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

November 13th, 2005
Edition #384 Previously Next

On this edition, we're checking out some fabulous sounds from Daryl Stuermer, Lisa Hilton, Nura, & Brian Simpson. There's an oldie but goodie from Club 1600, more from Paul Hardcastle & Rick Braun, as well as our usual features, the Show Case CD with Joe McBride and the Fresh Trax segment. Highlights include new music from Bob Baldwin, Jason Weber and Tom Braxton & and then we're introducing Javid & Michael B. Sutton. Although some of these may be new names on the smooth jazz scene, today they're the stars on our FT segment ! U-Nam is on the show, we have tracks from Brian Hughes, Four80East, and Jeff Jarvis that we haven't played in quite some time. Paul Brown serves up the vocal version of The City and finally there's also a track from Brian Culbertson & After Hours, that inspired our Then & Now feature on our own After Hours!

Texas Hold'em - Joe McBride

Julian's Smile - Tom Braxton
Pas y Amor - Javid
All In A Days Work - Bob Baldwin
Nobody - Michael B. Sutton
Brainfreez - Jason Weber

Then & Now - Brian Culbertson

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Showcase CD
Texas Hold'em - Joe McBride:
A Fulton, MI native, McBride started banging on the piano at the tender age of four. Blessed with a fair degree of natural talent, he was already playing in a few of the local jazz clubs in nearby St. Louis while he was still in high school. It was during his teens however, that McBride was stricken with a degenerative eye disease which eventually claimed his sight. Nonetheless, Joe's passion for music was undeterred & in fact this became his calling in life. He continued his studies first at the Missouri School for the Blind and then at Webster University where he majored in jazz performance. It was back in about 1983, that McBride moved to San Diego, where he soon connected with Steve Laury & the band Fattburger who were then still very early in their careers. He might have continued in that fertile environment had it not been for a fateful trip to Dallas. What had been intended as a two-week sojourn to visit his brother turned into a long term stay as Joe was flooded with performing opportunities. He soon became one of that city's leading jazz musicians and so he moved to Dallas, while enrolling at the University of North Texas.

Photo ~ Courtesy of
Heads Up!

During this period, McBride met a young trumpeter named Dave Love and they quickly became friends. A few years later Love launched the Heads Up record label and McBride was one of the first to be signed to a deal. Joe's debut was issued in 1992 & he instantly became a core artist for smooth jazz radio. Now with a total of seven well-received releases to his credit, Texas Hold'em is his most recent effort. It's another great album from one of the most gifted performers in the genre. Joe's heightened development as a musician sparkles thruout and so it's with great pleasure that we place it & its author in our music spotlight. To start the feature we present One Eyed Jack and a track that's highlighted by the trumpet work of David Von Blohn. Moody & melodic, The River opens hour two. And to complete our mini-tribute to Joe we have Big Slick. Very hip; very cool!

CD: Texas Hold'em
Label: Heads Up International

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Julian's Smile - Tom Braxton:
Although Braxton's name may not be overly familiar on the smooth jazz scene, he is certainly no newcomer to music. He attended Texas Tech in his hometown of Lubbock, on track and music scholarships and it was during this period that performing as a musician really came to the forefront of his life. After graduating with highest honours, Tom released his solo debut in 1992. However, it wasn't too long afterward that he connected with bassist Wayman Tisdale. He's been playing in that band ever since. Over the past several years, Tom has produced four records on his own but a couple of years ago, the recording "bug" bit again. Tisdale suggested that they do a project together and so the CD, Bounce, came in being. From that release we have a really nice easy going piece entitled Julian's Smile!

CD: Bounce
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
Sites: Tom Braxton
Pas y Amor - Javid:
The musical efforts that are presented under the name Javid feature the combined skills of Javid Khazaeli and his wife Naoko Wada. For his part, Javid began studying classical piano in the Tehran Conservatory at the age of 12. One day as he practiced, he was overcome by the mesmerizing strains of a classical guitar and subsequently, he pursued excellence on the instrument for the next 8 years. Javid emigrated to France at the age of 20, and spent several years performing along the Champs-Elysées. After 5 years in France, and a brief period in Munich, he relocated to San Diego via San Francisco. All the while Javid concentrated on the continuing development of his style. His debut cd was released in 1999 but the following year, the course of his life changed forever when he met Naoko and they married shortly thereafter. Naoko became Javid's partner not only in life but also in music. She seems to provide just the right spark of inspiration while also contributing her own unique talents on rhythm guitar. They have appeared throughout the US, France, Germany and Japan with Silk Road as their latest recorded effort. From that release we have a gorgeous new flamenco piece entitled Pas y Amor!

