Featuring the Smooth Groove of Today's Jazz!
Show Notes The Café Jazz Newsletter

February 7, 2004
Edition #315 Previously Next

Highlights !
On today's show we're featuring some of the cool sounds of Alex Bugnon & his Southern Living release. Then in hour 2 it's time again for FT. We have new music from Dan Siegel one of the pioneers in the SJ genre. There's also a new release from Peter White on the horizon and we have the advance single from that. As well, we're introducing the music of Grady Nichols and there's also a superb track from Cellar Funk, the latest from the Stuart Wade & DTTB. Once again, that's coming up in hour 2. But in the meantime there's more new music from Gregg Karukas & Jason Weber as we continue to explore each of their releases. We'll be featuring an exquisite track from Earl Klugh from a few years back that we've never played before. Merely telling you about this one cannot do the music justice. This is one that has to be experienced. Kuh Ledesma is on the show as is Brian Tarquin, a couple of names that you don't hear frequently enough. Then we finish with a flourish giving you The Jazzmasters, Tom Grant, Khani Cole and Joyce Cooling. There is no doubt, Cafe Jazz is your passport to musical adventure.

Showcase CD
Southern Living - Alex Bugnon :
The Swiss born keyboardist began by learning a classical style of playing. However, Bugnon soon developed a love for jazz in its many varied forms thanks to his father, a jazz guitarist, and his uncle, trumpet great Donald Byrd. His love of music didn't stop there however, as he became hooked on funk and was also influenced by some of the popular artists of the day such as Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, & EW&F. As a youth Alex would hang out at the world famous the Montreux Jazz Festival, which occurred in his hometown every July. This proved to be one of the biggest forces in guiding Bugnon musically as he experienced the power of music in a live setting.

For two years, Bugnon 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 Alex as one of the core artists in the SJ genre, a position, which he 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. The release is one of his best to date and is also the one that we've chosen to showcase on this occasion. We open with Slow Drag a tune that nicely embodies that cool laid back flavor and feature Back in Love as well as the title track.

CD: Southern Living (2003)
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Alex Bugnon

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Fresh Trax: Part One

In Your Eyes - Dan Siegel:
The roots of smooth jazz can be traced back to the 70s or so with Portland, Oregon as one of the original hot beds. Kenny G, Jeff Lorber, Richard Smith, Tom Grant, and of course Dan Siegel were prominent players on the scene as they haunted the nightclubs of that state's largest city. While honing their chops they also laid the foundations for a new movement in music.

With the release of his 1980 solo debut & several subsequent recordings, Siegel became a staple in the early days of the format. In all Dan has had 15 releases under his own name as well as 3 more as leader of the all-star Birds of a Feather project. Inside Out, his latest and soon to be released cd is Dan's first album of all-new material in over six years. Judging by the track that we have for you today the album promises to provide more of Siegel's remarkable creativity while remaining true to the style and sound that made him a favourite in the early days of SJ. From Inside Out, we have the advance single a tune on which long time friend Boney James is featured on sax.

*Pictured is the cover art for a four song EP featuring some of the selections from the forthcoming release. This is available for download on the Native Language web site.*

CD: Inside Out (2004)
Label: Native Language
Site: Dan Siegel
Clima Suave - Jazz Crusaders ft. Wayne Henderson:
Not to be confused with The Crusaders or for that matter the original Jazz Crusaders both of whom Henderson played with during various stages of his career. This does takes a bit of explanation but please bear with me as we unravel some musical history. The story begins in Houston Texas, in the mid 50s. It was during this period that Henderson played regularly with Wilton Felder, Joe Sample, & Stix Hooper. Hubert Laws & Henry Wilson rounded out the combo who were then known as the Modern Jazz Sextet. By 1961, after changing a couple of personnel, the group moved to Los Angeles & began performing as The Jazz Crusaders. They became well known for their distinctive front line that featured the dueling sounds of Henderson's trombone & Felder's tenor sax as well as for their gritty style of hard bop. In 1971, the group dropped jazz from their name.

This change signaled a shift of sorts to a more R&B-oriented style. With the addition of Larry Carlton, the band reached unprecedented popularity recording 2 superb cds. It was just between these releases that Henderson chose to leave the group, who continued to record for many years as The Crusaders.

