Metro Blue - Richard Elliot:
The Scottish born sax player's family moved from Glasgow to Los Angeles when he was just three. It was in junior high that Elliot first took up the sax, but he didn't think of it as a career until high school when it turned out his teacher was a studio musician. At 17 & while still in school, Elliot landed his first professional gig touring with Natalie Cole and The Pointer Sisters. For a time he played in the fusion band called Kittyhawk, and followed that by taking part in some sessions with legendary Motown artists, among them Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops and The Temptations. Elliot toured & recorded with The Yellowjackets and between those dates, he did still more tour work this time with Melissa Manchester. 1982 was a pivotal year in Elliot's career as that was when he joined Tower Of Power. Elliot fondly recalls the 5 years that he spent with the legendary ensemble as the most influential period of his early career. While with TOP, he played on a couple of Huey Lewis releases & then in 1986 he released his own solo debut. The success of that effort was all that he needed to set out on his own. In the time since, he's been a consistent chart-topper and has become one of the most recognizable artists in a genre that he helped pioneer!
|In spite of all these accomplishments, there is still a sense of excitement surrounding the release of Metro Blue, now Elliot's 14th solo effort and one that may well mark another pivotal point in his career. The release is the first on the newly formed ARTizen Music label, of which Richard is a partner. A few years back Elliot tested his entrepreneurial skills as cofounder of PacificNet, a highly innovative & successful Internet multimedia company. So in that regard, he isn't a novice. However, for this project Elliot hooked up with Rick Braun, their longtime manager Steve Chapman, and industry vet Al Evers. In addition, Rick & Richard produced Metro Blue. This combination of factors has left Elliot feeling totally in control of his musical destiny & as a result, a sense of freedom permeates the album. The mood is upbeat, the playing is inspired, and the music stretches in new directions. It's no wonder then that Metro Blue is one of the finer albums of the year & indeed in Elliot's own career.|
|Courtesy of ARTizen site||
Therefore, it's with great pleasure that we now place Richard Elliot
& Metro Blue in our spotlight. To begin, we've selected a moody & groove
driven track called Mango Tango. Braun & Dwight Sills guest on that
one. Coastline, which was co-written by Elliot, Braun, & Karukas, opens
hour two. Once again, Sills & Braun are featured. Finally, to conclude
the feature & the show we have Maxi's. This was the first track written
for the project and was co-penned by Elliot, Braun, & Brian Culbertson.
It's a dynamic track with a terrific Euro dance club feel & features
Elliot's sax, brass & bold, layered on an irresistible & persistent
|Back Trax: Part One|
- Glenn McNulty:
The San Francisco based saxman has been a vital part of that city's hip music scene for several years. He's been involved in club & studio work and during that time he's perfected a unique & expressive style, one that sets his playing apart from the rest. Back in 1998, McNulty issued Raw Silk, which has unfortunately proved to be his one & only release to date. So what can I tell you about the album? Well, it's a topnotch production, with terrific melodies & some great playing. And if you're at all familiar with the work of Ray Obiedo, you'll no doubt detect Ray's hand in the project. Obiedo not only produced several selections, including the one we've chosen, but also lent his inventive guitar work to the piece. It's called Bittersweet. In addition to Glenn's warm and soulful sax work, you'll also hear Peter Horvath on piano & Jeff Cressman on trombone. This has long been one of our favourites here at the Café, so get set to enjoy just a fabulous, fabulous track !! And as a bit of a footnote, although Raw Silk has been out of print for some time, it's easily an album deserving your consideration & would be well worth your effort in tracking it down!
CD: Raw Silk (1998)
Label: Isona Records
- Peter White:
It's rare that a performer is able to strike a balance between creativity, musical integrity, & popularity. But such a player is Mr. White. In the process Peter has met with much deserved critical acclaim as well enjoying considerable commercial success. For about the past 15 years, the former member of Al Stewart's band has created some of the most melodic & memorable music in Smooth Jazz and in the process he's helped define the genre with a string of chart-topping releases. Always distinctive, Peter's inviting acoustic guitar work has seduced many a listener with the warmth of his playing and beautiful instrumentation, including yours truly. So on this occasion we're heading back to 1993 and Promenade. From that effort we've selected Boulevard. It's moody & melodic, just the way we like 'em here at the Café & features Peter on both accordion & guitar!
