Remembering XM 72 Beyond Jazz

This is the last week of broadcasting for XM satellite radio channel 72 – Beyond Jazz. When I originally decided to get satellite radio over six years ago, the primary reason was to get the jazz channels. The only jazz I could regularly get on the radio in Kansas City was a not-to-my-liking, now-gone smooth jazz station. XM’s music wasn’t even commercial free at the time. Beyond Jazz immediately became the #1 preset and has stayed there since. Russ Davis played what I wanted to hear. When I first subscribed, he had five recordings he was playing heavily – Pat Metheny Group’s Speaking of Now, John Scofield’s Uberjam, Yellowjackets’ Mint Jam, Joe Zawinul’s Faces & Places, and one other that I can’t remember. Those were all winners. In between those anchor recordings was a cornucopia of modern jazz sounds. It was the first time I heard Liquid Soul on the radio. My mouth dropped when he first played the Solsonics. This was my station.

Soon, Russ added classic fusion to the mix and I discovered the origins of a lot of modern jazz. As the years progressed, Russ added more and more songs to the playlist. I don’t know the final count it was in the thousands. Thousands of nu jazz, fusion, acid jazz, plugged-in jazz, new vocalists, jam bands…every type of contemporary jazz style you can think of. Russ had no fear of Squarepusher. He would create shows dedicated to everyone from Miles Davis to Frank Zappa to Dave Samuels to Steve Khan to … well, you name it.

Beyond Jazz was primarily responsible for my returning to the jazz web scene in 2002. I’d originally created ContemporaryJazz.com in 1996 (then called cJazz: The Contemporary Jazz Site) and sold it in 2001. When I got XM, I couldn’t keep silent about XM 72 and had to share this contemporary jazz treasure with everyone. I created tomorrowJazz and promoted the station like crazy. I even contacted XM’s legal departure and signed legal forms so I had beyondjazz.com (wish I’d kept that). I integrated those blog posts in this new ContemporaryJazz.com – read what I had to say then.

I drive a lot and have racked up over 100,000 miles over these years. Beyond Jazz has been my companion, a constant source of inspiration and discovery. I’ve already posted about Russ’ future plans and I’m encouraged that the story isn’t over. However, hearing great contemporary jazz when I first get in the car and having the artist and song display on my dash – that’s over for now. Thank you, Russ Davis. I will miss this station.

51 Comment(s)

  1. I felt that the way Russ and Michelle kept plugging their other sites/contacts had to mean something was up, but I was just floored this morning when Beyond Jazz was gone. This was a terrible move by XM.

    Thanks Russ and Michelle, that was a unique station in all of radio. I won’t post what I think of XM/Sirius today.

    Jeff | Nov 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. There are so few places where this dynamic, creative music can be heard, where the artists have access to the public. How in the world could XM replace this station with mind-numbing “new age” stuff? I’ve already cancelled my XM subscription, and can’t wait to hear from their MoJaRadio.com.

    Roger B | Nov 12, 2008 | Reply

  3. I can’t believe that Beyond Jazz is lost to us forever. This is a terrible day. I’m broken and depressed. What’s the alternative? Michelle’s myspace entry? Arrgghh…

    drPhilGandini | Nov 12, 2008 | Reply

  4. That’s is so wack! I was in for a surprise! I also commute often & it helped me through a long distance relationship for several years! It really made my days too coming home from work, etc. This people lost their damn mind. All I can say is, post direct feedback to XM!
    http://www.xmradio.com/help/emailus.xmc

    dj monkey soul | Nov 12, 2008 | Reply

  5. I too am saddened by the demise of Beyond Jazz. I had a feeling the merger would not bode well for the channel. I called to cancel XM service and after being on hold for 15+ minutes, a customer service rep tried over and over to get me to keep my subscription. He told me the new “Spa” channel was the same programming, which is not even close to the truth. Then he started throwing offers of one/two/etc. months of free service at me. Why would I want to keep the service for a MINUTE longer if they got rid of my channel? Needless to say, after five years I am no longer an XM subscriber.

