Jonathan Schwartz’s The Sunday Show

Jonathan Schwartz’s The Sunday Show is probably one of the most popular radio shows in the United States. It is run on the XM Satellite Radio and is available for listeners all over the world. Schwartz was named artistic coordinator of XM’s American standards format.

Jonathan Schwartz brought his thirty years of experience to XM radio. He is often called “the Dean of American pop standards”. He started his career as one of the radio characters at WNEW-FM in 1967during the peak of the radio popularity – it used to be a leading “progressive” radio station. At WNEW-FM Jonathan Schwartz created his cult show called “The Sunday show”, which presented an electric mixture of American popular music standards, blues, rock and roll, classical and jazz. Later on, he took the show to XM radio, and it became just as popular as it was on WNEW.

Schwartz was not only the radio show host, he also has written several fiction works: Almost Home,Distant States, The Man Who Knew Cary Grant and, most recently, The Paris Concert. He frequently contributes fiction and non-fiction pieces to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, New York Magazine, Esquire, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times, among other publications. His columns have appeared regularly in GQ Magazine and The Village Voice.

Jonathan Schwartz is also a recognized singer and dancer. He has recorded few albums: Alone Together, New Sun in the Sky and Anyone Would Love You. He performs on the cabaret scene often too.

Schwartz’s Sunday Show is a good standard for a radio program; it is varied and intelligent. Once I heard him playing Judy Garland, then Crosby Still and Nash followed by Steely Dan’s recent album song. It was great, the chain was eloquently and interestingly introduced, although separated by almost seventy years, came together so well, that I had an impression that they have always belonged to one time period. The show is available on the internet, so generally anybody in the world can listen to it. Program is schedule on Saturday & Sunday, Noon-4:00 p.m, but is often repeated and replayed by other radio station at different time, so we can conclude how popular the show is.

A good music that is played on the radio is accompanied by “good talk” with host Jonathan Schwartz. Jonathan’s taste for music is amazing, the songs that he plays and discusses are taking their own shape and carry news meaning when played on his show. I really enjoy listening to he Sunday show, it makes me very relaxed and at the same time makes me feel some kind of unity with the artists and their songs. For some reason, one can just feel how close some songs to a particular person although never thinking about this before while listening to the same song.

“We focus on artists like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, of course,” Schwartz added. “But listeners can also expect a deep and wide-ranging music selection that will celebrate this timeless genre.” Sunday show ranges from the music of Irving Berlin and Cole Porter to that of Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, from singers Tony Bennett and Peggy Lee to Mandy Patinkin and Joni Mitchell.

In my opinion the essence of Sunday Show is to reveal the message hidden in every song played on it. This way the music is not just a background, but also something more alive carrying the meaning in it.


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