April 26, 2003
This is your time, to relax, unwind and feel good! And what a show we have as the opening set alone features Steve Laury, Roberto Perera, Michael Manson, and Bernard Oattes. Throw in a track from Peter White, a current favourite by Keiko Matsui and a classic from Rob DeBoar and Tony Grace that predates their projects as Four80East and you know that it's going to be great!
Original Cinema - Spyro Gyra :
The band was founded back in 1974 in Buffalo NY, and remains one of the most well known and influential ensembles in instrumental music. To a large extent this latest project is a reaction of group leader Jay Beckenstein to the fragmenting of the jazz world. Being uncomfortable with a label that would confine their playing, Beckenstein and the other members purposely chose to create songs that would dispel any preconceptions about the music or the group. As their career quickly closes in on the 30-year mark, the unit has always been known for their brilliant blending of soul, jazz, pop, and world beat. Now add to that a sense of mission and discovery, and the result is Original Cinema, a cd that could easily rank among their best and the one that we’ve chosen for our musical spotlight on this occasion.
|Fresh Trax: Part One|
- Fattburger :
The quintet of players draw their name from a popular highway hamburger restaurant in California. The band has enjoyed a highly successful 15-year career and has evolved into one of the best groups to ever come out of San Diego. Their style is characterised by a trademark smooth sound that typically contains a blend of funk, blues, and pop, as well as Latin and Brazilian influences. The track that opens the FT segment is taken from Sizzlin’ their brand release.
Tomorrow - Fortune Vinson Cruse :
This is a trio of veteran musicians all from the Philadelphia area. They first began playing together in the mid 70's or so, when keyboardist Dennis Fortune and drummer Michael Cruse were introduced to one another by the late George Howard. The pair connected with bassist Pete Vinson a few years later after Vinson had completed a tour of duty with Grover Washington, Jr. Since 1993, they have released a total of 4 cds, which well capture the group’s original material as well as their collaborations on a collection of standards. Sunny Nights is their latest. From that effort we featured Creek Lane on a previous edition of FT but on this occasion we have another super selection titled For Tomorrow that features the sax work of Ron Kerber .
|Fresh Trax: Part Two|
Song - Gerald Veasley :
For Gerald, it all began at the age twelve when he started playing the bass. His parents, who were musically inclined, inspired the young Veasley with their hard work and their sacrifices. As a result, he earned a full four year academic scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. Music had always moved Gerald emotionally and provided him with a way to express things that he just couldn't find words for. His career path went in that direction when Veasley’s father passed away and he turned to music and it’s therapeutic powers to help him deal with his loss. In the early 80s Veasley embarked on the first of several high-profile sideman gigs. In short order he shared the stage with Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie and with his longtime friend and mentor, the late Grover Washington Jr. In addition, Gerald has enjoyed a successful solo career with Velvet being his latest release. (On a personal note, a few years back I had the great pleasure of seeing Veasley perform live at the 3-day Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz as part of the Heads Up Super Group. Without any word of exaggeration, Veasley and his band mates stole the show.)
Travelers - Shahin & Sepehr :
Shahida plays Spanish guitar with long time friend Sepehr Haddad on keyboards. Together they record as Shahin & Sepehr. The two share Iranian heritage as well as styles that well complement each other although their backgrounds are quite different. Sepehr is a native of Washington DC, while Shahin was born Iran. The two first met while both were attending the International School of Tehran in the 70s. They became close friends and for a time enjoyed playing together. Shortly after, Sepehr relocated to California to study agriculture while he spent his evenings performing in coffee-houses. Upon graduation, he moved back to Washington, where met up with his old friend Shahin who had in the meantime moved to the US to study finance. The two teamed up and recorded their debut cd back in 1994 or so, as they embarked on their mission to spread the message of peace through the universal language of music. Now 4 fine cds and one "best of" later, Nostalgia is their latest. This is an excellent project, one on which Shahin & Sepehr not only reflect their vision that all nations are travelling on a continuum but as well they fondly explore their Persian musical heritage. In that regard, from Nostalgia we'll be hearing Fellow Travelers.
Feels So Good - Shelby.Brown :
Consisting of guitarist Dee Brown and saxplayer Gentry Shelby, the two have been collaborating since 1997. Their style is a melodic blend of jazz, gospel and R&B and results in a sound that might well be described as a inspirational smooth jazz. Miracle is their just released debut.