    RLeone | Nov 12, 2008 | Reply

  6. Sirius and XM are in serious trouble as they are riddled with Debt.They recently lost a customer when I told them that after my last 3 months are up I’m canceling my subscription.
    Russ had a good ear and I bought alot of music that I heard on XM72
    Peace, jason

    jason Miles | Nov 14, 2008 | Reply

  7. I grew up in Toronto listening to a radio station called CFNY FM 102.1. Frank Zappa once called it the only radio station of it’s kind in the world because of its eclectic format. XM 72 and 70 and 40 in particular always reminded me of that great era of radio. I discovered Jan Hammer, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Patrick Moraz and the Dixie Dregs among others alongside the late 70′s and 80′s pop stuff they were playing at the time. I just sent an email to XM suggesting that if they make any more cuts to “real music” they will have lowered themselves down to terrestrial radio, the exact thing they were trying to be better than.

    Don Baird
    Professional Musician and XM subscriber
    Toronto, Ontario
    Canada

    Don Baird | Nov 14, 2008 | Reply

  8. Russ and Michelle if you’re out there reading this I want to say how bummed I am about the station going off air. It was my favorite station by far on the XM dial. Russ, I was floored when I requested that Miles Davis not be played every morning at 5:00 am on my way to work and you personally saw to it that the programming change to accommodate myself. Just one of the thousands who had listened to 72.
    Both of you are a credit to the Jazz world. You brought so much great music into my life and for that I am very grateful.
    Knowing I’m not alone in this depression, I’m trying to do my part to get them to change their tune (no pun intended). I have called XM twice, written emails and I am considering cancelling my subscription of my remaining 3 radios and doing the Ipod thing.
    I can’t wait to hear MOJA radio. I know that it will be excellent.
    Dave
    Sterling, VA

    Dave | Nov 14, 2008 | Reply

  9. Hi Dave,

    Michelle was kind of enough to stop by and say thanks. Her message is on the original post about Beyond Jazz being shut down – http://www.contemporaryjazz.com/xm-beyond-jazz-to-end/

    - John

    John Hilderbrand | Nov 14, 2008 | Reply

  10. We finally had a station that played the best music in the world and now it’s gone! I am really heartbroken!

    Tom Russell | Nov 15, 2008 | Reply

  11. How the misinformed people at Sirius/XM could have thought that replacing XM 72 Beyond Jazz with The Spa is beyond comprehension. Russ and Michelle will be missed by all of us. Send e-mails of discontent to XM until they rectify the wrong!

    Mark | Nov 15, 2008 | Reply

  12. Its amazing that XM continues to take away the stations that make satellite radio unique and worth paying a monthly subscription fee for… I believe Sirius previously had a modern jazz channel as well and I always assumed there would at least be room for one of them (and that Russ and Michelle would win out)… anyway, this makes it an easy decision to cancel my XM subscription.

    Mike | Nov 16, 2008 | Reply

  13. Seems there is very little tolerance for truly original programming at XM, Sirius, or mainstream media outlets. When I found XM I found music that defied any genre format. I heard lots of great music I had never heard before, Charlie Hunter, Soul Live, Galactic, Ozomatli, Don Byron, Deep Banana Blackout, Medeski Martin and Wood, Stanton Moore, Fishbelly Black and many many more. Not only do the fans lose, so do the artists. It’s a sad day for a lot of fans. There’s nothing at Sirius/XM worth the monthly fee for me anymore.

    Doug Adams | Nov 16, 2008 | Reply

  14. I like the rest of you knew that there were changes coming…and I hoped that they were for the best. Being a jazz fan and a lover of things not of the ordinary…found solitude and comfort on “Beyond Jazz”. Russ and Michelle gave so much to all of us in their daily playlists….

    So it was much to my surprise when I jumped into a Budget rental and found that there was a SPA in the mix.

    Please lets fix this…

    David in DC | Nov 16, 2008 | Reply

  15. I, too, am so saddened by the loss of Beyond Jazz. I sent my feelings to S-XM and they will forward my comments to the programming dept. I’ve given ‘Spa’ and ‘Real Jazz’ a try. No,thanks.
    Maybe, if we continue to protest and send our e-mails to S-XM, we might get Beyond Jazz back.

