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

June 19th, 2005
Edition #368 Previously

My space here is limited so I'll just mention a few names... Peter White, SOS, Michael Lington, Acoustic Alchemy, Nils, Jeff Golub, Paul Hardcastle, Matt Bianco, Greg Adams, Will Donato, & more!

The Cafe Jazz Bus on Tour!
A fabulous new addition to our audio page and one that we hope to expand on in the near future ... it's the Café Jazz Bus on Tour, a concept that was created, developed, & produced by Larry Hubbard of Bass X in collaboration with DJ & radio personality Terry Love. The 'bus on tour' is a mobile studio that travels from city to city to bring listeners some up close & personal interviews with some of today's hottest artists. Our stop this week is The Windy City with Larry Hubbard himself as the very first guest!

In This Issue:

Music and Laughter - Allon Sams

Sade's Song - Doc Powell
Dancing with the Lion - Andreas Vollenweider
7 Day Love - Dave McMurray
Unity - Marc Antoine
Brooklyn Heights - DTTB


Then & Now - Pamela Williams
SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
Music and Laughter - Allon Sams:

Sams is a brilliant keyboardist and producer based in his hometown of Tampa, Florida. Although he began in music on trumpet & French horn, Allon fell in love with the versatility of the keyboards and chose that as the vehicle for his musical expression. Early on he traveled throughout the US, the Caribbean, Jamaica and Mexico with cover bands and followed that with several months of solo performances in Japan. Upon returning to the US, Allon graduated from Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts and then relocated to Los Angeles after being offered an internship with Josef Zawinul, the famed leader of Weather Report. This association gave Sams invaluable experience in the studio and led to further production work. However, the desire to create & play music was a highly motivating force and so additionally Sams did a variety of gigs in and around the area. In the course of events, Allon met up with Grammy-winning producer Paul Brown and soon he was collaborating with Peter White, Boney James, David Sanborn, & John Klemmer among others. Of particular note, Sams cowrote Together Again for White's Caravan of Dreams.
Although he spent seven years nurturing his career in the glitter capitol, Sams still wanted to record his own music. That and a desire to start a family and to be near his own parents made him decide to return to Tampa in the mid-90s. It didn't take Sams long to set up Studio A, his own production facility, and soon after he launched his solo career with the release of Bayshore. Appearing on that debut were several local musicians, among them guitarist John Mayeux and saxman Gene Cannon, with whom Sams has continued to work & perform over the years. Dusk to Dawn from that album received considerable airplay on WSJT in the Tampa Bay area and gained Sams many new & avid followers including yours truly; lucky me, I was vacationing in the area at the time. I've been an enthusiastic fan and have eagerly tracked developments in Allon's career ever since then.
In any event, A Place in Time, Allon's sophomore project, was released in the summer of 2001 with Peter White guesting on a couple of tracks. In spite of the fact that the album was only available at live gigs and thru Allon's web site, the cd attracted a fair amount of international attention including of course air play on our own Café Jazz here in Canada, as it made our best of list for the year in addition to being an instant add to our "Indispensable Smooth Jazz Listening List ". In the meantime Allon has become sort of the go to guy in the Tampa Bay area. He's produced several excellent projects, among them Les Sabler's outstanding Bridge The Gap release. Furthermore, albums from Gene Cannon & TFOXX are in the works. Nevertheless, Sams has continued to further his own career with the issue of Music & Laughter now his third and most recent project.
The album is laden with catchy hooks, rhythmic grooves, and great melodies. It shows a further refinement in Allon's wonderful style & appealing sound and well reflects Sams' winning philosophy. To quote Allon from the liner notes, "Love makes the world go round but Music & Laughter keep you from jumping off!". Now the final few lines in this chapter of the Sams' saga are yet to be written. In late breaking news, Allon will be heading to LA later this year to re-record Music and Laughter with the aforementioned Paul Brown at the ready to remix the tracks. So stay tuned for more from Mr. Sams in the not too distant future.
Allon Sams & Gene Cannon exchange a few riffs Nevertheless it's with great pleasure that we place Allon Sams, a long time Café Jazz favourite, in our music spotlight. We plan our escape right from the first track, the soothing & yet stimulating sounds of Retreat and a tune that features John Mayeux on guitar & Robin Drake on bass. Then opening hour two is That's My Time, a totally comforting piece and the closing one on the album. And finally to conclude the feature & the show we have Layin' It Down another great track featuring Les Sabler on guitar, Gene Cannon on sax, and of course always at his best, Allon Sams himself on keys !!

