Featuring the Smooth Groove of Today's Jazz!
This Week at CaféJazz.ca

October 25, 2003
Edition #304 Previously Next

Highlights !
On this show we kick things up a notch. The vibe is definitely exciting and fresh as in addition to our new music segment we also have tunes by The Jazzmasters, Andrew Oh, Special EFX and Acoustic Alchemy. All are taken from recent releases and none have ever before been played on our show. But it just wouldn't be right if we didn't also include some standout tracks from the past. So we've included selections from Peter White, Oleta Adams, Ray Obiedo, and Bob Mamet, among others. Add to the mix a couple of great Canadian guitarists namely Dino Pacifici and Ray Garand; throw in some music from artists who for whatever reason may not receive their fair share of airplay (Rob Mullins and Blue Knights) and a handful of current favourites from artists such as Michael Bublé and Pamela Williams and ..BAM! ...there you have it.... a highly combustible fusion of flavours and styles that we call Café Jazz!

Showcase CD
All the Way - Ken Navarro:
As did many artists in the Smooth Jazz genre, Navarro began his recording career as a premiere session player. In short order, he had played and recorded with a diverse list of artists including Doc Severinsen, John Pattitucci and Dave Koz, among others. In 1990, however, Navarro decided to establish his own musical identity as he simultaneously launched his solo career and a brand new record label.

In a field that’s packed with many great guitarists, Navarro’s name may sometimes be overlooked. Nevertheless, he’s consistently delivered a string of superior releases that rate high on melody, are carefully crafted, uplifting and are always delivered with the utmost taste. In the process, Ken has compiled a very impressive catalogue of over a dozen quality projects of which All the Way is the most recent addition.
As such, it’s with a great deal of pleasure that we showcase the latest from an outstanding guitarist and a personal favourite. We begin with It's Up To You and include Whenever You're Around and Bringing Down the House. After you hear Ken's wonderful style and exceptional tone, I’m confident that you too will fall in love with the music of this phenomenal artist.

CD: All the Way

Label: Shanachie
Site: Ken Navarro

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Sweet Talk - Eric Marienthal:
In a genre that is heavily laden with sax players, there may be only a handful that might be considered as great musicians. These would be an illustrious few who continue to grow in their craft and who not only stretch the boundaries of Smooth Jazz but are sought out time and time again for the versatility and quality of their playing. One such artist, whose talent is unsurpassed and belongs on any short list of the best in the business, would be LA native, Eric Marienthal.

Now 15 years into a very busy and multi-faceted career, Marienthal continues to explore new creative territory, with Sweet Talk, his latest and 10th release overall. Although the cd features collaborations with several long time friends and players from the West Coast, for the most part the project was recorded in NYC.
It sees Marienthal hook up with award winning producer Jason Miles and a few of the Big Apple’s finest players. The album hits the mark squarely, navigating through some tricky terrain as it forges into fresh territory and yet maintains a familiarity that is reassuring. As such, in my humble opinion, it ranks as one of Eric’s most distinguished efforts to date. Among the many highlights is the title track, a tune that Marienthal wrote with his 13-year old son Robert, and the one that we've selected on this occasion.

***Café Jazz Pick of the Week***

CD: Sweet Talk
Label: Peak Records
Site: Eric Marienthal
Vibrolux - Jeff Golub:
Based in New York City, Golub’s blend of blues, rock, and jazz has made him one of the most popular guitarists in contemporary instrumental music. After attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Golub, in the mid 80s, rose to prominence as a top session player and sideman, working with artists such as Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, and Rod Stewart. In 1994, after about an 8-year stint with Stewart, Jeff left that band to pursue other musical interests. He formed his own contemporary jazz group, dubbing the project Avenue Blue. Rather than consisting of a set cast of players, the band format was used as a platform of sorts and served to showcase Golub’s somewhat prodigious guitar talents. Three cds were issued under the Avenue Blue banner, each produced by fellow Stewart band mate, Rick Braun and now four more have followed under Golub’s own name. Soul Sessions is the latest of these. From that offering we’ve selected the cool vibe of Vibrolux.

CD: Soul Sessions
Label: GRP Records
Site: Jeff Golub

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Double Play - The Steven Lee Group:
Out of Las Vegas Nevada comes the Steven Lee Group. Bandleader Lee became well known as a session guitarist and club player in Detroit, while being groomed for a career in classical music. His composing and arranging skills led to many TV appearances as well as work in several Las Vegas production shows. He’s performed with the legendary B.B. King, Tower of Power and Blood, Sweat and Tears and about 3 years ago decided to form his own band. The six-member group delivers a blend of traditional & contemporary jazz with a sprinkling of fusion & Flamenco. Lee shares the spotlight with fellow front man Rocco Barbato, who contributes on sax, together with keyboardist Brenda Leonard Cowart, who is Mrs. Steven Lee. From the Ground Up is their sophomore offering.

CD: From the Ground Up
Label : Sonic Thrust Records
Site: Steven Lee Group
196 Dawn - Praful:
Attracted by the music scene in Amsterdam the German born saxplayer and flautist, moved to that city in the late 80s. Praful studied jazz at the School of Arts and in the early 90s began to focus on Latin, Brazilian, African and Indian music, regularly spending time abroad in order to experience firsthand the influence of these styles. In 1997, he began to delve into some developing forms of music, such as trip hop, dance and drum&bass. After issuing an unofficial solo album in 1999, One Day Deep was released on a small Dutch label in 2001. Perhaps best described as a crossover between world and electronic music, the cd features a jazz and chill influenced vibe as well as a blend of some more exotic rhythms and flavours and was released in North America just this past summer.

CD: One Day Deep
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment/N-Coded Music
Site : Praful
Luquillo Beach - Urban Jazz Coalition:
Based in Columbus Ohio, "The Coalition" is one of the hottest groups to emerge on the contemporary jazz scene in quite some time. In past eight years they’ve appeared at over 750 live dates opening for some of the biggest names in the biz, such as The Rippingtons, Larry Carlton, & Rick Braun among others. They first broke onto the Smooth Jazz scene a few years back with the release of Into the Night, their sophomore project. The album presented a fresh mix of Jazz, R&B, and Latin styles that made many new fans for the group nationally in the US and thanks to programs such as our own Café Jazz, this has led to some international exposure as well. Contempo, their follow up project was recorded in conjunction with a contract that the group was awarded as winners of a Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by Jazziz magazine. The soon to be released Long Street is their latest foray into Smooth Jazz and continues the tradition of excellence that has become a hallmark of the ensemble. Although promotion of the new cd doesn't officially begin until January of 2004, we're pleased to present a sneak preview of this forthcoming release.

CD: Long Street
Label: Major 6th Records
Site: UJC

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Indispensable Smooth Jazz Listening:
Each week we provide you with a short list of cds that we recommend without hesitation. This is music that you should not do without; as such we endorse these cds wholehearted and consider them as indispensable listening. As is our custom, we're playing a track from each of the following on this show.

Ray Obiedo - Sticks & Stones (1993 ~ Windham Hill)
Peter White - Excusez-Moi (1992 ~ Sin-Drome Records)

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