    Cynthia Johnson | Nov 16, 2008 | Reply

  16. Those coperate types ay Sirus/XM are idiots! How could anyone thnk that replacing Beyond Jazz with “Spa” would keep subscribers!! Moja was the only reason I subscribed to XM. Its “beyond” believe how they could make a programing decision like this! Please let us all know where we can find an alternative!

    Anthony C. | Nov 16, 2008 | Reply

  17. I have written to XM and will continue to in the future. Like most of you, I kept XM because it was the only place to hear modern jazz in all its glory. I was floored to discover that Russ and Michelle were gone. I thank them for their tireless work but I want Beyond Jazz back. Although I have been a subscriber to XM since the beginning and enjoy other programming, I am considering not renewing this Spring. We must flood XM with emails to get Russ and Michelle back.

    Anthony Thomas | Nov 17, 2008 | Reply

  18. I can’t beleive this! Beyond Jazz was the only station that I really like on XM. Suddenly, I go to tune in and it is gone! I searched the stations to see if it had been moved, couild not find it. What happened?

    I did not hear anything in advance. Another step in The Decline on the West in C#mi.

    Steve Ignelzi

    Steven Ignelzi | Nov 17, 2008 | Reply

  19. The shit canning of beyond jazz is one more nail in the coffin of adventuresome listening available in the corporate states of america. with all the channels that are available on xm/not serious, they couldn’t find room to keep a station with real enthusiasts making up their audience. they have to replace it with bland lobotomy music. also lamentable is the shut down of VOX on 113, the only place on the dial for real serious vocal musical art. this sucks. there is no longer a reason to support this corporatized watered down crap with our dollars.

    bob ockenden, jazz guitarist, minneapolis

    Bob Ockenden | Nov 17, 2008 | Reply

  20. Ditto what most of you said, Im at a loss No more fusion fridays !! XM 72 was my #1 station, I was very upset when I tuned in last week and heard JOHN TESCH (WTF) elevator music. doesnt the combined efforts of XM sirius have enough boring easy listeng channels. if I want to hear whats on the NEW XM 72 ill make a dentist appointment.

    Russ and Michelle did a Super job and they certainly had a solid following and catered to us.

    I sent XM a letter and advised that I will not be re newing my subscription opting instead to spend it at the I tunes store, and If I want news well commercial radio still has plenty of that for free.

    keep on bugging XM/sirius to get this gem of a channel back.

    “John”

    John Lasky | Nov 18, 2008 | Reply

  21. I am so depressed! I loved Beyond Jazz! The music was so wonderful. Thank you, Russ and Michelle, for the great music. Beyond Jazz was my favorite station. Your station played the most Pat Metheny (my favorite artist.) I loved the variety of Beyond Jazz. The music was exciting and thrilling. I hope we can have a similar station somewhere soon.

    Carrie | Nov 18, 2008 | Reply

  22. As you can probably imagine Bakersfield,CA and jazz are not synonamous.Beyond Jazz was a ray of light… and i promoted XM radio tirelessly.
    I’m afraid now, my days of considering XM radio the greatest thing since sliced bread are over.I hope the powers that be can do something about this travesty.I’ll hang for a while, but I won’t hold my breath.

    Keith | Nov 18, 2008 | Reply

  23. Although I’m somewhat comforted to see so many others posting comments saying things similar to what I feel about the shutdown of Beyond Jazz, it doesn’t lessen my sadness one bit. I have subscribed to XM for about a year, and so had the delight of listening to Beyond Jazz for that time. There truly is NOTHING ELSE LIKE IT, anywhere. In that year I discovered SO much music I know I would NEVER have heard anywhere else. In their form email to subscribers announcing the station changes, XM had the NERVE to suggest their “Watercolors” station as an alternative. Give me a break! I emailed XM telling them just how insane the cancellation was, and how the so-called “smooth jazz” played at Watercolors – let alone that mind-numbing pap at Spa, which has taken over channel 72 – could NEVER fill in for the freshness and originality of Beyond Jazz, but I fear the station was just too innovative for them to let it live on. I also feel terrible for the many modern jazz artists who now have nowhere else to expect their music to be heard. Corporate nonsense has pulled the plug on the best radio station I’ve ever heard.

