About Us

President and Chief Editor:  Ronald Jackson 

The Smooth Jazz Ride is the young brainchild of Ronald Jackson.  Ronald is a lifelong music aficionado, having been immersed in several genres: Doo-wop R&B, soul, classic rock (before it was even “classic”), blues, and now smooth jazz.  He became actively involved in the performing aspect of music at the age of 9, when he performed at several talent shows at local clubs, and he and his group routinely won vocal contest after vocal contest.  Before long, he knew this was “home” to him, although he once had to unfortunately turn down the opportunity to audition for the great Berry Gordy, Jr., due to school commitments and, admittedly, a severe case of the last-minute jitters! 

He later became interested in playing music and took up guitar, teaching himself for many years before delving into some theory to help bolster his knowledge. He formed several rock and blues bands, though, sadly, none quite aspired to the “big-time.”  Since then, Ronald has remained very involved in music because of his undying love and thirst for it.  As an accomplished writer (he was also a professional writer with the Federal government before recently retiring), he hopes to share with the growing throng of smooth jazz fans valuable information from his personal standpoint, simply because he believes that “sharing the love of music is an essential part of the consummate life.”

Ronald also appears as a contributing editor and staff writer for and  He has also written extensively for  He is joined here by a very competent staff comprised of:

Interview and Artist Calendar editor
: Aira Olave

Aira Olave is a bubbly jazzer whose roots stretch from Cuba to New York (sorry folks, but no photo could be wrestled from this woman for personal reasons, attractive though she may be).  She comes to The Smooth Jazz Ride with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for a kid at Xmas time. She absolutely loves the music, and so looks forward to tracking down artists for interviews.  Believe us when we say that any and all interviews seen on this site are the direct result of seriously devoted and hard but enjoyable work from this colorful woman who counts among her favorite artists Soul Ballet (“Rick Kelly is a dream,” she gushes), Richard Elliot, Maysa, Candy Dulfer, and Nestor Torres.  

As she puts it, “While I was once pretty much all over the musical map in terms of tastes, I quickly found, after being introduced to smooth jazz, that this genre could meet almost all of my musical needs in some way or another.  It generates so much heat, soul, and passion with an air of sophistication. In my opinion, it’s so hard not to love this music.”  Oh boy, do we look forward to her regular contributions in our Interview section!

News and Blog Editor: Cassandra “Cassie” Lane

Cassie is a young Southern girl who now calls Michigan her home.  In fact, in addition to being a licensed Nursing Assistant by trade, she is also a student at Michigan Institute of Real Estate and plans on a career in real estate as a realtor and investor.  Says Cassie:  “I am a notorious music buff, and I pretty much enjoy all kinds of music, especially blues and jazz. My love of jazz music started at the young age of 11 with saxophonist Paul Taylor being the contributor, and from that point, I haven’t looked back!”  Considering how we all love to recruit young people into the genre, we feel very fortunate to have Cassie on board with TSJR. We’re sure that her role as our blog editor and assistant news editor will serve her well, and vice versa. 

Trivia editor: Chanel Sumpter

Chanel brings a most coveted quality to our team: Innovativeness. Always thinking outside the box, Chanel fully expects to enjoy heading up the jazz trivia section and looks forward to always creating fairly to very challenging trivia for the smooth jazz aficionado.  Having been seduced by the allure of jazz some time ago now, some of her favorite artists include Anita Baker, Norman Brown, and Sarah Vaughn.  As she puts it, her love of music “started at birth.”  She was classically trained at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, her favorite musical instrument is the bass, and when she's not working or attending classes, she enjoys going to museums, reading, listening to music, spending time with her family, working with The Smooth Jazz Ride staff, and providing that bounce of humor that keeps us all in good spirits.
Chanel's interest in The Smooth Jazz Ride comes from this lifelong love of music, and she is quite excited to be a part of the team. Her love of research will certainly come in handy as our Trivia Editor.

Photo gallery editor: Dale Hobbs

Although Dale is relatively new to the jazz scene, he has proclaimed it as “love at first sight.”  Says Dale: “I really like the idea of contributing to the smooth jazz community in some really cool fashion, and The Smooth Jazz Ride affords me a great opportunity to do just that.  As TSJR’s Photo Gallery Editor, I look forward to seeing and posting the many great photos of smooth jazz fans everywhere with some of the greatest smooth jazz artists around.”  

Marketing & Events Coordinator: Faith Downes

Anyone who knows Faith knows that she is a huge fan and lover of smooth jazz.  Like many of us, she has been exposed to several genres since childhood, including straight-ahead and contemporary jazz.  Her mother, “Teddy Davis”, who was a jazz DJ for KNOK in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, from the mid- to late ‘70s, has been a major influence in Faith’s life and has driven her to continue the music legacy of her family.  In the professional arena, Faith is a Human Resources Specialist and an entrepreneur.  She is also co-owner of an event planning firm, Vision Events Planners, LLC.  She is excited to be a “rider” on The Smooth Jazz Ride team.  She hopes to promote TSJR with her enthusiasm and by sharing her love for smooth jazz with everyone she meets.

TSJR would also like to thank Christine ("Chris") Gillis-Holt and Delphine Coleman for their tireless work with the team in the area of web support. We love you, ladies!