So what's fresh and exciting on this program? I could honestly say...the entire show, but we'll focus on a few of the highlights. I've included a host of Cafe Jazz favourites from years gone by. We have great tracks from Gota, Dave Koz, Herb Alpert, Jonathan Cain, Gregg Karukas, and Peter White ..among others. But you know that we love to boldly go where no program has gone before. For that reason tune in and you'll be treated to fabulous music from Steve Oliver and Matt Dusk. We have something new from David Lanz, as well as current favourites from Will Downing, Marc Antoine, and Pieces of a Dream. If you're looking for new music, don't overlook our FT segment. On this edition we have our typically brilliant assortment of new & more established artists. And as if that wasn't enough, the showcase cd feature focuses on Torcuato Mariano and his latest release. Exciting & fresh is not just a buzz phrase, it's our mission!!
Diary - Torcuato Mariano:
Meet Torcuato Mariano, one of South America's most accomplished guitarists. Mariano grew up listening to the music of his native Argentina but was also greatly influenced by American artists such as Santana and Stevie Wonder. When he was just 14, Torcuato moved from Buenos Aires and relocated to Brazil. He began to study with Claudio Gabis who exposed the young Mariano to the thriving music scene in Rio de Janeiro. As early as 1986, Torcuato had won recognition as a top pop composer. By 1988, however, Mariano was also becoming highly regarded as a jazz musician. He performed with sax man Leo Gandelman at the Free Jazz Festival in Rio, and then later that same year he toured Europe with Ivan Lins. This in turn led to extensive session work as Torcuato developed into a first call player. In 1991, he recorded with many of Brazil's finest artists, including Sergio Mendes. It wasn't until the mid 90's though, that Mariano moved to establishing his solo career.
|He began recording Paradise Station, his debut cd, in 1992. That project was released a couple of years later and marked the first time that a Brazilian album was released simultaneously in both Brazil and the USA. It was very well received. In addition to being regarded as one of the finer releases for the year, the record yielded Train to Uberaba which became a top hit. This all led to tour duty in the USA. Last Look, his sophomore effort, followed in 1995 and achieved even greater success. The single, Ocean Way, ranked among the top 20 songs for the year while the album itself placed in the top 30 on smooth jazz radio in the USA. In spite of this success, Torcuato chose in 1998, to work in a different aspect of the music industry. He became head of A&R for a major label in Brazil. He produced a variety of diverse projects and he continued in that capacity for several years.|
Torcuato in the studio
| It was during this period, that the ideas for Mariano's
current project first took root, so that now, after a hiatus of nearly
ten years, Torcuato has just issued Diary. On this his third solo outing,
the seasoned performer delivers an accomplished blend of jazz and Brazilian
sounds with several musical highlights that might best be described as
outstanding. The music is expressive, melodic and heart felt and provides
ample substance for our feature. So as we showcase Diary, get set to enjoy
the smooth Latin vibe of Paula, Where Love Will Take, and High Frequency.
Label: 215 Records
|Fresh Trax: Part One|
In - Jamie Bonk:
Hailing from Toronto, Bonk actually began his musical training on piano in Winnipeg, where his family lived for a time in the 70s. After discovering rock & roll and world music, he switched to guitar and then spent a good portion of the mid-80s in pursuit of a degree in music composition. Following this, Bonk became a freelance studio player and for a time taught guitar at the Toronto Guitar Institute. However, he left that position in 1997 to concentrate on recording his own compositions. His self-titled debut was released in Canada later that same year and then early the following year in the USA. In addition to being named 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. His follow up project debuted at #1 and remained in the top 20 for six consecutive months. In the process, Jamie gained airplay on over 500 stations worldwide.
|It's now been four long years since we've heard anything
new from this standard bearer of contemporary instrumental music in Canada,
but that wait is over as Bonk has just issued My World. This, his 3rd
solo outing, is easily Jamie's most diverse effort to date. This album
contains all the subtleties and dynamics of Bonk's previous efforts, but
in addition it explores new terrain as Jamie continues to draw upon influences
from new age, jazz, world, pop, classical music and beyond. We begin to
explore My World with a totally soothing piece titled Looking In.
CD: My World
Label: Bonk Productions
Site: Jamie Bonk
and See - Jeff Kashiwa:
The Seattle born sax player studied at Berklee in Boston before relocating to southern California in the 80s. He played a variety of gigs in and around that region and in the course of things he fell in love with the sound of The Rippingtons. He learned all their music so that when an opening appeared, Jeff was more than ready to fill the sax chair with the group. He enjoyed a 10-year stint with the top SJ ensemble of the 90s, and recorded two solo cds while still a member. However, in 1999, Kashiwa felt it was time to set out on his own. Shortly after leaving the band, he released his third solo project. The cd was titled Another Door Opens and well reflected the change in focus for Kashiwa's career. In addition to providing a huge number one hit, the record was recognized by many as Kashiwa's finest effort to that point and its success propelled him to new levels as a solo performer. Peace of Mind is now his third release in this phase of his career and fifth overall. From that album we're featuring Wait and See, the fantastic opening track.
