Smooth Artist Interviews

Bob Coate - Super Smooth
Bob Coate
Bob Coate
Bob Coate
Bob Coate
Bob Coate

How did your new album/single and overall concept for it come about?

"Super Smooth" was pretty spontaneous. I knew I wanted to do something with a low, sultry sax sound. I had designed the chord progression and backing track that I wanted to use, but hadn't firmed up or practiced anything much for a melody, other than having a vague idea of what might fit nicely. One night I was just doing some spontaneous improv, and had the sudden strong feeling that something special was about to happen, and that I needed to record, so I did. It was almost surreal, like being disconnected from reality while just playing what I felt. Captured everything perfectly on Take 1, and that's what you hear on the recording – the melody is all unplanned improvisation, from the one and only take.

What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?

It has to evoke emotion. If a song (especially my own composition) doesn't give me chills/goosebumps the first time or two that I hear it, then I know it's all wrong. 

Who are some of your current favorite artists, Smooth Jazz or otherwise?

For smooth jazz, there are so many, but definitely a big fan of Rick Braun, Boney James, and Najee among others. Outside of smooth jazz, I'm a big Steely Dan/Donald Fagen fan. I always take issue whenever someone describes Steely Dan as "classic rock". To me, they are so much more - rock, smooth jazz, blues, funk, big band, all rolled into one. I recently heard a clever description: "Steely Dan is what would happen if Slash played smooth jazz." How true!  

What in your life outside of your music drives you in a creative sense?

I'm a bit of an amateur photographer, and I enjoy photographing scenic landscapes (especially ocean and water scenes), and classic cars. The album cover art on “Super Smooth” features my own photography.

What would you define as the most life-changing event so far in your musical career?

I'm still a relative newcomer (at age 62!) to the whole music production scene. For me, the most memorable and defining moment was when my music first aired on London Soul Radio. Two of my tracks were played, and I was allowed to plan an hour of programming featuring my ten favorite smooth jazz artists, sandwiched by my two tracks. Listening to that radio show live was when I knew that my music might have a future other than just sitting on the streaming music platforms with no one listening.

Going back in your life as far as you can remember, what song or performance is the first you recall hearing and being affected by?

When I was around 9 or 10 years old (late 1960s), my parents were given a copy of the "Going Places" album by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, containing classics such as "Tijuana Taxi" and "Spanish Flea". It was happy music, with a fun and lively beat to it, not quite like anything I had ever heard before. I spent the next few years getting my hands on every Herb Alpert record album I could find.