June 21, 2003
If you're looking for music to relax and energize you for the week ahead, you've come to the right place. In addition to our usual Showcase CD and Fresh Trax features, we have a show that is packed with terrific music from beginning to end. On the Canadian front, we present selections from Rik Emmett & The Ron Paley Big Band. Current favourites on the show include tracks from Pieces of a Dream, Spyro Gyra, Steve Briody, & Daryl Hall, among others. We also have some classic smooth jazz from Peter Horvath, Acoustic Alchemy, & Euge Groove, as well one from the recently released and appropriately titled The Very Best of Marc Antoine. As a bit of a bonus we have the new single from Michael Lington; all of this in addition to our customary surprise or two. So, why not catch the show and make Café Jazz, your weekend getaway!
Night Grooves - Chieli Minucci :
Minucci readily acknowledges that he was pretty well born with music already running through his veins; his father was a composer and arranger who regularly worked with artists such as Nat "King" Cole. Minucci's own training included the piano and guitar both by the age of 8. Chieli furthered his musical education by attending Ithaca College where he developed his unique approach to playing the guitar. Upon graduation, Minucci played in a variety of rock and pop groups.Then in 1982, he teamed up with Hungarian-born percussionist, the late George Jinda, forming Special EFX and developing an interest in contemporary jazz. The pair recorded extensively and by the mid 1990s were riding an ever increasing wave of creativity and popularity when Minucci chose to launch his solo career. Since then, Chieli has developed into one of the most respected artist in contemporary instrumental music.
| He has not only resurrected the Special EFX
name with 2 releases, but has done numerous session work as well writing
and producing for various artists. In addition he won an Emmy for his
efforts on the TV show, Guiding Light; not to mention the continuation
of his own career with what is now a total of five releases. Night Grooves
is the most recent of these and the one that finds itself in our musical
spotlight on this occasion. So as we showcase Night Grooves, we feature
Foolin' Around Again, the title track, as well as Kickin' it Hard.
CD: Night Grooves
Site: Chieli Minucci
|Fresh Trax: Part One|
Cantina - Paul Taylor :
Taylor grew up in Denver and first picked up the sax at age seven. He developed his distinctive style while listening to players such as Grover Washington Jr. and David Sanborn, and first considered a career in music while still in high school. After receiving a scholarship in music at the University of Nevada, Paul often commuted to Los Angeles in an effort to build his resume. In the course of things, he took part in a session with Jeff Lorber and a few years later was asked to accompany Lorber at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. As he performed, Taylor was spotted by keyboardist Keiko Matsui and her producer/husband Kazu, who both enjoyed his playing and stage presence. He was offered an audition and ended up recording and touring with Keiko for two years and in fact it was Kazu who produced the saxman’s debut release in 1995. Now, after a brief stint touring with the Rippingtons a couple of years ago, Taylor has resumed his solo career and has just released Steppin’ Out, his 5th project overall. From that effort we have a very pretty track titled Cantina.
CD: Steppin' Out
Label: Peak Records
Site: Paul Taylor
Jazz Is - The Ron Paley Big Band :
A native of Winnipeg, Paley spent some time at Berklee in Boston. For a period he toured first with Buddy Rich and then Woody Herman, and as well enjoyed a month-long stint backing Frank Sinatra. In 1976, upon his return to Winnipeg, Paley formed the Big Band. The ensemble has toured throughout Canada, including a week of performances at Expo 86, and has also appeared with various guest artists such as Louis Bellson, Rob McConnell, Billy Cobham, and Rosemary Clooney. Adept at performing a wide variety of styles including jazz and pop, Paley & his group have recorded 2 albums and as well, several performances have also been recorded for radio and television.
Recently Paley played a concert of new music including the track that we’ll be hearing. It’s titled Jazz Is. Considering his extensive list of credential, Paley may well be regarded as somewhat of an authority on the subject. This one features Paley on keys and vocals with some excellent soloing by Michel Pare on both sax and flute.
CD: Bring 'Em Back
Label: Independent Release
|Fresh Trax: Part Two|
Athens Park - Paul Jackson Jr.
A composer, arranger, producer and guitarist, Jackson is a highly respected musician. He attended the University of Southern California, majoring in music and after graduating, Paul became well known as a skilled and versatile session player. Over the years Jackson has recorded with most of the biggest names in entertainment and as well has worked at establishing his own solo career. Although previous releases have not quite paralleled Jackson’s studio successes as a supporting musician, this may all change with his latest offering. Titled Still Small Voice, (the title being an allusion to a passage in the Bible), the release is Jackson’s 6th overall. Melody and mood are key ingredients as they are skilfully combined with Jackson’s always superb playing resulting in what may very well represent this spiritual artist’s finest project to date. From that endeavour, Athens Park is the track that we've chosen, a nice piece which takes a fond and reflective look at the times Jackson enjoyed frequenting that park as a youth growing up in LA.
*Café Jazz Pick of the Week*
CD: Still Small Voice
Label: Blue Note Records
Site: Paul Jackson Jr
Detroit to Cali - Dave McMurray :
Although his first instrument was the clarinet, McMurray switched to the saxophone shortly after seeing Cannonball Adderley perform. He now plays several different saxes and indeed has developed into a well versed multi-instrumentalist having also added the flute and various keyboards to the list of instruments that he’s mastered. For a time the Detroit native performed as a member of the funk group, Was (Not Was). He’s played & toured with Bob James on several occasions and as well has worked on developing his own solo career. Nu Life Stories is now his latest and 4th project under his own name. On the release McMurray not only weaves his usual blend of intoxicating melodies but he also continues to explore new musical territory, all seamlessly connected by his wonderful playing.
CD: Nu-Life Stories
Label: Hip Bop
17 Mile Drive - The Rippingtons :
The concept for The Rippingtons can be traced back to about 1987 or so, when a small record label in Japan contacted Russ Freeman. Following the success of Nocturnal Playground, his solo project, the company was interested in having the guitarist and synthesizer whiz produce an album for them. Freeman called up a few friends, including David Benoit, Gregg Karukas, Kenny G, Steve Reid, Dave Koz, and Brandon Fields and asked if they would be interested in playing on the record. The result was Moonlighting, one of the most successful projects ever in the SJ format and one which gave birth to the band. Over the years since that time, the sound and style of the group has continued to evolve as new personnel make their way into the line-up every few years or so. Yet the one constant is Freeman himself, who writes all the songs and is largely responsible for the production duties. This has all resulted in a musical library that is now over a dozen cds deep with Let it Ripp being their latest.
CD: Let it Ripp
Label: Peak Records
Site: The Rippingtons