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

June 19th, 2004
Edition #328 Previously

Highlights !
What a fabulous show we have for you! On this edition, we're showcasing No Assembly Required, the latest from James Lloyd, Curtis Harmon, & Pieces of a Dream. This, their 3rd release on Heads Up, continues to set and may well contain some of their finest work to date. The FT segment follows in hour 2. If you're looking for new music, that falls a bit outside of the fair that you may normally hear on commercial radio, no doubt this segment will have something that's just right for you!

One of the highlights is the advance single by David Benoit & Russ Freeman and The Benoit Freeman Project II. We have brand new music as well from Patrick Yandall & Ricardo Scales, and we're also introducing the music of Italy's Doctor Jazz & guitarist Craig Boyd.

In This Issue:

No Assembly Required - Pieces

Your Sweet Love - Ricardo Scales
Since I Met You - Craig Boyd
First Dance - Patrick Yandall
Palmetto Park - Benoit / Freeman
Because of You - Doctor Jazz

We have more new music from Peter White, Eliane Elias, Spyro Gyra, and Nestor Torres as we explore each of their recent albums. Under the heading of hidden gems we have one from Germany's Christoph Spendel and Canada's own Ray Garand. Current favourites include Torcuato Mariano, Jon Dalton, and Alan Hewitt; and of course there is the customary collection of classics from artists such as Greg Vail, The L.A. Jazz Syndicate, and Craig Chaquico. Discover the difference, Café Jazz, your escape from ordinary radio!

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Showcase CD
No Assembly Required - Pieces of a Dream:
Back in 70s, fusion was a major force in jazz. Towards the end of the decade though, its popularity had already peaked and was beginning to wane. In various pockets of the US however, there were handfuls of musicians paving the road from what contemporary jazz was at that time to what it is now, more than a quarter of a century later. In Philadelphia, one of these was the band Pieces of a Dream.

The group was first formed when two of the founding members, James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon, were still teenagers. Initially, they performed as The Classic Touch. Later however, they adopted Pieces of a Dream as their name, basing it on a tune by Stanley Turrentine that was part of their repertoire. One day as they were practicing their cover of a Grover Washington Jr. track, they were spotted by Grover himself. Washington enjoyed their playing so much that he joined them on Mister Magic, one of his own signature selections.

It was shortly after that Grover announced he was starting a production company and that he wanted Pieces of a Dream as his first act. In the course of things, Washington became their mentor and in fact produced their first three albums. The recordings not only helped establish the Lloyd and Harmon as bona fide artists, but also helped define the emerging sound of smooth jazz.

A few years ago, the pair moved over to the Heads Up label as they celebrated 25 years in the music business. The new deal seems to have breathed new life into their music and resulted in the issue of a trio of albums that contain much of their finest work to date. In addition to the standard of excellence that has become a hallmark for the ensemble, there are new avenues that the band continues to explore. Nevertheless, melody and groove continue to be integral to their overall style and sound and in this regard, No Assembly Required is no exception. As such this cd is a great choice as the subject for today's feature. From the showcase cd, we begin with Who You Wit. Summer kicks off hour 2 and It's Go Time closes the show..

CD: No Assembly Required
Label: Heads Up International
Site: Pieces

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Your Sweet Love - Ricardo Scales:
Although he now plays like a master, Ricardo's dreams of a career in music were for a time shattered. At the age of 19, his left hand was paralyzed by an accident. Unwilling to accept the prognosis of the medical community that he would never be able to play piano again, Scales devised his own therapy. He painstakingly used his right hand to re-teach his left hand as to how to work the keys. Years of pain and effort eventually paid off. Destiny is now the San Francisco based performer's seventh solo project. From that release, we present a very pretty piece titled Your Sweet Love.

CD: Destiny
Label: Bay Sound Records
Since I Met You - Craig Boyd:
One of Boyd's earliest memories relates to hearing his mother play hymns on the piano as she sang. At the age of 6, Craig was smitten by the sound of the guitar and took it up shortly thereafter. He played in various bands throughout high school and then, after a false start in pursuit of a career leading to optometry, Boyd returned to college to study music. He graduated from SUNY and continued on at Berklee in Boston. Although the workload there was demanding, he earned degrees in Composition and Music Education, which resulted in opportunities for free lance work in various capacities in and around Boston and New York. However, after years of contributing to of a variety of projects, Boyd chose to launch a second career as a music educator. He earned an MA in Music Composition and another in Liberal Arts and Sciences. This led to a position back at SUNY and because of his combination of experience and education, he moved quickly through the ranks to become the Chair of Music at that institution. Nevertheless, never losing sight of his ultimate dream in music, Boyd has just issued his debut album titled Back on Track. From that release, Since I Met You is the tune that we've chosen. It's a totally soothing and inspiring selection.

CD: Back on Track
Label: Jetison Productions
Site: Craig Boyd

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Fresh Trax: Part Two

First Dance - Patrick Yandall:
Over the years Yandall has built a reputation as the consummate working musician, but to quote Patrick, "recording (my own) albums is truly what I live for". The San Diego based guitarist is soon due to release his fifth solo cd. The project is dedicated to all the families that lost their homes in the San Diego fires just last year. Yandall himself was forced to evacuate although his home was spared. Hence the title, From the Ashes. With the support of several top shelf players, including such notables h as Scott Wilkie, Spyro Gyra's Joel Rosenblatt, Kimo Cornwell (Hiroshima) and Randy Brecker (among others), Yandall delivers what is arguably his most consistent and finest effort to date. From that release we've selected First Dance a beautifully expressive piece and one which features the saxwork of CJ favourite, Jason Weber.

CD: From the Ashes
Label: Apria Records
Site: Patrick Yandall

Palmetto Park - David Benoit / Russ Freeman:
The pairing of 2 of the top artists in SJ results in what is destined to be one of the top reunion albums for the year. The two first worked together back in the mid 80s on Moonlighting, the landmark debut from The Rippingtons, and then again on a full fledged collaboration that was appropriately titled The Benoit Freeman Project. The latter was released in 1994 and achieved a fair degree of critical acclaim as well as commercial success. Although there have been other occasions on which they have participated on various tracks, now a decade later, the time seemed right for another major effort from the two. The focus is appropriately placed on the pleasing interplay between their ideas & instruments. From their second album as The Benoit Freeman Project we're featuring Palmetto Park, the delightful advance single.

CD: Benoit Freeman Project II
Label: Peak Records

Because of You - Doctor Jazz's Universal Remedy:
Doc Delavie is the DJ and the record collector, Doc Marcus contributes his skills in producing and songwriting, Doc Blade is an exceptionally gifted saxplayer and Miss Loulou provides the vocals. Together they are Doctor Jazz and back in their homeland of Italy, the group is already well known on the avant garde scene. The quartet has developed a style that expertly combines hi-tech programming and sampling within a traditional jazz band feel. Chill based and smooth, Universal Remedy Release 1.0 is their new cd. From that effort, Because of You is the track that we've selected.

CD: Release 1.0
Label: Kristal Entertainment
Site: Kriztal

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