CD: Peace of Mind
Label: Native Language
Site: Jeff Kashiwa
|Fresh Trax: Part Two|
Rainy Night - Vince Madison:
A native of Colorado, Madison graduated from the University of Denver, magna cum laude, with a degree in music composition. Although he started out professionally playing guitar, he took up piano at age 20 in order to further his compositional skills. In spite of this late start on that instrument, Madison went on to become the keyboardist for a top jazz group in Denver before relocating to New York City. There he became an in demand studio player. In the 90's, he created a special concert for schools entitled Life Matters. This presented a series of songs with the specific intent of providing positive messages to young people. Upon his return to Denver, Madison began to compose works for Solo Piano. His first album in 1995, was well received and established Vince as an artist in his own right.
| A few years later, in 1998, Vince decided to release his
music independently, and so Firefly Records was born. Under that label,
Madison has issued a series of projects which have garnered many positive
reviews and achieved sales in excess of 50,000 units, all in all quite
a remarkable accomplishment considering that these sales have been generated
almost exclusively at live events. The tune that we heard was from Perfect
Hearts, which was released just last year. That was One Rainy Night, a
melodic and soothing piece and one which undoubtedly shows Madison at
CD: Perfect Hearts
Label: Firefly Records
Site: Vince Madison
To Do - Fattburger:
This quintet has remained one of the most popular groups in SJ since their debut in 1986. During the latter half of the 70s, saxophonist Hollis Gentry toured with several R&B bands as well as playing some straight-ahead jazz. When the last of these groups broke up, Gentry and the other musicians (keyboardist Carl Evans, bassist Mark Hunter, drummer Kevin Koch, and guitarist Steve Laury) took the opportunity to set out on their own. Taking their name from a popular highway hamburger restaurant in California, the lineup has remained virtually unchanged. Tommy Aros later joined the band as percussionist and in the early '90s, Evan Marks became Fattburger's guitarist when Laury decided to set out on a solo career. Meanwhile Gentry has assumed guest duties on a more or less permanent basis on a majority of Fattburger projects. The San Diego-based unit continues to play essentially the same smooth blend of styles (funk, blues, and pop, together with Latin and Brazilian influences) that has typified their sound since the band's inception. Now with a total of 13 releases to their credit, Work To Do is their latest effort. From that release, we'll hear the advance single and the title track. It's a cool treatment of the old Isley Brothers classic from 1979 and features Hollis Gentry on sax !
CD: Work To Do
Label: Shanachie Entertainment
Star - Vlad:
Uplifting, melodic and stimulating are adjectives that just begin to describe the stylings of the guitarist known as Vlad. The man behind the sound is Vladomir De Briansky, an artist born & raised in Ukraine. As a youth, Vlad studied jazz and classical music and then early in his career he earned loads of accolades for spearheading several #1 hits on both the Ukrainian and Polish pop charts. At the same time he developed as a session player and as well scored the music for several shows and motion picture soundtracks. In the course of events, Boston's Berklee College of Music offered De Briansky a scholarship so that he might pursue his studies in the USA. In 1996, Vlad did in fact move to that city, and after a stint at Berklee he relocated to New York City. It was that time, more than any other that Vlad feels was critical in shaping him as a musician. He now calls California home, having moved there in the year 2000. Just out is Vladosphere, his debut and a cd that is certain to breathe life-giving-freshness into your musical day …just as its title suggests. From Vladosphere we have the soothing & inspiring advance single.
Label: Orpheus Music
|Special Mention !|
of Birds of a Feather - Birds of a Feather:
The man behind the Birds of a Feather project is none other than Dan Siegel, long one of our favourites here at Café Jazz! A few years back Siegel issued The Best of Dan Siegel, a compilation that chronicled much of his best work over the span of 14 solo cds. However, untouched was a volume of great music that had been recorded under the banner of Birds of a Feather. That has now fortunately been remedied!
The first of the Birds installments was released in 1987 and featured an unparalleled assembly of first call studio players. Included were luminaries such as Larry Carlton, Richard Elliot, and Alex Acuna as well many other top flight musicians. Ernie Watts, Dan Huff, Carl Verheyen, Neil Stubenhaus, and John Robinson, among others, all perform on the disc.
That record was re-released in 1994 to more or less coincide
with the issue of Above the Clouds, the second in the series. More all
star talent on this one. Among the highlights were performances from
Boney James, Allen Hinds, Carl Verheyen, and Lenny Castro on an effort
that was a bit more melodic and perhaps a bit happier than the first.
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site:|
|Ok, so here we go with about 80 minutes of great music presented in two parts. There's a cool tune from Pure, the new one from Boney James. We have the latest from Soul Ballet and another fine piece from James Vargas. As well, we've gone to The Groove Boutique, the compilation arranged and mixed by Rafe Gomez, for the chilled out sounds of Orange Factory and Richard Smith is featured on Then & Now. More brand new selections from TFOXX, Robert Monteleone, Garner Thomas and Sergio Caputo as we explore each of their cds and we're introducing the music of Bostick,George Collichio, and Christiaan Mostert. If you enjoy music that is removed from the ordinary, then you'll love After Hours!|
Then & Now Feature : Richard Smith
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. We have an excellent sampling cross section on After Hours. Check out the sounds of Caledonian Road, Never Too Much, When the Soul is Smiling, and Whatz Up ?! in that order from the above mentioned cds respectively.