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

August 14th, 2005
Edition #371 Previously Next

The Little Show That Could Chugs into Season #9!
For the season premier we're focusing on some of the fabulous music that's made its way into our studio over the summer months. Just check the Fresh Trax feature & you'll know what I mean. There's Paul Brown, Brian Culbertson and Marc Antoine. But we don't stop there! Richard Elliot, Paul Hardcastle, Jeff Golub, & Acoustic Alchemy each have releases that are sure to rank among the top albums for the year. Not bound by the confines of commercial radio, we go to each of these to discover fresh & exciting music that I know you're going to love! The little radio show that could does it again!

In This Issue:

Wild Card - The Rippingtons

Nothing We Can't Do - Matt Jordan
Side Steppin' - Paul Brown
Let's Get Started - Brian Culbertson
Riff to the Smooth - 3D
Bella Via - Marc Antoine


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Showcase CD
Wild Card - The Rippingtons:
Founded in 1987, The Rippingtons have enjoyed tremendous success as innovators in the smooth jazz arena ever since the release of Moonlighting, their groundbreaking debut. Their earliest efforts were primarily studio projects whose members included the likes of David Benoit, Kenny G, & Gregg Karukas. Since then, there have been several personnel changes. However, the band has not only maintained their popularity throughout the 90s, they've had several top charting albums & were also voted the #1 band in Smooth Jazz for both 2001 & 2002.

A few years back, leader Russ Freeman helped launch the Peak Records music label. That and a revamped line up have allowed this latest incarnation of this veteran ensemble to maintain freshness in their sound and style. Wild Card is their latest & 16th release, overall.

Personnel: Back row ...Dave Karasony (drums), Scott Breadman (percussion), Bill Heller (keyboards).
Front ...Kim Stone (bass), Russ Freeman (guitar), Eric Marienthal (sax).... photo courtesy of the Ripps' web site!!
As with each of his projects, Freeman pushes his band into new territory, this time enlisting the aid of a pair of Cuban Grammy-winning Latin salsa stars on a couple of tracks. Nonetheless, it's that oh so familiar Rippingtons' sound, now projected nearly 20 years into the present, that draws us to this album & makes it the focus of our feature. We begin with Moonlight, a tune that is highlighted by the saxwork of the ubiquitous Eric Marienthal. Another superb track, Into You, opens hour two. Then finally, Wild Card, the title track, completes our winning show. After hearing a few of these tracks it will become very apparent why the album debuted at #1on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart!!

CD: Wild Card
Label: Peak Records
Web Site: The Rippingtons

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Nothing We Can't Do - Matt Jordan:
A native of Poughkeepsie, Jordan studied trumpet under his dad, a classical teacher from Italy who played and taught every instrument in his concert band. The elder Jordan had Matt playing operas by the early age of nine. Although he started with Classical music, Matt moved on to playing a variety of styles. In college, he had his own small and big band & as well played with the University band at Ohio State. In fact, Jordan worked his way through school solely by playing music. He taught trumpet for awhile & since relocating to NYC, he's fronted a variety of projects. Most recently, Matt's focus has become Smooth Jazz. In that regard a short while back he issued Let The Feeling Flow, a cd that features Kelli Sae, who's made quite a name for herself as a vocalist with Count Basic among others. Nevertheless, on this occasion we're going to a tune that features the fat juicy sound of Jordan's own trumpet! The track was written by Don Harris, a trumpet playing friend, who's played with Tower Of Power for ten years. To quote Matt, on this one ... "I did not have to hold back!"

CD: Let The Feeling Flow
Label: Futureband Records
Web Site: Matt Jordan
Side Steppin' - Paul Brown:
Brown's expertise as a producer has helped fuel the popularity of SJ for past 20 years or so. Paul's work with prominent names in the genre, from Sam Riney & Boney James to George Benson and Peter White, has earned him a pair of Grammys to go along with literally dozens of hit records. Last year, Brown stepped out as a front man on guitar with his debut called Up Front. His sophomore effort entitled The City (after the 1970 Mark-Almond tune of the same name), sees a further evolution in Brown's style as a solo performer, and is one of the finer releases to this point in the year. In fact we already have several tracks slotted for future shows. But as usual I seem to be getting just a bit ahead of myself. In any event, the track that we've selected for you on this occasion is Side Steppin', a peppy tune that was co-written by Café Jazz favourites Allon Sams & Willie TFOXX Thompson!

*Cafe Jazz Pick of the Week*

CD: The City
Label: GRP
Web Site: Paul Brown

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Fresh Trax: Part Two

Let's Get Started - Brian Culbertson:
Brian Culbertson is one of a handful of artists who's become a mainstay at the top of the charts. From the time that his debut album first broke onto the scene, now over 10 years ago, Brian has released a string of great cds that have placed him squarely near the front of the SJ pack. It all culminated a few years back with Culbertson's selection as best keyboardist in SJ. It's On Tonight, his just released 8th solo effort, does nothing to make us think this is going to change anytime soon. Tantalizing piano work together with romantic mood inducing & seducing ballads have long been one of Brian's strong suits but on this record he outdoes even himself. The album fittingly opens with the up-tempo Let's Get Started which is also the tune with which we begin our exploration of this cd. By the way, that's young Eric Darius who's recently been touring with Culbertson that's featured on sax on the track!!

CD: It's On Tonight
Label: GRP
Web Sites: Brian Culbertson

Riff to the Smooth - 3D:
Cool, relaxed, & laid back...great adjectives for the music of 3D out of the UK. Offering up a smooth hybrid of jazz and R&B, 3D present a mélange of sensuous rhythms & light funky grooves that very much mark this effort as a mood album. Designer Soul might be the best description for this cd from Andy Holmes & Josef Ward, one of the premier remix teams in Europe. For the past four years the pair have served up their soulful blend of styles as they instrumentally paint a special atmosphere. Soulride is their first effort to be available in North America and from that release, Riff to the Smooth, the album's first single, is the track that we've selected!!

CD: Soulride
Label: 215 Music and Media
Bella Via - Marc Antoine:
Modern Times is now Antoine's second release on the Rendezvous record label & is due in the next few weeks or so. According to Antoine, this effort marks an exciting change in direction. For the past 3 years the Parisian born guitarist has lived in Spain, a time during which he also became a father. These experiences together with many of his travels have inspired Antoine to take his music to new territory, hence the title Modern Times. From that album, now his seventh to go along with one best of project, we have the exhilarating Bella Via !! If this track is any indication of what lies in store for us lucky listeners, then Modern Times will most certainly rank among Antoine's best!

CD: Modern Times
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
Web Site: Marc Antoine

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
Where will you find all the best new music that's been released in the past few weeks? Right here on Café Jazz of course. After a bit of a summer hiatus I'm back & I will admit, I have quite some catching up to do. Never fear though, I do believe I'm up to the task!! On this occasion I'm forgoing our T&N feature for new music & nothing but new music. That's right never before been played on our show tracks, 16 in all. Featured are Boz Scaggs with an unplugged version of Lowdown his smash hit from the 70s. Praful & Euge Groove have new releases and there's something from each of those. We'll be hearing from Walter Beasley & Gerald Veasley. We have tracks from Gregg Karukas & Kevin Toney and we're introducing Mark Hollingsworth & U-Nam. There's more!! But what's the point in reading a list of names? Why not go directly to the audio page & get connected!

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