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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

February 13, 2005
Edition #350 Previously Next

Special Presentation - The Very Best of Cafe Jazz
Our show first took the airwaves in the fall of 1997. Now eight years later, we're celebrating a milestone with our 350th program. I couldn't think of a better to mark the occasion than by featuring some of the best music that we've ever played & for that reason, we're calling this our Very Best of program. We'll be hearing from artists such as Paul Hardcastle and his first Jazzmasters release. We have tracks from Kenny G and the late Art Porter Jr. There's a wonderful piece by Herb Alpert. Marc Antoine & Bob James are both on this show, and also appearing are Acoustic Alchemy and Oleta Adams. Of course, no "best of" would be complete without a tune from Peter White, and as if that wasn't enough Eric Marienthal and Thom Rotella are on as well. So sit back and relax and get set to enjoy a terrific listening experience!

In This Issue:

Missing Your Touch - Acoustic Alchemy
Lost Summer - The Jazzmasters
Dance The Night Away - Thom Rotella
Francesa - Ricardo Silveira
Northern Lights - Kenny G
Can't Stop Thinking ... - Herb Alpert


Highlights Hour One
Missing Your Touch - Acoustic Alchemy:
The appeal of Acoustic Alchemy has always been grounded in the sound produced by two acoustic guitars. The concept originated in the early 80s with the duo of the late Nick Webb & Simon James. It was later refined by Webb & Greg Carmichael. The latter pair perfected their playing as live onboard entertainment for a transatlantic flight from England to America and after securing a record deal, they debuted as Acoustic Alchemy in 1987, with the release of Red Dust and Spanish Lace. For over ten years and an almost equal number of albums, Carmichael and Webb performed as one of the most creative and dynamic groups in instrumental music. They expertly blended many seemingly diverse elements from jazz, new age, and reggae into a totally unique & appealing style. Throughout that period their work remained innovative and fresh and helped define the SJ genre. Reference Point, which was recorded in 1990 and nominated for a Grammy, remains one of their finest albums. From that effort I've selected a long time favourite.

CD: Reference Point (1990)
Label: GRP
Web Site: Acoustic Alchemy

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Lost Summer - The Jazzmasters:
Back in 1984 or so, a young producer and multi-instrumentalist named Paul Hardcastle began to make a name for himself with his infectious blend of jazz and dance music. He scored a hit in his native England with "19", a record that featured a commentary on the war in Vietnam. Meanwhile "Rainforest" became a #1 hit on the dance charts on both sides of the Atlantic. For the next few years, Hardcastle experienced varied success with his own projects while he produced and created remixes for other artists. That all changed in 1993, with the release of Hardcastle's first Jazzmasters project. Although the cd was originally available only as a Japanese import, a few stations playing the SJ format in the US picked up the record. Most notably, KTWV the Wave in LA, and KiFM the Breeze in San Diego, enjoyed a response that was overwhelming. In due course, the Sound of Summer as Hardcastle nicknamed the project, swept across the US and around the world. It remained on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz chart for over 12 months and was also named record of the year. It remains one of the definitive recordings in the SJ genre!

CD: The Jazzmasters (1993)
Label: JVC
Web Site: Paul Hardcastle

Dance the Night Away - Thom Rotella:
A top studio player and veteran musician, Rotella's career spans more than 30-years. Thom grew up in a highly musical family in Niagara Falls NY and early on set his sights on a career in music. After some formal training at both Ithaca and Berklee, he developed as a highly regarded session player on both coasts. Looking for a creative outlet, Rotella embarked on a solo career in the late 80s. His first 3 releases established him as one of the favourites in the emerging SJ format. For the most of the 90s, however, Rotella was unable to land a record deal and didn't record for 6 very long years. He reappeared in 1996 and within a period of two years he released two outstanding albums. These were the first studio efforts to successfully capture the vibrance & energy of Rotella's live performances. In particular, 1997's Can't Stop release was in a word sensational and in my humble opinion remains as one of the finest albums ever recorded in the SJ format.

CD: Can't Stop (1997)
Web Site: Thom Rotella

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Highlights Hour Two

Francesa - Ricardo Silveira:
Born in Rio, Ricardo grew up listening to Bossa Nova, Samba and the steamy rhythms of Carnaval. He began studying guitar seriously at age sixteen and then underwent a period of formal training at Berklee in Boston. During that same time, he played many of Boston's finer clubs and frequently visited New York to record and perform. In the course of things, Silveira eventually relocated to NYC. He joined Herbie Mann's band and toured with Mann for several years. After returning to Brazil, Ricardo soon became one of Rio's most requested studio players. He recorded with a lengthy list of Brazil's finest artists and toured the world. His first solo album was released in 1985 but his North American debut didn't come until 1988. Several fine projects followed each receiving a fair degree of both commercial success & critical acclaim. Rave reviews of Ricardo's style & tone have always ranked him among the world's best guitarists. On a personal note, I had the very good fortune to see Silveira live a few years back so I can readily attest to the veracity of these statements. In fact, it was seeing Silveira in concert, that first made me fall in love with the track that has opened each & every one of our past 350 programs.

