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

July 3, 2004
Edition #329 Previously Next

A Café Jazz Special Presentation:
Smooth Jazz in Canada Eh !

Please join me for this special edition of our show. On this occasion, we're featuring the music of Canadian Smooth Jazz artists exclusively. We first did this last year and we're doing it again, so I guess it's now an annual event. We're calling the whole affair, Smooth Jazz in Canada, Eh! Now you might not get the chance to hear some of these performers anywhere else, but we're pleased and proud to play them and to do our bit in helping promote some national pride in their musical accomplishments. So sit back, relax and get set to enjoy a totally unique listening experience as we showcase some of the smoothest and freshest music that this great country has to offer... only on Café Jazz, Canada's Smooth Jazz Connection!

In This Issue

Rue Clarendon - Nura
Your Sweetness is My Weakness
- Eddie Bullen
Only You - Ray Garand
Angel of the Night - Alexander Zonjic
Bossa on the Breeze - Dino Pacifici
Momentum - Jamie Bonk


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Highlights Hour One
Rue Clarendon - Nura:
Originally hailing from Ottawa, Nura studied voice training at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She spent several years touring with various groups singing Folk, Rock and Jazz and it was during this period that she met Stuart Steinhart, a most innovative musician, bassist & composer . The two teamed up with drummer Randy Cooke with the result being a fresh amalgams of styles that has evolved into the sound of Nura. Her self-titled debut was released last year to a fair degree of critical acclaim and commercial success. From that effort we've selected Rue Clarendon, a CJ favourite since the day that I first heard it. Helping out on the track are Richard Uglow on piano with guest Luis Conte on percussion rounding out the sound of the ensemble on the track.

CD: Nura (self-titled)
Label: Start Music Productions

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Your Sweetness is My Weakness - Eddie Bullen:
Bullen has been based in Toronto since 1980, following a move from his native Grenada. As the man in charge of Thunder Dome studios, Eddie has worked with many major Canadian artists and also composed and arranged scores for a variety of TV networks. Although he began his career in music in 1971, it wasn't until 1996 that Eddie started his own foray into jazz with the release of Nocturnal Affair. He's now recorded two solo projects under his own name with a 3rd that is soon to be released, to go along with yet another as a member of NEWA that was released a couple of years back. On this occasion we're going back to Bullen's debut album. From that effort we've chosen Your Sweetness is My Weakness, a track that features Glen Lewis on vocals and one that Eddie lovingly wrote for his wife Joannie.

* Desert Rain, Eddie's new album is se for a July 13th release date!*

CD: Nocturnal Affair
Label: QDB Music
Site: Eddie Bullen

Only You - Ray Garand:
Garand has been active as a musician since his early teens resulting in a career that spans well over 20 years. In 1985 or so, Ray settled on Canada's west coast, where he became involved in various aspects of recording, producing and engineering. He's always had a fascination with contemporary jazz so it was only natural that when he set up his own studio, he gravitated to that style of music. This has resulted in the recording of three superb cds. From Blameless, the most recent of these, we have an incredible tune. In addition to some fantastic bluesy tinged guitar work, Ray plays all the instruments and as well as handling the recording and production duties on the track. Falling under the heading of a talent deserving much broader recognition, you really owe to yourself to hear Ray's music. You won't be disappointed!

* Cover Art by Lori-ann Latremouille. Visit Lori-ann's site.*

CD: Blameless
Label: Independent Release
Site: Ray Garand

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Highlights Hour Two

Angel of the Night - Alexander Zonjic:
Zonjic started in music as a rock guitarist but turned to the flute around the age of 21. Liking the way the instrument gleamed in its case, Alexander bought his first flute through a chance encounter with a shady character on a street corner. Within a year, he had learned enough of the basics to be accepted to the music program at the University of Windsor and immediately became immersed in the works of Bach, Mozart and other masters.

At the same time he was listening to and learning from the music of modern masters of the jazz flute such as Hubert Laws and Herbie Mann. It was in this way that he developed a love for a more contemporary style of expression.

Shortly after graduating and while performing in a celebrated jazz club in Detroit, keyboardist Bob James approached Zonjic. James, who was in attendance, enjoyed Zonjic's playing and was so impressed that he asked Zonjic to join his band - a relationship that blossomed into a lengthy association. Alexander toured with Bob for over ten years and in the course of events, this led to various recording gigs and Zonjic's own solo career. Zonjic now has had several releases under his own name with another that is due for release later this month. These have covered a wide variety of styles from new age to classical to smooth. On this occasion, we dug deeply in our SJ archives and went to Elegant Evening from 1988 and its opening track.

(Not only is Alexander a talented musician, but in addition to his fabulous flute he has a fabulous radio voice as well. Zonjic is the morning man at WVMV, the smooth jazz station operating out of Detroit.)

And on a bit of a personal note, I can clearly recall the time when I first heard Alexander's music. It happened when my family & I were on vacation. We were driving just west of Portland towards the coast along Highway 26 through the picturesque rolling hills and lush forests of Oregon when Angel of the Night drifted onto the airwaves. That memory will stay with me always. Indeed, I view it as "watershed moment" of sorts. I was amazed that here was a Canadian born artist virtually unknown in his native land. Yet he was being played on Smooth Jazz radio in the US. It was partly because of this that I chose to promote the cause of Smooth Jazz to whomever would care to listen.

* Seldom Blues is due for release on Heads Up towards the end of July.*

CD: Elegant Evening
Label: Optimism Incorporated
Site: Alexander Zonjic

Bossa on the Breeze - Dino Pacifici:
Dino, or just Dee as he is known to his friends, began his musical studies concentrating on classical guitar. However, over the years, he has also added bass, keyboards, and programming to his repertoire. Developing a style and sound that's grounded in New Age and ambient music, Pacifici blends these various elements with a twist of jazz in combination with his own unique musical identity. The Blue Velvet Lounge, released in 2002, is his most recent effort & from it we have the ultra-soothing sounds of Bossa on the Breeze.

CD: The Blue Velvet Lounge
Label: Scorpio Rising Music / Cussy Music

Momentum - Jamie Bonk:
Stylistically, Bonk's music draws on a wide range of influences from jazz & world beat to new age. His self-titled debut was released in Canada in 1997 and early the following year in the US. In addition to being the New Age Voice Radio Album of the Year for 1999, Jamie's record was also the longest charting cd in the NAV top 100. From that effort, that we've selected Momentum.

*Jamie is currently putting the finishing touches on his new album, tentatively titled My World.*

CD: Jamie Bonk (self-titled)
Label: Bonk Productions
Site: Jamie Bonk

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