May 19, 2024

Denise Jordan WalkerDenise Jordan Walker
Candid Jazz and Conversations

Recently we had a chance to speak with former Smooth Jazz radio announcer from WNUA radio in Chicago Denise Jordan Walker. Denise has launched a new national jazz entertainment series called “Candid Jazz and Conversations with Denise Jordan Walker”. We tracked her down and got her to sit still and give us an inside look at her very hip series.

JazzUSA: Denise, what is Candid Jazz and Conversations?

DJW: Well, Candid Jazz and Conversations is a promotional entertainment series for national jazz artists. This series is designed to help publicize the artist and move their product.

JazzUSA: Is this on television?

DJW: No not yet.

JazzUSA: How does it work?

DJW: Our format is similar to the Bravo Channels “The Actors Studio” TV show. This series is designed to bring jazz fans up close and personal with jazz stars of today and yesterday in an intimate setting. Through this guest list only series, group discussions are facilitated on a one on one basis providing “VIP” pass interaction with these Jazz artist. At each event we keep our audience base to 100-150 attendees.

JazzUSA: How do Jazz Fans get on your guest list?

DJW: We publicize each event, which is another plus for the artist. People have to call or email us to have their names added to the guest list.

JazzUSA: So, is this a free event for Jazz fans?

DJW: Yes it is!

JazzUSA: The record labels and their artists must be thrilled with your Entertainment Series?

DJW: yes they are, especially since we’re based in Chicago an important market to any Jazz artist. When an artist agrees to be our special guest. We do a full marketing campaign, promoting the artist and their upcoming appearance at the event. We arrange TV, print and radio interviews prior to their arrival. Plus we market through our target email database of Jazz lovers. Over 7,000 names in Chicago alone. And now that JAZZUSA.COM is our partner on the web, our marketing base has increased 10 fold.

JazzUSA: And we believe in the series, it’s such a winning concept, what made you create it?

DJW: When I left WNUA, I became an entertainment publicist for lots of celebrities and motion picture companies. Some of my clients included: comedian Bernie Mac, Billy Dee Williams, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, The Food Network and artist like TLC, The Temptations, and Kool and the Gang. But I missed my Jazz, Then one day I was recommended to Blue Note Records and received a phone call from Tom Everette The general manager of Blue Note. They wanted to hire me to promote jazz legend Ronnie Laws. I did and it was a huge success. I began to receive other referrals from Labels, artists etc and I’ve been a Jazz Publicist since.

So as a Jazz radio host turned Jazz publicist, I saw the need for more promotional opportunities for jazz artist. Oh, I had no problem getting PR for my other entertainment clients on the big shows, Letterman, The View, Good Morning America etc. Just try to book a jazz artist and see what they tell you! I created this series from a selfish standpoint, to promote my National artist, but it has since become a great marketing tool to promote all Jazz artist.

JazzUSA: WOW!… Who are you representing in smooth jazz now?

DJW: I’m Publicist for Smooth Jazz Guitarists Paul Jackson Jr, and Nick Colionne. I also represent Bass player Mike Manson.

JazzUSA: How should labels and managers reach you to book their artist on your series?

DJW: They can email their request to, or they can phone my office at 708-798-4652.

JazzUSA: What future guests do you have on the Horizon?

DJW: Well, February it’s Nick Colionne, March it’s Paul Jackson Jr, and a tentative Herbie Hancock, April it’s Mike Manson and a Tentative Will Downing. These Are confirmed guests… We’re still booking artist as we speak!

JazzUSA: Thank you Denise, and we wish you much success with Candid Jazz and Conversations.

DJW: Thank you, and I look forward to our partnership with this series as well.