CD: Storyteller (1995)
Label: Kokopelli Records
Web Site: Ricardo Silveira

Northern Lights - Kenny G:
Known to millions as Kenny G, he was born Kenneth Gorelick in 1959. Among the Gorelick's first professional gigs was playing as a member of Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra when he was still a teen in 1976. He did a bit of recording with a Seattle-based funk group and after graduating from the University, Kenny enjoyed a stint with Jeff Lorber Fusion, and recorded two albums with the group. Soon after he was signed to record deal and in 1982, he debuted as a solo artist. It was his fourth album, Duotones, that catapulted Kenny G to stardom. He soon became in demand for a variety of guest spots while his own albums sold millions making Kenny the most popular selling instrumental artist of all time. We go to Kenny G's The Moment from 1996 for one of our favourite tracks from the G-Man.

CD: The Moment (1996)
Label: Arista
Web Sites: Kenny G

Can't Stop Thinking About You - Herb Alpert:
What would the late 60s and early 70s have been without the sound of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass? It's hard to imagine. During their peak, they were one of the most popular acts of the day & within a span of 3 years, they sold well over 11 million records.

Fresh out of high school, Alpert joined the US Army and then later enrolled at USC. Although he didn't complete his college stint, Alpert was eventually hired by Keen Records. At the time, the label was home to Sam Cooke. The soul great was still early in his career and Alpert composed Wonderful World for him, which went on to become a Cooke classic. During this period, Alpert also tried his hand at acting and actually landed a small part in The Ten Commandments.

Shortly after, Alpert set up a small recording studio in his garage, where he recorded The Lonely Bull. He financially fronted the project and after a few stations began to play the track, it's popularity spread. The tune became a Top Ten hit for 1963 and by the end of the following year; Alpert hired a group of musicians to satisfy requests for live appearances. The Brass debuted in 1965. In all, Alpert released 15 albums with the band through until 1972.

At that time, he turned his attention to running A&M Records, which he had started a few years earlier with Jerry Moss. The company grew to become the largest independent label in the world and in 1990, A&M was sold for $500 million.

Meanwhile as a performer, Alpert continued to record. He gradually shifted to a more contemporary sound and one, which found a welcome fit with the emerging SJ scene. In 1994, Alpert and Moss were back at it, this time launching a venture that they called Almo Sounds. A couple of years later, Alpert teamed up with Jeff Lorber for Second Wind. The album was the 33rd in Alpert's career. It was of course released on the Almo Sounds label and ranks as one of our all-time Alpert favourites. Highly recommended listening.

CD: Second Wind (1996)
Label: Almo Sounds
Web Sites: Herb Alpert

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site:
It's time like this that I feel extremely fortunate in producing Café Jazz. However, two hours for our "very best of" special just isn't enough. So I get to remedy that somewhat with one extra hour of fantastic music on After Hours. So, as we continue, I've selected a few tracks that have appeared on previous specials. We have music from Allon Sams, Club 1600, Marcos Valle, & The Rippingtons to name a few. Then I've included a few pieces that have continued to grow on me over the years...that's the way it is sometimes with music. Making their debuts on this series are Ronny Jordan, Andreas Vollenweider, Warren Bernhardt, and a couple of others. So stick with us because I know that you're going to love it!

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Café Jazz Goes International & The 2004 Most Played List !
Big news for us! KHBL 96.9 FM in Hannibal, Missouri joined our list of affiliates a few weeks back. Yes Café Jazz has gone international as our program is now heard in the birthplace of Samuel Clemens & "America's Hometown". Café Jazz airs on KHBL on Sundays from Noon until 2pm with a special encore presentation of the previous week's show from 10:00am til Noon. I make that out to be back to back shows and a total of four hours of unique relaxing music. Why with smooth programming like that, I wouldn't be surprised if the town's population shows a sudden & dramatic increase! People will be flocking to Hannibal from all over the state. I can just read the headlines. Ahh yes! Hannibal, Missouri, where the music is so good, you'll want to live there! Seriously though, thanks go out to David P. Norman at KHBL for selecting our show as part of his line up.

And a bit overdue perhaps, but at long last our Most Played List of Albums, Artists, & Selections is finally available. This is our first attempt at compiling a comprehensive summary of this type and with that in mind, I think that it turned out quite well. Check out the details by clicking on the paw....

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