CD: Music and Laughter
Label: Maestro Madness Music
Web Site: Allon Sams

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Back Trax: Part One
Sade's Song - Doc Powell:
NYC native, William 'Doc' Powell began playing guitar by the age of six and was already recording and performing while he was still in his teens. Self-taught on guitar, Powell received his first big break when Wilson Pickett chose him as his music director. Powell was barely in his 20s at the time. This subsequently led to a stint with Luther Vandross and an affiliation that lasted 15 years. In turn, this raised Doc's profile considerably. It paved the way for Powell to work with some top artists and to simultaneously develop his solo career. Although Powell issued his debut in 1987, it was his sophomore album released several years later that proved to be his breakthru project. Released in 1994, Inner City Blues received a fair degree of critical acclaim & gained considerable airplay in the US. Although its success was later outdone by Laid Back which was voted the #2 album for 1996, Inner City Blues remains an outstanding effort & from it we have one of "The Doctor's" finest tracks!!

CD: Inner City Blues (1994)
Label: West Coast Records
Web Site: Doc Powell
Dancing With The Lion - Andreas Vollenweider:
Born in Zurich in 1953, Vollenweider was exposed to that city's diverse music scene through his father, who was at the time one of Europe's leading organists. A combination of influences led Andreas to become proficient on guitar, flute, and several other instruments. Eventually, however, Vollenweider developed a passion for the harp. His love became so great that it led him to structurally modify the instrument. Vollenweider constructed a damper that allowed for more rhythmic playing and he electrified it so as to broaden the harp's tonal range. Blending a variety of styles in the context of his improvisations, Vollenweider's music swept across Europe in the early '80s. By 1986 he had transcended musical classification as his albums simultaneously appeared on pop, jazz, and classical charts around the world. From his 1989 cd and a time when he was at the absolute peak of his popularity we have Dancing with the Lion, the title track!!

CD: Dancing With The Lion (1989)
Label: Columbia
Web Site: Andreas Vollenweider

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Back Trax: Part Two
7 Day Love - Dave McMurray:
Growing up in Detroit, the Motown sound was understandably a huge influence on McMurray's developing style. However, during his final years in high school Dave was awarded a scholarship to attend a private school and that's when he got more into jazz. Among a variety of other gigs Dave performed as a member of the funk group Was (Not Was). That proved to be a turning point in his career but his big break came when he sat in on a Bob James session. Shortly afterwards he was invited to join James on a tour of Japan & he's worked with Bob on several occasions since. It was 1995, when McMurray launched his career as a solo performer. He had a couple of well received records when hot on the heels of the success of his Soul Searching cd in England, Dave issued that project in North America. And a very nice album it was, packed with excellent smooth jazz & touches of fusion as well as other contemporary styles!!

CD: Soul Searching (2001)
Label: Hip Bop Records
Web Site: DM on MySpace
Unity - Marc Antoine:
Parisian born & classically trained, Marc Antoine was 16 when he won a scholarship to the Conservatory of Music. He spent the next few years in attendance while living with his aunt and jamming late into the night at many of the clubs in Paris. When he was 19 though, Antoine suffered a horrible accident that almost cost him his career. While home for a brief visit, the family dog jumped up to greet him. Antoine was sent reeling backwards thru a plate glass door severing nerves & tendons in his left wrist. In spite of a lengthy five-hour operation, doctors diagnosed that he would never be able to play guitar again. After working strenuously for an entire year Antoine could still only play a single A minor chord. Yet that provided all the encouragement that he needed to continue practicing and to ultimately prove the doctors wrong. In the process he not only overcame the injury but also developed an entirely new technique and sound. It took three very long years but by the time he was 22, Antoine was back on the circuit. After various experiences in Pop, Jazz, Latin and African music, the by now seasoned 31 year old performer, formed a band and recorded his first album in 1994. The release was critically acclaimed & launched Antoine on a career that has seen him develop into one of the finest guitarists in the Smooth Jazz genre!