In the early 90s Henderson & Felder reunited for a pair of recordings & were backed by an all star cast of players who were teasingly dubbed The Next Crusade. For his next project however, Henderson chose to resurrect Jazz Crusaders as a moniker and has since recorded several more cds using that name. To complicate things yet further Sample, Felder & Hooper got back together in 2002 to release Rural Renewal as The Crusaders. That brings us to the present as it's now Henderson's turn for the latest chapter in the saga. Just out is Soul Axess from Jazz Crusaders featuring Wayne himself. From that effort we'll be hearing the debut single titled Clima Suave. The tune is subtitled Smooth & Cool but loosely translated from the French suave & Latin's clima, that would be Smooth Climate.

CD: Soul Axess (2003)
Label: True Life Jazz

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Fresh Trax: Part Two

Talkin' Bout Love - Peter White :
It's quite rare that an artist can maintain a high level of creativity & musical integrity and yet meet not only with critical acclaim but also commercial success. Such a player is Mr. White. For over a dozen years now, Peter has created not only some the most melodic & memorable music in SJ but has also helped define the genre with a string of chart-topping releases. Always distinctive, Peter's inviting acoustic guitar work has seduced many a listener with the warmth of his playing and beautiful instrumentation. Confidential is Peter's soon to be released ninth album and promises to provide yet another fabulous chapter in the story of one the most endearing artists of our times. From Confidential, we have Talkin' Bout Love the advance single.

*Final cover art is not available at this time.*

CD: Confidential (2004)
Label: Columbia
Site: Peter White

Circle of Friends - Grady Nichols:
Nichols picked up his first sax while in the sixth grade. He continued to play throughout high school & university and after graduating, moved to Tulsa OK. There, he quickly became known on that city's scene for his appealing blend of jazz and gospel music. Nichols released his solo debut in 1996, & with the effort Grady became recognized as one of the brighter emerging stars on the SJ scene.

Just out is Sophistication, now his fourth and latest cd. Nichols has definitely kicked things up a notch on this new endeavour, having enlisted the aid of Jeff Lorber who produced and co-wrote the album. Chris Botti & Ray Fuller both make guest appearances and Paul Brown the award-winning producer handles all the mixing duties. The completion of the project was spread out over a lengthy period and also spanned two major events as Nichols first got married and then became a father. This combination of circumstances and key personnel provided the backdrop & all the right ingredients to make this release a winner. Indeed, in Nichols' own estimation, it's his best project to date, and I couldn't agree more. From Sophistication we have the highly melodic & engaging Circle of Friends.

CD: Sophistication (2003)
Label:Grady Nichols Ltd.
Site: Grady Nichols

I'll Always Hold You Close - Down to the Bone:
It's definitely all about the good groove with this track from Cellar Funk. This is now the fifth cd to be issued by the band that is not really a band in the strict sense of the word. Instead DTTB is a unique project spearheaded by composer and producer Stuart Wade. Although he doesn't play an instrument, Wade is the man behind the ensemble that has been hailed as the kings of the groove scene in the UK.

The story begins about 10 years or so ago when Wade was involved with Think Twice a successful soul/jazz band together with Chris Morgans (cofounder of Internal Base Records). The pair were involved in a couple of other projects along the way including the formation of Peace of Mind but it was the creation of DTTB in 1996 that really took off.

The name DTTB came more or less by accident when Wade was re-mixing a track and peeled the sound down to its bare essence, stripping it down to the bone so to speak in order to give it a harder & more funky edge. Wade & Morgans collaborated on the two initial outings by DTTB before going their separate ways.

To create the sound of the Bone, Stuart hooks up with a pianist and hums the melody that he has in mind. It is then the job of that keyboardist, on this occasion it being Neil Cowley, to interpret and transfer the melody to music. Wade then oversees the recording of the entire project and has final say as to the finished product, a rather unusual approach to say the least but one that has met with terrific success. The track that we'll be hearing is I'll Always Hold You Close, co-written by bassist Richard Sadler. Also featured are Paul Shilts Weimar on sax and Brain Auger who guested on Hammond organ on the track.

* Second DTTB release to sport art work by Frank Morrison.*

CD: Cellar Funk (2004)
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: DTTB

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