By Dennis Moore
August 29, 2013 (Del Cerro)--The father and son team of Jack Cohen and Mikey Adam Cohen, lifelong residents of Del Cerro in San Diego’s East County, are firmly entrenched in smooth jazz. As a matter of fact, it can be said that Smooth Jazz is their love and lifeblood, as well as profession. Mikey is a music/smooth jazz professional and has worked with his father to become one of the leading names in the smooth jazz music industry, by co-founding Smooth Jazz Live, an online contemporary jazz magazine. (Website: http://smoothjazzlive.wordpress.com/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/smoothjazzlivei and www.facebook.com/accessmediaceo.
In an interview with ECM, MIkey said that growing up, he didn’t have a strong relationship with his father, who wanted Mikey to be a sports prodigy – until they founded Smooth Jazz Live. Soon they were supporting, producing and documenting live music acts together as they traveled across the world and became among the biggest names in the music business.
Mikey attended Patrick Henry High School in San Diego, where he was named Patriot of the Year. He later attended Grossmont College in El Cajon, where he received an Associate of Arts degree. Mikey later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication design with emphasis in media arts from California State University, Chico. He speaks fondly and with pride of those early years growing up in East County, which greatly contributed to his stature in the music industry and his entrepreneurial acumen. If not for the experiences that he encountered early in life, Smooth Jazz Live might never have begun.
Mikey also has a history of activism. Wanting to make a difference, he set out to work with then Mayor Maureen O’Connor to change our school system and the streets of San Diego by being a part of the Mayor’s youth summit. He recalls meeting with Mayor O’Connor in her office with others; they made changes to combat violence and gangs on our streets and in our schools, also making changes in curriculum and arts, etc.
Today, Mikey speaks glowingly of his father. “My father, Jack Stuart Cohen is the man! Everything I aspire to be, very successful, sharp business sense, a philanthropist, and lover of the arts and creative process involved in creating it. As early as I could remember Dad was involved in music.”
He recalls, “When we were growing up he was super busy, known then as ‘Mad Jack’ of Mad Jack’s Sound Stereo Stores and with seven stores and tent sales at the Sports Arena with Jerry Jerome of Jerome’s Furniture. They were both household names. He was always on TV and radio spots, recognized everywhere we went.” That included sporting events that the “king of the media” sponsored.
With his business partner Bruce Bart, college buddies at San Diego State University and fraternity brothers, and with a loan from his folks, Jack turned his trading business of 8-tracks for LPs and LPs for cassette tapes into a major home and car stereo business that was recognized with top sales honors by Sony, Hitachi, Alpine, and more, taking free five--star trips around the globe provided in appreciation by the companies.
It is from this background that Smooth Jazz Live came about. The online contemporary jazz magazine. They specialize in media relations, preservation and photography and filming to create a brand.
“We love pictures and the art of photography. We want to see, share and learn through each other’s eyes,” Mikey states. “Through the lens, we are reminded of perspective. Sometimes we laugh – sometimes we cry. Almost always, we are observers, documentarians, capturers of time.”
You can see this on their YouTube Video Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/jack4951), which has 3.1 million followers and counting. They get to hobnob with the likes of Dave Koz and Norman Brown, during the course of what they do. Smooth Jazz Live and “Access Media 2” are their two companies that provide radio, music promotion services, and epochal images to record labels with artists worldwide. One might find Mikey and his team covering a concert with Joe Sample and Lalah Hathaway performing "Fever" here.
The Smooth Jazz Live team led by Mikey and Jack Cohen is everywhere the musical action is, catching it in all of its glory as it goes down – LIVE – in clubs and festivals around the world, be it at Anthology in San Diego, the Catalina Jazz Festival, Spaghettini’s Jazz & Grill, the Newport Jazz Festival or the Thornton Winery Champagne Series. I can envision Mikey and his father covering a performance of the collaboration of Joyce Cooling and Al Jarreau at one of these events of "MM-MM Good" from Cooling's "Third Wish" album performed here.
Additionally, an example of the music that Mikey Cohen and his father Jack covers, as the attached file that you can click on by George Benson "Nature Boy" here.
Pictured here coming back from a "Smooth Jazz Cruise" along with Kelly Cole the host of "Lites-Out" on KPRI 102.1 FM, and other San Diego smooth jazz enthusiasts, it is clear why Mikey enjoys what he does.
As a Smooth Jazz enthusiast myself, with George Benson and Oleta Adams being some of my favorite jazz musicians and entertainers, I envy Mikey and his father for doing something that they enjoy—a career that I and others dream about. Imagine being on a Smooth Jazz Cruise from San Diego or Los Angeles down to Cabo San Lucas! That is what Mikey and Jack Cohen get to do, during the course of filming and recording these jazz giants. As the promotional video with basketball legend Michael Jordan proclaims, “I Want To Be Like Mike!”
Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. He is also a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.