June 7, 2003
We have a terrific show lined up. In addition to the Showcase CD and Fresh Trax features, this edition is packed with loads of musical excitement! On the Canadian front, we present selections from Les Sabler, Greg Lowe, & Nura. We've also included a generous sampling of some of our current favourites by Dave McMurray, Larry Gittens, Steve Briody, & Ronny Jordan. Nor have we neglected the fantastic smooth jazz hits of the past. Ken Navarro, Greg Adams, Tom Grant, George Duke & Peter White are just some of the artists that helped establish this genre of music and we have great tracks from each of them. As a bonus we've also included the new single from Jonathan Butler; all of this as well as a surprise or two. So, why not catch the show and make Café Jazz, your musical oasis!
In Deep - Marion Meadows :
Meadows began in music on the clarinet, but switched to the sax as a teen. He played in both the school orchestra and the Jazz band, which afforded him the opportunity to travel to Europe. It was during this time that he decided to abandon his dream of becoming a veterinarian & to instead pursue a career in music. As Marion puts it "My parents shipped me off " to the Berklee School of Music in Boston and after studying there for two years he transferred to the S.U.N.Y. school for the arts to concentrate on arranging and film scoring. After college, he hooked up with Norman Connors and played with Connors & his Starship Orchestra for several years.
For a period afterward he performed as a member of an avant-garde band called the Aboriginal Music Society. One evening on the way home from a gig, Meadows was playing in Grand Central Station. He was spotted by Jay Chattaway, who at the time was producing and writing for Bob James.
| This led to Marion working with James on some
tracks and in turn it awakened within Meadows a desire to perform as a
solo artist. In 1990, after a series of session dates and sideman gigs,
Meadows made his solo debut. Now over a dozen years later, Marion recently
released In Deep with the cd being his 7th project under his own name.
Seven is indeed lucky, at least for us fortunate listeners, as Marion
shows the maturity in sound and style that can only come about through
years of honing one’s craft. So as we showcase In Deep we feature Treasures,
Is That You, and the title track.
CD: In Deep
Label: Heads Up
Site: Marion Meadows
|Fresh Trax: Part One|
Your Eyes - Rayford Griffin:
Although he may not be that well known outside of the music community, Griffin's peers hold him in the highest regard. In the 1980s Rayford performed regularly as the drummer in Jean Luc Ponty’s band. The high profile gig lasted for six years during which Griffin also took part in the recording of five cds. In addition, he also spent some time backing Stan Clarke. Clarke ranks Griffin as perhaps the best drummer that he's worked with. High praise indeed considering Stanley has worked with Billy Cobham, Lenny Williams and several other great drummers.
Through his involvement with Ponty and Clarke, Griffin built a reputation as one of the finest drummers in music. This led to countless sessions and performances with some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Michael Jackson & Kenny G among many others. All of these gigs kept him busy but also kept Griffin from fulfilling his dream of releasing his own project as a leader. For Rayford the dream finally became a reality with the recent release of Rebirth of the Cool, his debut. From that effort, we have a very nice tune that features Dwight Sills on guitar.
CD: Rebirth of the Cool
LA - Steve Cole :
It was Steve's father, a clarinet and saxplayer , who first exposed Steve to Jazz in its many varied forms. The younger Cole, following his father's example, first took up the sax around the seventh grade after briefly trying the clarinet. He studied the instrument all through high school and attended university to polish his technical skills. In the course of things, Cole went on to become a prizewinner in a competition sponsored by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was presented with the opportunity to perform as a soloist with that group. After a brief stint in the world of business, Cole returned to music. Despite his success in the classical realm he hooked up with fellow Chicagoan, Brian Culbertson choosing instead to focus on his true musical loves of Jazz and R&B. Steve played a significant part on two of Brian's hit cds with Culbertson returning the favour on Cole's debut. Their partnership continues to the present as each regularly contributes to the projects of the other, including the track that we’ve chosen for today.
CD: NY LA
|Fresh Trax: Part Two|
- Noel Webb:
Webb is a classically trained violinist who’s travelled throughout Europe and America playing with some of the best musicians in the world. However, he found that style of playing too restrictive and was actually kicked out of many orchestras simply because he played with too much feeling. In due course, Webb has explored almost every conceivable style of music in his efforts to express himself through his playing. Apart from his work as musician, Noel is an accomplished actor, having played roles on various TV shows such as Mad About You & General Hospital, & has also appeared in several films as well. Add to that his work as a film composer and one begins to appreciate the many varied talents of Mr. Webb.In the midst of this busy schedule, Webb recently recorded The Soul of. It's his 3rd release overall and from it we have Fever.
CD: The Soul of
Label: Labrador Records
Site: Noel Webb
- UltraBlue :
Producer John Smatla is the main architect behind the UltraBlue sound. A short while back, the classically trained pianist hooked up with veteran guitarist Dave Stryker. After cultivating some of the leading players on the East Coast including David Mann, Rachel Z and Pete Belasco; they set to work with the result being Dusk 2 Dawn, UltraBlue's recently released debut. The cd features a cool & sensual blend of smooth jazz together with many contemporary grooves. In addition to his production duties, Smatla’s piano, keyboard work, and his programming are heard on every track. As well, he wrote five of the pieces, including the tune that we chose on this occasion. Featured on the track are the vocals of Jose Loo.
Spot - Kevin Toney :
Back in the 1970s, Toney worked with Donald Byrd on various projects beginning with the Black Byrd release in 1972. He then continued as a member of the group, the Blackbyrds, recording seven albums in all, three of which he co-produced. During this period, he also furthered his musical education receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Composition and Jazz Studies. Although he released his first solo record in 1982, for many years Kevin recorded and/or performed as a supporting musician with many top artists, and was musical director for a wide variety of productions. With the 1994 release of Lovescape, his sophomore effort, Kevin's solo career finally took off. Subsequent projects have continued to impress as Toney combines elements of traditional jazz with brilliant melodies and contemporary production. Sweet Spot is his latest, a fabulous cd that rates as one of his best and one which should further cement Toney’s reputation as one of today’s top instrumental recording artists.
*Café Jazz Pick of the Week*
CD: Sweet Spot
Site: Kevin Toney
|Smooth Jazz News|
This past week we received an update from Brian Hughes on his forthcoming
project. The first single, Along The Way, has been shipped to SJ radio
and we should have that one for you in the next week or so. The cd,
which is also titled Along the Way, will be carried in the U.S. by the
A440 Music Group with a release date that is scheduled for July 8th.
And as well, Drew Bentley of Plan 9 wrote to inform us and all fans of Plan 9 that the group will be reviewed in the November issue of Jazziz as well as in the December edition of JazzTimes. Plan 9 will also be appearing on a network late night talk show, BET on Jazz, and the Weekend Today Show. So you if you dig the sounds of Plan 9, you may want to check those out.