CD: Classical Soul (1994)
Label: NYC Records
Web Site: Marc Antoine
Brooklyn Heights - Down to the Bone:
The DTTB story begins about a dozen or so years ago. At the time bandleader Stuart Wade hooked up with Chris Morgans, cofounder of Internal Base Records, on Think Twice a successful soul/jazz band. The pair collaborated on a couple of projects including the group Peace of Mind but it was Wade's DTTB creation that really took off. The name by the way came about more or less by accident. Wade recalls, " We used to go to a club in Holburn, in London, and the night was called 'To The Bone'. It was at the same time that I did that remix for the old band I was with, Think Twice, where I called the remix the 'Down To The Bone Mix', because I stripped the original version down to it's bone…" in order to give it a harder, funkier edge.

In any event, the two initial DTTB outings were released on Internal Base before Wade set out on his own. Stuart has been at the helm for four additional albums and in the process his talents have been duly recognized. DTTB have been hailed as kings of the groove scene in the UK, a title which Wade & company show no signs of relinquishing. They seemed poised for similar success with Spread Love Like Wildfire, the brand new album which has just been issued. However, on this occasion we return to 1997 & From Manhattan to Staten, the release that started it all. From that endeavour we have seven full minutes of Brooklyn Heights featuring the piano work of Tim Best. It's a fabulous track and remains one of the best ever from Stuart Wade & DTTB !!

CD: From Manhattan to Staten (1997)
Label: nuGroove Records
Web Site: DTTB

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
Be sure to catch this installment as we avoid taking the easy route! We're featuring some tracks that are buried a bit more deeply on recent releases. We have fresh music from The Rippingtons, Chuck Loeb, Richard Elliot, and Jonathan Butler. There's new music from Victor Fields as well as a track from the latest Golden Slumbers project by Dave Koz. Daryl Stuermer is on the show and Pamela Williams is musically profiled on T&N. That and more in an hour filled with fun & music!

Then & Now Feature: Pamela Williams

Heads Up

Eight Days of Ecstasy
Heads Up

Fome Records

The Perfect Love

Sweet Saxations

Pamela Williams: We take this opportunity to musically profile Pamela Williams, the "first lady of sax". One of Pam's earliest influences was Grover Washington Jr. It was Grover's cutting-edge blend of jazz and R&B that instilled an interest in that style of playing. In high school, Williams joined the Jazz Ensemble & embraced both contemporary and traditional forms. She scored a few gigs & toured extensively but chose to relocate to LA in 1989, primarily because of the opportunities it afforded in film, TV, & session work.

A multitalented artist who plays flute as well as a little piano, Williams made her solo debut in 1996 with The Saxtress, an album which immediately brought her name into the limelight. On that release and on each of her subsequent projects, Williams has continued to exhibit a stylish blend of influences. Diverse elements of her repertoire from Latin & jazz, to R&B, hip-hop and house, are expertly incorporated into her playing so as to rival many of the best sax players around. Ever raising the bar higher, Williams now has five excellent projects to her credit that span a ten year period as a solo artist. As a side note, Pamela was spotlighted on a previous edition of Then & Now, back in March 2004. However, rather than simply presenting a rehash of those tracks, we've taken the high road. As there is no shortage of great music in her catalogue we have an entirely unique collection for this occasion.

To begin we present The Matador & The Maiden and Escape to Paradise both from Pamela's releases on Heads Up. That's followed by Lifeline from Evolution. And finally Unconditional and Sweet Saxations are taken from her Shanachie releases. Now make sure to check this out and when you do I'm certain you'll agree. There may be many talented women sax players in Smooth Jazz, but there is only one "first lady of sax" and without any doubt whatsoever, that first lady is Ms Pamela Williams!

Web Site: Pamela Williams

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