CD: Promenade (1993)
Label: CGR Productions / Sin-Drome Records
Web Site: Peter White
|Back Trax: Part Two|
Azure - Shakatak:
This British jazz-funk unit was born in London way back in 1980 & grew out of the union of two bands both of which employed drummer Roger Odell. In addition to Odell, the original lineup included keyboardist Bill Sharpe, vocalist Jill Saward, guitarist Keith Winter, and Steve Underwood on bass. (Underwood was later replaced by George Anderson while Winter was forced to leave the group due to a prolonged illness in the 90s.) Their first project was a 12" single that was handled exclusively by mail order thru Record Shack, a shop in Soho. The effort attracted the attention of execs at Polydor Records who offered the unnamed band a contract. As a bit of a nod to the Record Shack and because the word Attack sounded good, the two words were combined, a couple of c's and a t were dropped and presto chango, Shakatak became their name!
They scored a series of hits in the UK & were prolific thruout the 80s & 90s all while building a world wide fan base. Although Shakatak's production of original material has slowed somewhat in the past few years, their music continues to exude an attractive fusion of influences that has long made them one of our favourites here on our show. The group has released well in excess of 20 albums, so we could have gone to any of several outstanding tracks. On this occasion though, we went back to 1998 and Shakatak's superb Shinin' On cd. From that effort we've selected Blue Azure, an incredible mood inducing piece and the first track that turned on to the sound of this fabulous band. It's tunes such as this that are integral to helping define what our show is all about!
CD: Shinin' On (1998)
Label: Instinct Records
Web Site: Shakatak
Bossa - Gold Coast:
Gold Coast is comprised of guitarist Jon Coleman, percussionist John Pickell, and bassist John Ugarte. The three John's have performed together on the LA jazz circuit since the 80's. Coleman for his part, became aware of his talent at age 11. He took classical guitar lessons for 15 years, then continued to play & study music while attending college. In 1980 or so Coleman hooked up with Pickell and started the band Abracadabra with Ugarte. Although they played their final performance as Abracadabra in 1986, they reformed a few years later under the name Gold Coast. Blending Caribbean, North African and Latin influences, the Gold Coast style explores the rich terrain of world music in a smooth & jazzy sort of way. Latitudes was their debut release, and won "Best Jazz Guitarist" for Coleman at the 2000 LA Music Awards in a field of over 2,000 submissions. From that release we have December Bossa, an easy and melodic track that's further enhanced by the performances of Patrice Rushen on keys & Oscar Brashear on trumpet! Uplifting & melodic, this is and incredibly beautiful piece & I for one can't wait to hear more from this fabulous trio!
CD: Latitudes (2001)
Label: JonJohnJohnny Music
Web Site: Gold Coast
Midnight - Bob Mamet:
The Chicago native issued a trio of excellent cds in the 90s. As adept at playing straight-ahead jazz as he was at creating hook laden smooth jazz, Mamet was a masterful keyboardist well able to skirt the rewarding territory between the two jazzes. It's the 3rd of his projects that we go to on this occasion, and one on which Mamet connected with fellow keyboardist David Benoit who produced the album. The effort found Mamet drawing liberally on many of the elements from both jazz camps, and was named Adventures in Jazz. It proved to be one of the most enjoyable releases for 1997. Unfortunately we haven't heard anything new from Mamet in the period since so in that regard, he's long overdue. Nevertheless, from Adventures in Jazz, At Midnight is our focus. Although the track was cowritten by Steve Cole, it features another saxman, that being Eric Marienthal. Very jazzy & exceedingly hip!
CD: Adventures in Jazz (1997)
Label: Atlantic Jazz
Web Site: Bob Mamet
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :|
|On this edition we're spotlighting some of the great music created by Jonathan Butler over the course of his career as Butler is the focus of our T&N feature. More great music from Joe McBride, Bona Fide, Gregg Karukas, & Jay Soto as we delve ever more deeply into their recent releases and we have a couple of other tracks that I know you're going to love. We're starting things with Patrick Yandall and yet another fabulous track from The Eyes of Mars, perhaps Yandall's finest release to date & definitely one of the better ones for the year. From that album, Patrick gives us his tribute to the great BB King as we begin with King BB on After Hours!|
Then & Now Feature : Jonathan ButlerSo with a catalogue of over a dozen releases to choose from, we decided to present an extended Then & Now feature with 6 tracks from 6 different albums. In order they are Gentle Love, High Tide (the tune that really got me turned onto JB and his sound), Colours, Dancing on the Shore, So In Love, and Mandela Bay. The tracks appear in chronological order. They're taken from the above albums respectively and span the period of Butler's career from his debut right up to his current release.
Jonathan Butler: Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Butler grew up under the veil of apartheid, an official government policy of discrimination against non-whites.
Web Site: Jonathan Butler