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

February 20, 2005
Edition #351 Previously Next

I think we have a great program for you as we're showcasing FireFly from Greg Adams. Hour 2 sees a fantastic FT feature that includes new music by Jeff Lorber and from William Aura & 3rd Force as they team up with Eric Darius. We'll be hearing from David Boswell and a track from his debut and we're also introducing the music of Sean Grace and Lino. Around these we incorporate a variety of selections that are both new & old. Heading up the list of current favourites are Steve Oliver, Alexander Zonjic, and Nicolas Bearde. Meanwhile Joyce Cooling, George Benson, and Richard Elliot are all featured on a few classic trax. Make certain you catch the opening set as it perfectly captures the vibe & feel of the West Coast and includes Pacifica from Michael Lington, Kal-E-Fornia by David Lanz, and the cool groove of Nils and Pacific Coast Highway!

In This Issue:

FireFly - Greg Adams

Ooh La La - Jeff Lorber
Street Flight - Sean Grace
Wings - Lino
Ask Me Why - 3rd Force
Up, Up and Away - David Boswell

Then & Now Feature - Dotsero

Showcase CD
FireFly - Greg Adams:
Although he is best known for his lengthy stint with Tower of Power, Greg Adams is also a Grammy and Emmy nominated artist that has been an integral part of the pop music landscape for over 30 years. It may be easier to name the few people that Greg hasn't worked with than to list all those with whom he has as his list of credits is quite extensive to say the least. Nevertheless, that roll call would include Santana, Luther Vandross, the Eurythmics, B.B. King, Rod Stewart, & Elton John among a host of others.

Even as a teen, Greg had already earned the reputation of being a music phenom. As a freshman, he won the spot as first chair trumpeter for his Bay Area high school jazz band, and by the time he was a junior, he was also composing and arranging. He had planned on attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston, but in the meantime the opportunity to join TOP as a founding member presented itself and he opted for that instead. In that capacity, Adams helped to creatively steer America's premier funk ensemble for a 25-year period.

In 1995, Greg finally launched his solo career with the release of Hidden Agenda. The album received a fair degree of critical acclaim and reached the #1 spot on the smooth jazz charts staying there for a full five weeks. It also provided Greg's steamy cover of Smooth Operator which became a template for SJ radio. However, it was a long stretch between releases as Greg's sophomore album, Midnight Morning, wasn't released until 2002. That effort yielded another pair of top ten singles.

Photo Credit ~ Dexter Browne Photography

Fortunately though, the wait hasn't been quite as long for FireFly, Adams' 3rd and latest offering which was issued in 2004. On this project, Greg exhibits a further refinement in the appealing blend of smooth & funk that has become such a vital characteristic of his signature sound. And in addition, there are a few trax that offer a glimpse into the more sensitive side of Adams and his art. It's these pieces that we've chosen as the focal point of our feature. So as we showcase FireFly, we begin with the moody and reflective Not So Long Ago. The haunting sounds of She Still Waits open hour 2, and The Crossing, melodic and groove-inflected, concludes the segment as we bask in the glow of FireFly!

CD: FireFly
Label: 215 Records
Web Site: Greg Adams

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Fresh Trax: Part One

Ooh La La - Jeff Lorber:
Jeff's love of jazz began while he was attending the Berklee College of Music. Since the late 70s Lorber has been one of the pioneers & trendsetter in contemporary instrumental music. The Philadelphia native formed The Jeff Lorber Fusion, a group that combined elements of funk, Rhythm & Blues, rock, and electric jazz. For a time, it also featured Kenny G, who was then a little-known sax player. The unit went on to became one of the favourite bands for much of the early 80s. However, Lorber disbanded the group at the height of their popularity choosing instead to focus on production and session work. In the course of events, he returned to recording his own music in the early 90s and quickly resumed his position as one of the most influential players on the scene. Now seven cds into this phase of his career, Flipside is his latest release. Like a fine wine, Lorber seems to just keep getting better with age as this project signifies one of his most focused and refined efforts to date. Nevertheless, Flipside offers all the elements that have been key to Lorber's success in addition to presenting new musical vistas for us to discover!

*Cafe Jazz Pick of the Week*

CD: Flipside
Label: Narada Jazz
Web Sites: Jeff Lorber

Street Flight - Sean Grace:
Born to Irish immigrant parents on Long Island, New York, Grace grew up the youngest of eight children and began in music playing traditional Celtic tunes on the tin whistle. He progressed quite naturally to the flute and was performing professionally by ten. Considered somewhat of a prodigy, Grace entered the Juilliard School of Music on a scholarship when he was just 12. By then he had already performed at Carnegie Hall. He won several major competitions including the New York Flute Club competition for excellence in classical playing in 1986. That same year he also performed at the Bottom Line, the famed jazz nightclub. An artist of highly diverse talents and interests, Grace has released three solo albums. New Frontiers, is his latest and that one debuted at #1 on the NAR Charts last June. From that effort, we have Street Flight, a dynamic piece that incorporates many diverse & exciting elements in a unique & creative fashion. Now Jethro Tull ain't got nothing on this guy!