CD: Silk Road
Label: Independent

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
All In A Days Work - Bob Baldwin:
In a career that stretches back to the 80s, Baldwin is a veteran performer who's had several chart-topping and critically acclaimed efforts. Bob's father, Robert Baldwin, Sr., was an accomplished jazz pianist and bassist in his own right. As a result, it isn't too surprising that Bob Jr. ended up studying classical and jazz repertoire. In 1986 he formed The Bob Baldwin/Al Orlo Project and used that experience as a springboard to launch his solo career in 1990. Well known for his innovative approach to music, Baldwin is also known for his spirituality. He looks to his faith not only for direction on a daily basis but also draws on that faith for inspiration in his music. Invariably this latter quality comes shining thru. With several well received albums to his credit All In A Days Work is his forthcoming release. From that effort, we're featuring the advance single and the title track!

CD: All In A Days Work
Label: 215 Records
Sites: Bob Baldwin
Nobody - Michael B. Sutton:
Sutton spent several years as a writer at Motown music where he & his wife Brenda penned hits for Smokey Robinson and others. Following a stint as members of the group Finished Touch, the Suttons left Motown in 1980 and formed their still active publishing company. As a duo, they scored several mid-charting R&B hits while placing selections on albums by Dionne Warwick, Cheryl Lynn and Anita Pointer. In the time since, Michael has written and arranged for film and TV. However, it's his Motown apprenticeship that thoroughly seasoned Sutton into the artist he's become.From Hopeless Romantic, Sutton's velvet voice is featured on the soothing & sensual Nobody!

CD: Hopeless Romantic
Label: Little Dizzy Records
Brainfreez - Jason Weber:
In 1994, Weber graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in music performance. He led an award-winning contemporary jazz group and his first solo cd achieved national recognition in the US by making it to the final round in the Musician Magazine's Best Unsigned Band Contest for 1997. That same year, Jason relocated to Southern California where he soon made his presence well known on that city's vibrant scene. In the short period since, Weber has attained notoriety as a versatile performer and one that's capable of moving his audiences with his passion. In addition Weber has recorded five cds of original material with "Can U Feel Me Now?" as his latest. From that effort, we present a torrid track titled Brainfreez that features some wicked electric guitar from Mike DeRose. Now this is what you wanna hear, five full minutes of charged listening that knocks down the boundaries of radio! And in answer to the musical question posed by the album's title, "Yeah Jason! We can feel you now!"

CD: Can U Feel Me Now?
Label: Jayk Weber Music
Site: Jason Weber

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition we're spotlighting music from Brian Culbertson on an extended installment of our T&N feature. We have a total of eight tracks in all from Mr. Culbertson, one from each of his releases. Then, there's more from George Benson & Gregg Karukas as we delve more deeply into their new albums. We have something new from Eric Marienthal and we're introducing Marcin Nowakowski an excellent young sax player out of Poland. But to get things going, we're checking out another track from The Eyes of Mars from Patrick Yandall, one of favourites to this point in the year. From that release we have the cool & samba flavoured sounds of Brazilian Affairs!
Then & Now Feature: Brian Culbertson

Long Night Out
Modern Life
After Hours

Somethin' Bout Love
Nice & Slow
Come On Up
Warner Bros.
It's On Tonight

Brian Culbertson: Since he first broke onto the scene just over ten years ago, Culbertson has been one of the most prolific performers in the genre. Brian's dad, a high school band director, helped Brian develop an ear for music and taught him to play a variety of instruments. Culbertson began on piano at the age of eight, but soon added drums, trombone and bass to his musical arsenal. In junior high, he grew bored with classical recital pieces, so he began composing and experimenting with a synthesizer and an old four-track recorder. Soon after he graduated, Culbertson headed to Chicago to further his musical studies and with the help of a family friend, he signed a deal with Mesa/Blue Moon. Shortly thereafter Brian more or less single-handedly recorded his debut album, Long Night Out, in the bedroom of an apartment that he shared with three college buddies. The project was a resounding success.

Brian & Dave Koz (Dave Koz Holiday Show)
Photo courtesy of John Rowlands !
It yielded the hit Alone With You, rose as high as #2 and occupied the Top Five of the adult contemporary charts for ten consecutive weeks! Brian's subsequent efforts have placed him squarely near the front of the smooth jazz pack. It all culminated a few years back with Culbertson's selection as best keyboardist in smooth jazz. In any event, Culbertson's phenomenal commercial success has tended to somewhat overshadow the more imaginative & innovative aspects of his music. However, Brian has never hesitated in stepping outside the confines of the smooth jazz radio format.

His early works in particular contain some of the most creative & progressive pieces of the day. A quick bit of exploration thru Brian's eight releases yielded eight selections that I believe well represent the various facets of Culbertson's musicality. We're pleased to present that in two parts as the focus for this Then & Now feature. Part 1 includes Alone With You (his first hit), Midnight Sun & Inside Pocket (with Harry Mura on guitar on both & Steve Cole on sax on the latter), and finally So Good (another big hit). Part 2 begins with Escape (a incredibly moody piece that I personally feel ranks up there with his finest works). Following are Just Another Day (featuring Herb Alpert & Jeff Lorber), Our Love ( a track that Brian wrote for his wife Michelle) and finally we finish with Let's Get Started (with Eric Darius on sax). The tracks are presented sequentially from the above albums. And taken collectively, these selections constitute a first-rate feature from a top-notch performer !

Site: Brian Culbertson

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