    Marie | Nov 19, 2008 | Reply

  24. Like many of you, I went to XM because the possibility of getting jazz programming, specifically fusion and modern jazz, was too good to pass up. While I do also enjoy Real Jazz XM 70, one was not and isn’t now a substitute for the other. Beyond Jazz was uniquely appealing programming and the main drawing card for my XM subscription.

    I believe the new Serius/XM station line up has close to a dozen country stations but now just one jazz station. I understand the market determines choices but this incredible imbalance is just that, not credible.

    Before the demise of BJ72, I was going to suggest to family that they add to my XM subscription when thinking about Christmas gifts for me. That won’t happen now. I will consume the balance of my current subscription before I entertain any any extension of membership. I do hope that Serius/XM comes to its senses and re-instates this channel by the time my dollars run out. Otherwise, I’m probably out.

    Beyond Jazz XM 72 Loyalist in Canada

    Gary Mahoney | Nov 19, 2008 | Reply

  25. I was shocked earlier this week when I got in my car and heard “fuzak” coming from XM72 (Spa). I knew the merger was coming, but assumed that in some way, the Beyond Jazz format would remain. I emailed my complaint to XM and got a pre-formatted auto-reply. I also emailed Michelle and Russ to offer support and was surprised to get a personal reply from Michelle. I look forward to Moja Radio, but that won’t help me while driving. I’m still debating whether to cancel my subscription (the only thing stopping me is Bill Wax is still on Bluesville)

    Keith Chelm
    Modern Jazz Fan and professional keyboardist
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Keith Chelm | Nov 20, 2008 | Reply

  26. I could not believe my ears last week to find Beyond Jazz gone and replaced by Old Age. We should have known it was coming as Sirius had dropped their modern jazz station early this year. I’ve been hooked for 2 years now and not sure if I’ll continue my XM subscription as I am going through Beyond Jazz withdrawals.

    Rob Sherman | Nov 20, 2008 | Reply

  27. Wow – also blown away by the disappearance of Beyond Jazz. I just got an XM subscription this past spring, found Beyond Jazz and basically haven’t changed the station since. I have NEVER heard as much great music all in one place as on this station. I don’t buy much music these days, but since finding Beyond Jazz have bought numerous cds of newfound fantastic music – I am now motivated to search, but it won’t be as easy, and my car rides won’t be nearly as inspiring.

    I called to cancel my XM subscription this afternoon. Can’t believe Beyond Jazz was replaced by Spa.

    Mike Pickering | Nov 21, 2008 | Reply

  28. I can’t believe it!! I returned from my honeymoon to find the greatest station ever and my personal favorite on XM removed. This is an outrage. Beyond Jazz turned me on to so many great artists, kept me update with city’s live music schedules, mojo report, michelle’s jamming jazz, birthday tributes, ahh, the list goes on and on. XM will not stop hearing from me utnil it returns.

    truly heartbroken,

    Jeremy Wilson

    Jeremy Wilson

    Jeremy Wilson | Nov 22, 2008 | Reply

  29. I’ve been completely depressed over XM killing the best music channel on satellite. It has been a staple in my house and my young kids even loved it. I just wrote XM telling them they suck for keeping bluegrass over fusion, but I expect no action. Complaining through my computer helps, but the whole situation just SUCKS!!!!

    From here I guess it’s back to buying CD’s. Good luck Russ and Michele it was great while it lasted.

    PD

    Paul DeStefano | Nov 22, 2008 | Reply

  30. Canceled my XM today. I had over 2 years of service left.

    Check out this site though. 54 podcasts and they do a damn good job. Downloaded all of them last night. 60 plus hours and it only took up about 2GB on the MP3. Nice variety…all jazz. If you were a fan of Beyond Jazz, I think you are going to like the variety. Might fill the void of Beyond Jazz.

    For you ZUNE users, you can go to your zune podcast site to download. Really easy.

    bendingcorners.com

    Let me know what you think of the site, good or bad.

    sambo | Nov 23, 2008 | Reply

  31. I have been depressed for two weeks now…Beyond Jazz quit broadcasting on my birthday, too. I loved that channel, I told so many people about it, too.