CD: New Frontiers
Label: NCA Records
Web Site: Sean Grace

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Fresh Trax: Part Two

Wings - Lino:
Lino was born and raised in Akron & graduated from the Miami University of Ohio with two degrees, one in History and the other in Pre-Med. His calling however, had always been music, so after college he moved to Los Angeles. Although Lino had studied classical guitar since the age of nine, he was drawn to rock during his high school years. Nevertheless, it was his involvement with classical music that helped him most in developing as a musician. That training also provided a wealth of experience for Lino to draw upon for his compositions, so that after a few releases in the rock vein, he moved to a more contemporary sound with the release of Satin Blue a couple of years ago. That album reached the top 40 of the NAV and was featured extensively by cable music providers in the States. Return to Avalon is his follow up project which continues to boast these same unique qualities, an intriguing blend of jazz, classical, folk, pop & new age, all highlighted by some amazing guitar work. From that effort we're featuring Wings, the uplifting opening track.

CD: Return to Avalon
Label: DMI
Web Site: Lino

Ask Me Why - 3rd Force:
3rd Force released their first record back in 1994. The band has been a mainstay in SJ since their second album even though their music often falls outside the general parameters of the format. The nucleus of the group is a trio consisting of William Aura, Craig Dobbin and Alain Eskinasi. Aura is considered a pioneer of New Age music. He has always been a strong believer in its healing powers, and many of his compositions were specifically composed for the healing arts. The Detroit-native enjoyed a significant solo career throughout the 80s and early 90s before 3rd Force and had recorded about a dozen cds under his own name. Craig Dobbin, on the other hand, is a classically trained pianist who has composed extensively for television and movies. Meanwhile, Dutch-born Eskinasi is responsible for the group's distinctive rhythms. He studied African drums for 6 years in Gambia & for a time was a key member of The Soto Koto Band. The Force is back with Driving Force, their first release in about 3 years and their 7th album overall. Since their previous effort, 3rd Force performed live for the first time at the Jazz Trax Festival in 2002. Now boasting a slightly expanded lineup, we have a fantastic groove driven track that features Eric Darius on sax!

CD: Driving Force
Label: Higher Octave Music

Up, Up & Away - David Boswell:
Having grown up in a family of professional musicians, David was exposed to many different styles of music early on. There was always something happening in Boswell household, whether it was his mother, who loved to play all day or his father, an accomplished classical pianist who was constantly rehearsing. Although David played the French horn in elementary school, it was the guitar that ended up being his passion. That happened through a somewhat unlikely combination of influences that included the Beatles and Johnny Cash. Later on it was jazz guitar that really caught David's attention. In this regard, Boswell considers himself very fortunate as he's studied with some of the genre's finest players. Pat Metheny, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, & John Abercrombie are all on that list. In addition, he's always been intrigued by tunings and string types and done considerable experimentation. This in combination with using a variety of guitars has allowed Boswell to create a variety of aural textures that are in a word phenomenal!

CD: Hold Tight to Your Dreams
Label: My Quiet Moon Records
Web Site: David Boswell

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
If you enjoy your SJ with just a bit of talk I'm betting this is the perfect place for you. Debuting on this edition are saxman Andre Delano, and the duo of Rich Arnold & Mike Young. We have something new from Jan Garbarek and we're also introducing the chilled-out sound of Mocean Worker. (A couple of listens and you won't be able to shake this tune.) Ken Navarro is on the show. We have tracks from Craig Chaquico & Bobby Caldwell as we explore their recent releases, and Dotsero is featured on Then & Now. We begin with a fantastic track from George Scott out of Minneapolis MN. It's called True Feelings and gets us right into the great grooves of AH!

Then & Now Feature: Dotsero

Off the Beaten Path
Nova Records

West of Westchester
Peak Records

Fresh Pants
Cinderblock Records

Dotsero: Taking their name from a small town in the Colorado Rockies, Dotsero, according to Ute legend, means Something Unique. This band has a long history and has been playing and recording for nearly 20 years. 1990 proved to be a watershed point for the group and their critically acclaimed debut. That project which had been released the previous year, enjoyed the #1 spot on the R&R contemporary jazz chart for a five week stint. Their follow up projects met with similar success, with yet another #1 record and a couple of others breaking into the top ten or top thirty.

The Watts Brothers, Stephen on sax and David on electric and acoustic guitars, continue to steer the efforts of Dotsero. The band has become well known for the energy of their live performance as well as for the fine caliber of their recordings. Fresh Pants is now their seventh & latest release. So, as we feature the music of Dotsero on Then & Now, we begin with Jeepers Creepers, the opening track from their debut. That's followed by Off Shore and Sleep Tight Katydid in that order and from the albums as indicated above.

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