Kenny G.'s Revenge

Little did Racket expect that a bevy of Bayou City smooth-jazz fans would be so willing, ready and eager to come to the defense of smooth jazz, a genre Racket recently dismissed as "syrupy," "pure pap for non-people," and "waiting room/porno soundtrack music," with fans about as sophisticated as Boomhauer from King of the Hill ("RIP, KIKK," November 14). Boy, was he wrong. Let the readers speak:

Let me get this straight, asshole. The trailer-trash mentality who listened to KIKK were real music fans, but those who like smooth or light jazz "don't really like music"? What planet are you from? Yes, I know I just made a value judgment about musical taste with the initial comment, but that was to get your attention. The truth is, it is the height of arrogance for anyone to judge what is universally good and not good for someone else in terms of taste in music or any art form. How dare you try to diminish someone as a person because he happens to like a type of music that you find distasteful. Would you suddenly snub friends you found were drawn to this or other types of artistic expression you find lacking? You just discredit yourself with this kind of drivel, but I wouldn't expect you to see that. Crawl back under your rock, Boomhauer. -- Jim Brennan

Mark my words, Jim. Should any friend of mine confess they were drawn -- like a june bug to a bug zapper, as it were -- to the molasseslike audio morass that is smooth jazz, I would drop them like Dubya dumped Kenny Boy. If I found a Yellowjackets tape on her person, I would divorce my wife. I would disinherit my son if I discovered a Spyro Gyra CD among his personal effects. Should I find a Nelson Rangell album under any of their beds, I would have the men in white suits come and take my aged relatives away to psychiatric wards. Then I would head back under my rock.

Please tell that writer who complained about KIKK giving way to smooth jazz that not all of us have a desire to listen to a whiny story with a twanging guitar about a guy crying in his beer because his woman left him for his best friend while he was a-fishin'. I have tried to like country music and have long found it downright repulsive. I also believe rap is not real music, but I'm usually outvoted by those who do. There are two stations left devoted to the hillbilly rhetoric, so you can't complain that it's gone. Jazz, on the other hand, isn't as well represented.

Has anyone noticed the correlation between the increase in popularity of country music and the increased prescribing of antidepressants? Think about it.

While there are some elements about the new jazz station that I hope improve (namely, playing stuff that isn't jazz and belongs somewhere else), it takes a certain talent to compose, arrange, sing and play jazz, unlike rap and the manufactured music that sells very well.

And while on the subject of complaint -- New Orleans is supposed to be "the birthplace of jazz" but has a hard time having a full-time jazz station. Smooth jazz appeared in 1994 and disappeared exactly two years later. There was another smooth-jazz station recently, but it went off the air earlier this month after only a year. Good music doesn't sell as well when the buying public believes that a warbling Macy Gray actually "sings."

I am one of those who welcomes The Wave. Finally, a station that plays real music for those of us who know what it sounds like. Now if I could just get them to play more Bobby Caldwell, Basia and Boz Scaggs's last CD… -- Amy O'Donnell

Yes, Amy, New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, the place where they know the stuff best. That's why it's no surprise that smooth jazz didn't make it there. Smooth jazz is to real jazz as Popeyes is to Emeril's, and the good people of the Crescent City ain't buying. Instead, they're packing the clubs where Irvin Mayfield, Kermit Ruffins, Nicholas Payton, any of the hundred or so members of the Marsalis family and the city's dozens of young brass bands play, and tuning in to the 15 hours of real jazz broadcast every day on public station WWOZ. To belabor the food analogy, going to New Orleans and listening to smooth jazz on the radio is like going to San Antonio and dining exclusively at Taco Bell.

As for the country-antidepressants correlation, it would be pretty funny if only it were true. Obviously country's popularity has been in decline. Why else would KIKK be shutting down? And what is smooth jazz anyway but a sort of audio antidepressant? In fact, a better name for The Wave would be Radio Ritalin.

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John Nova Lomax
Contact: John Nova Lomax