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

November 11th, 2003
Edition #305 Previously Next

Highlights !
Guitarist Tim Bowman opens the show and gets us in just the right frame of mind with a super track titled Happiness Is ! Well we have a fair idea of what happens is....it's a few hours of soothing and stimulating music in the middle of your busy schedule. This show does not disappoint. New tunes from Seal and Special EFX are just two of the many musical highlights. Added to the mix are a couple of great Canadian tracks from Nura and Brian Hughes and a few current favourites from the likes of J.Thompson, Will Sumner, Eric Darius, and The Rippingtons. But it just wouldn't be right if we didn't include some outstanding tracks from the past. We've chosen a few selections from Craig Chaquico, Dancing Fantasy, Chris Camozzi, Michael Paulo, Basia, and the dude who takes the groove to the max (literally)... that would be Max Groove, that more than adequately fill the bill. So, is there a smoother or hipper show on radio? To paraphrase the words of "Home Improvement's" long-suffering Al Borland, "I don't think so Ted".

Showcase CD
Philly Style - Jeff Lorber:
One of the true pioneers of contemporary instrumental music, Jeff’s love of jazz began while he attended the Berklee College of Music. In the late 70s, the Philadelphia native formed The Jeff Lorber Fusion, a group that combined many elements from funk, R&B, rock and electric jazz. It was also the group which featured a then little-known sax player named Kenny G. The unit quickly became one of the most popular acts of the day, but was disbanded at the height of their popularity by Lorber, who chose instead to focus on production and session work. In the course of events, Jeff returned to recording his own music in the early 90s and quickly resumed his position as one of the most influential players of the day. Now seven cds into this newest phase of his career, Philly Style is his latest release and sees the teaming of Lorber with fellow Philadelphian Steven Dubin.
It’s with a great deal of pleasure that we showcase Philly Style from one of the great innovator & trend-setters in Smooth Jazz. We feature Laissez Faire, When She Smiles, and the very funky Step On It.

CD: Philly Style
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Jeff Lorber

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Back in Love - Alex Bugnon:
Although the Swiss born keyboardist began on piano playing classical music, Bugnon soon developed a love for a wide range of jazz thanks to his father, a jazz guitarist, and his uncle, trumpet great Donald Byrd. As a youth, he became hooked on funk and was also influenced by many of the great artists of the day such as Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, and EW&F. Every July Alex would hang at the world famous Jazz Festival in his hometown of Montreux where he experienced the power of music in a live setting. That’s when he realized that was what he wanted to do. For two years, Alex studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music and then relocated to the U.S. where he attended the Berklee School of Music. For a time, he worked as a session player in New York City, backing a variety of urban and jazz artists. Then, in 1989 and by now a veteran performer, Bugnon finally released his debut album.
The cd immediately established Bugnon as one of the core artists in the SJ genre, a position, which Alex further cemented with several subsequent and well-received releases. Southern Living is his latest. Although based in NYC, Bugnon felt it was time to try something just a bit different so for Southern Living he headed south to Atlanta to record with some of that city’s finest players and to give the cd a slightly different and perhaps more laid back flavour.

*Café Jazz Pick of the Week*

CD: Southern Living
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Alex Bugnon
Sing A Song - Richard Smith:
Although he was born in Detroit, Smith’s musical roots are firmly planted in Oregon, where he spent the better part of his youth. He left school at the age of 19 to pursue offers of a recording contract and a tour with keyboardist Dan Siegel. Richard spent a few years studying at USC in LA, where he entered a Masters program in music. At about the same time, Smith became immersed in that city’s burgeoning contemporary music scene. A demo tape, led in due course, to a lengthy gig with saxman Richard Elliot that included recording six #1 cds with Elliot. As part of his multi-faceted career, shortly after graduating from USC, Smith promptly turned around and joined the teaching faculty at that university’s highly regarded Thornton School of Music. In addition to his various projects as a music educator, Richard has simultaneously worked on a solo career with the release of several fine albums. Soulidified is the latest of these. From that offering we’ve selected the advance single, which is Smith’s take on Sing A Song, the old EW&F classic from the 70s.

CD: Soulidified
Label: A440 Music Group
Site: Rchard Smith

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
La Smooth - Najee :
Najee was one of the best-selling instrumental artists of the period from the late 80s to mid 90s. The native New Yorker was greatly influenced by the late Grover Washington Jr. as he cultivated an appealing blend of R&B, jazz, and pop flavoured tunes. Beginning with his debut in 1986, Najee found an instant home on SJ radio. Just out is Embrace, the sax and flute player’s 8th release overall and his first cd of entirely new material in over five years. From that endeavour we've chosen the track that Najee dedicates to his longtime musical idol.

CD: Embrace
Label : N-Coded Music

Precious Time - Keiko Matsui :
Blending a sound and style that’s rooted in jazz and classical music, the talented Keiko took her first piano lesson at the age of five. She was influenced by a wide variety of artists such as Rachmaninoff, Maurice Jarre and Stevie Wonder, to name a few, and began writing her own compositions as early as junior high. Ms Matsui, newly married at the time, released her first cd in North America in 1987, together with husband Kazu. The project, financed with their honeymoon money, was released to much critical acclaim. The Japanese born pianist continues to set her own course in contemporary instrumental music. Just out is White Owl, a limited edition cd also containing a DVD, both of which capture Keiko performing live at Tokyo’s Orchard Hall just over a year ago. For the most part, the selections featured are some of Matsui’s most popular pieces from her impressive library of well over a dozen albums. The level of artistry on several of the numbers is quite simply astounding. On this occasion we chose Precious Time, a solo piece and one which was previously issued on The Ring, in 2002.

CD: White Owl
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Keiko Matsui
JB's Strut - Poncho Sanchez:
Say the name Poncho Sanchez and most likely what comes to mind would be the image of a highly influential conga player and percussionist in Afro-Cuban jazz. It may not be a well known fact, but Poncho started out as a singer before he did anything else in music. In high school he was the front man for a band, as he performed soul and R&B hits of the day. In addition, Sanchez also learned all the moves of the legendary James Brown. On Out of Sight, his 21st (?) and latest record as a leader, Poncho to a large extent pays homage to one of the greatest influences from the early days of his career. From Out of Sight we have a sassy tribute to Brown titled JB’s Strut.

CD: Out of Sight
Label: Concorde Picante
Site : Poncho Sanchez

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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.

Chris Camozzi - Slow Burn (2001 ~ Samson Records)
Max Groove - A Beautiful Day (2001 ~ Orpheus Music)

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