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

February 28th, 2004
Edition #317 Previously Next

Highlights !
On today's show we're grooving to the cool sounds of Eric Marienthal. Sweet Talk is the latest from the veteran saxman and we're spotlighting a few tracks from that one as part of our showcase cd feature. Then in hour 2 it's time for Fresh Trax. On this installment we have music from Hubert Laws. Moondance is his new one and we have a great tune from that release which features both Jeff Lorber and Rob Mullins. We have music from Tower of Power's Roger Smith with an advance single from his forthcoming project. We're introducing the music of James Hollihan, a creative and innovative multi-instrumentalist from Nashville Tennessee, and as well we have selections from Konstantin Klashtorni out of The Netherlands and California's The Jazzy Devils. But that's not all. We're playing one of the best pieces that Brian Culbertson has ever recorded. Slim Man is on the show. We have another superb track from Dan Seigel's forthcoming release and our closing set will leave you speechless. Without sounding too boastful, this may very well be one of our finest programs to date!

Showcase CD
Sweet Talk - Eric Marienthal :
In a genre that's heavily laden with sax players, there are 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.

After attending Berklee in Boston for a couple of years, Eric toured with Al Hirt for a period of seven months. This was followed by various session work including time spent in the employment of the Walt Disney studios. In 1986, Marienthal connected with Chick Corea and soon became a member of Corea's acclaimed Elektric Band, taking part in a pair of projects under that banner. With the release of his solo debut in 1987, Marienthal launched a career that can only be described as prolific and no doubt the envy of many a musician.

Over the years, Marienthal has well demonstrated his adeptness at playing virtually any style that he wishes. Now over 15 years into a very busy and multifaceted 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 and is the cd that we've chosen to showcase on this occasion. We open with a nice tune titled Like A River, include the fantastic title track and conclude with Mist Trail.

CD: Sweet Talk (2003)
Label: Peak Records
Site: Eric Marienthal

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Night Groove - Jazzy Devils:
Founded by Peter Cor, (formerly of Helios) and presently based in the Bay Area, the Jazzy Devils are a quintet of musicians for whom jazz is the corner stone of their playing. However, intertwined in their music are a wide variety of influences giving The Devils a unique sound & style. Burning Bridges is their debut and from it we have the cool groove of Night Groove.

CD: Burning Bridges (2004)
Label: Inner Cor Music
Site: Jazzy Devils

Bloodshot - Hubert Laws:
Born the second of eight children in a musical family in Houston Texas, Laws grew up directly across from a honky-tonk. Starting out on piano and then moving to mellophone and alto sax, Hubert first picked up the flute in high school. That was also the time that he became exposed to jazz & also began his classical training. He enjoyed the freedom of jazz and began playing regularly with a Houston group initially known as the Modern Jazz Sextet and later as the Jazz Crusaders. After high school, Hubert enrolled at Texas Southern University, leaving for Los Angeles with the Crusaders after two years there. This eventually became a point of departure for as Laws won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music in New York, where he completed his studies. Now 20 cds into a multifaceted career that also includes various session work & his own publishing companies, Laws has just released Moondance. From that effort, we have a great track that features Jeff Lorber on acoustic piano & Rob Mullins on assorted keys.

CD: Moondance (2004)
Label: Savoy Jazz
Site: Hubert Laws

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Fresh Trax: Part Two

Rough Cut - Roger Smith:
Keyboardist Roger Smith currently doubles as a member of Tower of Power. The veteran performer of 30 years or so has appeared on a wide variety of projects and for the past eight years has also worked at nurturing a solo career. Well versed and versatile at his craft, Smith's efforts have gained ever-increasing recognition. From Just Enough his soon to be released 4th offering we have the advance single. This is a great track featuring not only Smith's nimble keyboard work but some fantastic & funky horn work from several TOP members who guest on the track.

CD: Just Enough (2004)
Label: trippin'n' Rhythm Records
Site: Roger Smith

Waltz of the Leaves - James Hollihan:
Now what can I say about a project that's called the Funky Misfit? First off, the title may be a bit of a misnomer. OK! So the dude definitely is funky, but quite frankly to my mind he's no misfit. While countless others toil in vain, Hollihan not only succeeds but indeed excels at a project that's highly creative and totally unique. Could Hollihan be a prodigy of sorts who cleverly disguises his brilliance in the trappings of a humble misfit? That may be close to the truth. Or perhaps the misfit moniker is an allusion to the fact that he's located in Nashville, the country music capitol of the world. Nevertheless, on this his initial solo outing, Hollihan is the proverbial one-man band, having not only composed all the tracks and played each & every instrument, but having also recorded and mixed the entire cd. In a time where much of what we hear is prepackaged and formula driven this one stands out from the rest. From this excellent effort, we'll be experiencing five minutes of sheer musical bliss as Hollihan transports us to special place.

CD: The Funky Misfit (2004)

Sunday - Konstantin Klashtorni:
A new name on the SJ scene, the Ukrainian born Konstantin Klashtorni debuts on this edition. The well travelled saxplayer comes to us now from Holland via Venezuela. Klashtorni's studies on jazz sax first began at the Music College in Kiev, following which he explored various styles such as hard bop & cool jazz. He'd been recording with several of that country's most famous artists, when in 1995 he chose to relocate to Venezuela. While there Klashtorni experienced first hand the stylings of Latin American music, thereby enriching his own musical personality. In the year 2000, Klashtorni once again crossed the Atlantic, this time choosing to settle in Holland. He resumed his training spending some time at the conservatories in both Rotterdam and The Hague all the while continuing to hone his skills as a performer. Downtown is his just released solo debut & from it we have a great tune simply titled Sunday.

CD: Downtown (2004)
Label: Nightstage Records

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