In Germany Smooth Jazz is a rather unknown genre. We have no Smooth Jazz format radiostations like in USA. RelaxFM, the first Smooth Jazz radiostation in Munich, will soon stop broadcasting. People without computer and internet connection are dependant on the recommendations of their local cd-store. Which record-salesperson already has knowledge in this genre? I anyway have met only one person. He was my rescue. Through this salesperson, I could buy some samplers of Windham Hill, Shanachie or Heads Up, that procured me a first overview. After I first knew some artists and titles, I could look for more of these records.
But essentially it was the famous search after the pin high and low and not exactly systematic. So, the decision grew in me soon to go into the web and the search continued. With the support of search-engines I found Peter Boehi's Smooth Vibes and John Hildebrand's contemporaryjazz.com. These websites are invaluable and I studied the informations over weeks ordering masses of albums. This was really an expensive quest. But anyway most of the albums were still available and I found many old releases filling the gaps of my collection.
But soon I noticed that these websites didn't show background-information about the individual artists. They offer many reviews, links, charts, new releases, but not a systematic survey about the whole genre. So I started to build up an own website called "Smooth & Soul". I planned namely first to do a website about Smooth Jazz and Soul. Quickly I noticed however that I had completely underestimated the range of the Smooth Jazz genre. My website started in March 1999 and still to this day I haven't add all artist informations, which the web offers.
During this time I met a huge amount of artists in the web. Some are really well-known, a lot are only known by the insiders. I founded the Smooth Jazz Ring to give them a way to promote their albums and many artists and fans joined this ring. The book of artists, a collection of biographies, is still growing. Every week I add several artists and I believe we will have soon more than 1000 artists assembled. Of course I don't understand myself as competition to All Music Guide. But the aware reader will determine quickly that I offer information, that supplements AMG excellently. I add the bios only with the permission of the label or artist respecting the copyright. I have already determined that some websites, from which I could cover the information, are meanwhile missing. Here you will find these informations even in some years.
However more important than the collected information are personally for me the contacts and friendships, that I found in the last years through the web. Discussions, chats, emails were the beginning, but it's a real pleasure to meet artists and fans at the gigs I visit occasionally. I regret, that these opportunities are so rare and have planned definetly, to alter that in future.