    Seriously considering quitting my subscription….

    I sure hope Russ and Michelle reappear somewhere, someplace, soon. Thanks you to both of them. Build it, and we will come.

    Scott

    Scott Mantz | Nov 24, 2008 | Reply

  32. Sent emails, contacted XM via their webform and then called and cancelled my subscription effective immediately.. They offered me 1 month free, then 2 months free, told me to check out XM70.. No dice.. I told them the only reason I paid $13 a month was for Beyond Jazz specifically, and that’s the truth.. Russ & Michelle, best of luck with everything and rest assured that we your devoted audience will find you. Thanks again for really making a difference to us musicians as well.. We love you dearly.

    Mik

    Michael Mersha | Nov 25, 2008 | Reply

  33. The loss of Beyond Jazz and Planet Jazz on Sirius is a real eye openner. Like many of those who responded I heard many artists I had never heard before (Duboniks, Deep Bananna Blackout, Incognito…)and I bought their music. I believe others would too if they could just hear this genre of music. We all need to do our best to build a case for getting our music back.

    Kris Gebow | Nov 27, 2008 | Reply

  34. Man… it is nice to know I’m not alone in the way I feel. I have written a daily email of discontent to XM. I encourage everyone to do the same. I will miss Russ and Michelle. Beyond Jazz Forever…

    Michael Stephens | Nov 27, 2008 | Reply

  35. I am a little slow on the uptake

    When I am out in the wilderness, I don’t always have a chance to tune in, but I subscribed to XM mostly because of 72-Beyond Jazz.

    The elevator-crap that has replaced MoJa on 72 is unlistenable pap.

    I emailed XM/Sirius, but I get the feeling that we are tyring to communicate with robots, or maybe replicants, or maybe terminators.

    EOM

    JD

    Jon D | Nov 29, 2008 | Reply

  36. After living in denial for the past 18 days, I have finally accepted the reality of Beyond Jazz’s demise. When I first discovered Beyond Jazz #72, shortly after buying my new Saturn, I knew I had to subscribe to XM just to listen to channel 72. But the new format is crap! Every time I check that channel — because I keep thinking Beyond Jazz will be back on the air — I have to change channels quickly. The XM executive really slapped us in the face. I am certain that NONE of the originaly channel 72 listeners are STILL listening to XM 72. I guess I’ll have to go back to recording my jazz and fusion stuff onto my iPod, and listen through my car stereo converter. Phooy on you XM, when my current subscription expires it’s going to stay expired…unless you bring back Beyond Jazz!!!

    Forrest Woolman | Dec 1, 2008 | Reply

  37. I canceled my subscription. How could any of this spa, BCC…be more enriching than Beyond Jazz. Let me know when fusion is back, I’ll re-sub.

    CCToney | Dec 6, 2008 | Reply

  38. Hello Cynthia, It was truly a bad day in radio land when ‘Beyond Jazz 72′ vanished. I am so upset I can’t function musically or physically. Nothing seems to work. If I hear one more ‘smooth jazz’ song I am going to puke. All is not right with sirius/xm. The ‘spa’ I heard is not worth the subscription. Years ago (70′s)there was a station out of Canada ‘CJOM’ same thing happened. I was in a funk then, as I am now.
    ‘Beyond Jazz’ must be heard again!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Leonard Neal | Dec 10, 2008 | Reply

  39. Hello again, I am replying to a comment that I posted just five minutes ago. To continue….I was considering having my entire house wired with surround sound just so I could listen to the wonderful sounds that Russ and Michele laid down. I can’t believe this is happening. I want it out of my car and out of my house if that’s all they have to offer. Did Sirius/xm hire ‘Donald Duck’ and ‘Goofy’ to run things? I was a six year listener…..No More! I’m mad as hell and I can’t stand it any longer…….Wake Up!!

