Smitty: And, I’ll tell you, in fact, in D.J.’s description, after her long description, she said “Smitty, it was just a gala.”
VVD: Ah, nice.
Smitty: And it’s like “Oh my Gosh, I gotta go!” So that is a wonderful thing what you guys have put together up there and, once again, I can’t say enough about both of them, Mary and Doug, what they’ve done to make that such a wonderful event, and you couldn’t have had a better host in Al Zonjic. What a personality.
VVD: Well, you know what? That is one funny man. I mean, you know it, and last year for the first ever Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards in 2005, of course, lucky for us they do have a broadcaster of the year award, so Alexander was nominated and I was nominated, and I used to do, you know, part of my spiel on the radio was to say “You know what? It’s just not fair. I mean, the guy is a fantastic musician, he is a fantastic morning man at the Detroit radio station, and he’s funny!”
VVD: I mean, he is just one of the funniest people I know and this year even better. Not only was he hilarious this year, but then he put together a beautiful and amusing but also very heartfelt tribute to Bob James. And we are blessed to have someone like him and proud to call him a Canadian, and to have him hosting the show was truly incredible.
Smitty: Absolutely. Well, just keep doing your thing because I think the musicians really love it, the fans certainly enjoyed it, and it’s something to look forward to every year.
Smitty: So you’ve raised the bar as to what we will see next year.
VVD: I hope so. I think you have to keep raising the bar with everything you do. You always want to get better and better, and as I said, with the show ten times better this year, so next year’s gonna be a hundred times better.
Smitty: Yes indeed. So, now, getting back to Ms. Vickie Van Dyke.
Smitty: You’ve been in theater?
VVD: I have done theater, it really was my first love, musical theater, and so many of the great jazz standards come from musical theater: Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart, I mean, Harold Arlen, so much of that stuff. So I think it all ties in with how I realized that jazz was my music. Whether it’s Smooth Jazz or even some of the more classic jazz or the classic jazz put a Smooth Jazz spin on it, whatever it is, it all goes back to my roots and that really was Broadway shows.
Smitty: Yes, and you did some writing in that regard too, haven’t you?
VVD: Well, I put together two of my favorite composers: Rodgers & Hart. I mean, some of the wonderful songs they’ve written like “My Funny Valentine,” “The Lady Is A Tramp,” there are so many great songs from the two of them, so what I did was I put together a little cabaret-style show featuring their music and really with a fluffy plot, just an excuse to get from one great show to the next and it’s the kind of show that you would come out and sit in a cabaret-style venue enjoying your cocktail while you watch the show and hear all this great music. That is one of my dreams, I’ve got many, and one of them is to see that show mounted and I wrote the show so of course I wrote a part for myself. (Both laughing.) Yeah, so I would certainly love to do that.
Smitty: Very cool. Well, we certainly hope that it happens.
Smitty: Yeah. do you guys take calls (requests) at the radio station?
VVD: With the way it is right now, it’s so much more e-mail. Everybody’s on-line, everybody’s doing e-mail and you can access your e-mail just about all the time so we do take live phone calls, we take a lotta e-mails too. I think that’s what I really enjoy. I always tell people I am the e-mail queen.
VVD: You know, if you e-mail me, I guarantee you will get a response.
Smitty: Very cool. And you have become such a popular icon in Canada as far as Smooth Jazz because you were the “Broadcaster Of The Year” last year, if I recall.
VVD: Well, I’m gonna tell you, Smitty, for me that was a real thrill to win that award for broadcaster of the year, particularly the first year that we had the awards, and it was a funny situation because I actually write the scripts for the Smooth Jazz Awards, and I was so caught up with the script on the day and the night of the show. I had written this whole bit for Warren Hill to do with Alexander Zonjic at the top, Warren got snowed in, we had to change it all around, change who was gonna do it…I was just up to my eyeballs in scripts and backstage and getting everything sorted out, and then I had to go out and sit in the audience for the second half when my award was gonna be announced, and I wasn’t even thinking about it. At that point, I really wanted to see how my script was being presented and then all of a sudden I thought “Holy…I’m nominated for an award and what the heck am I gonna say if I win?” And then I had been talking to Cameron Smith backstage and Cameron was nominated, and Cameron had said, you know, “Alexander’s gonna win because he’s got this huge fan base in Detroit and these awards, the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, are based entirely on fan voting, on-line fan voting.”
VVD: And so I thought, “Yeah, you know, Cameron’s right. Don’t even worry about it, Vickie,” and then when they called my name, I just was like “Huh?”