, send a postcard with your name, address and daytime phone number to:

Dave Koz Concert
400 North Wells, Suite 408
Chicago, IL 60654)

To purchase tickets to the show, click here.

You won't want to miss the show. Dave will be appearing with the original lineup from his first Smooth Jazz Christmas tour back in 1998: pianist David Benoit, guitarist Peter White, trumpeter Rick Bran and singer Brenda Russell. It promises to be a wonderful, festive night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Traveling Music

One of our loyal listeners, “SaxFan” in Louisville, Kentucky, asked in the Shoutbox last week for a few CDs which would make for good listening during those long holiday driving trips. 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 (Rick@accuradio.com; I'm also on Facebook), and I'll add your suggestions to the list.

Rick O'Dell

Operations Manager – ChiTownSmoothJazz.com

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 Rick@accuradio.com. 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 ChiTownSmoothJazz.com.

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

We'll select winners at random starting soon.

What's New at ChiTownSmoothJazz.com

Just added to the ChiTownSmoothJazz.com 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 - ChiTownSmoothJazz.com (Rick@accuradio.com)

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