    Leonard Neal | Dec 10, 2008 | Reply

  40. It is unbelievable to me that Sirius/XM didn’t see how popular XM72 was. I really loved the music they played, the music was brilliantly chosen and challenging to the ear. I only hope the channel comes back to life, surely there must be room somewhere on the bandwidth…

    Keith Vermes | Dec 19, 2008 | Reply

  41. I just cancelled my subscription. Without Beyond Jazz, there’s nothing on Sirius/XM worth paying for.

    David Vastano | Dec 23, 2008 | Reply

  42. Beyond jazz is gone and so am i as an xm subscriber!So sad.A truly great jazz channel it was.Corporate decisions like this are mindboggling.Russ and Michelle were awesome!So much for the sattilite radio experiment.

    chris mathieu | Dec 28, 2008 | Reply

  43. I’ve resorted to using the fusion channel on Rhapsody. I truly miss Beyond Jazz!! I’d wager that XM is absolutely clueless to the effect of cancelling Channel 72 on it’s audience. I’ve tried writing to them at listenercare@xmradio.com and haven’t heard back. It’s obvious they don’t care!!

    Jim Hanley | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

  44. It’s Friday and you know what that means! XM bring back the Fusion Channel NOW!!

    Jim Hanley | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

  45. Just a quick note to say that I agree with everyone on this page about the, let’s hope temporary,demise of Bj72. As a travelling salesman, it was the perfect station to listen to with all of it’s unique music offerings What a relief to not have to listen to all the old rock, jazz and country, as well as a lot of the contemporary versions of the same old stuff. I’ve been a fusion fan since the early 70′s. BJ expanded greatly my exposure to so many groups already mentioned. I loved it. I noticed that after November’s rush of comments that there hasn’t been many additional on es. Maybe if we could all remember to continue reminding XM?Sirius that they will take us seriously and reinstate the program.

    John Young | Jan 18, 2009 | Reply

  46. I guess modern jazz lovers are a dying breed! If you can’t get a channel like XM72 on Sirius XM, where they have they dedicated channels to single bands/performers (e.g. grateful dead, springsteen, sinatra, etc), then you know you must be in a highly esoteric genre of very limited general appeal.

    I am canceling my subscription today!

    Tim | Jan 20, 2009 | Reply

  47. I traveled from southern Ontario to Alberta this past August and listened to channel 72 most of the way there and back. Not quite sure I would listen to if I did that again…probably take some cd’s along. I would have to say listening to Sirius Xm radio since the amalgamation, I have listening to more fm stations….the stations’ repertoire are just different and what is with the DJ like babble during the intros on channel 46?

    Louis Santandrea | Feb 28, 2009 | Reply

  48. corporate america killed a great concept of great music, xm 72, musiclab, luna, the only reason why millions of people paid that ripoff fee, soon they will b gone, thanks 2 the web, music lab and xm 72 survived, way 2 go, good luck 2 all of independent radio, mojo and beyondjazzmusiclab.com on 365 radio, good alternative, not in the car unfortunatly, a international musiclover

    ramses | May 9, 2009 | Reply

  49. I have been an XM subscriber since 2000. (year ONE for XM in the Midwest) Since then, xm/Sirius have gotten rid of Musiclab, Luna & of coarse the ever AWESOME Beyondjazz. Over 75% of my music library consists of tunes that I’ve heard on those “Funk-a-delic” channels. I s’pose the average human juss has no imagination when it comes to music. Thank God fer Zune Marketplace. I’ve since collected a myriad of tunes from those deceased channels. Rest in Peace ‘O Land of smart & artistically SUPERIOR music!!

    FULL-TIME SOLDIER @ FORT HOOD TEXAS, G.I. JOEL!!
    Go to jahoosafatz.com “Information for Veterans” PEACE, dammit…………..

    Joel Williams | Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

  50. I, have been lost,without the inspiration and deliverence of the way that was expected for Jazz People to Enjoy,the best sound and clublike feeling—looking for fridays thru sundays, for just- CHILLIN & all thru the next rest o the week surprise-at any given moment -made you always be in tune & ME, as an artist,painter,enthusiast- miss you guys— Anybody HEAR some word or know ay updates – write or print BEYOND JAZZ–It needs to come back – THE BEST EVER HEARD &formed

    machi | Jun 12, 2010 | Reply

  51. THE BEST ENTERTAINMENT EVER +* BEYOND JAZZ- we miss you, come back again extremely put TOGETHER

    machi | Jun 12, 2010 | Reply

Post a Comment