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

November 20th, 2005
Edition #385 Previously

Hope you can join me as we spotlight Yours Truly, the latest from Rick Braun. Then in hour two we're back with more Back Trax, including some golden listening from The Rippingtons, Dan Siegel, & Brian Tarquin. We've also lined up selections from Tony Gable & 206 and the group Vital Information.

A quick run down of the rest of the line-up: Jay Soto, Alan Hewitt, Bass X, 3rd Force, Vince Mai, Brian Simpson, Dino Pacifici, Steve Oliver & Michael Bublé! Now have I missed anyone? Oh yeah...Bobby Caldwell, Nicolas Bearde, Steve Barakatt, and Four80East complete our two hour highlight reel!

In This Issue:

Yours Truly - Rick Braun

She Likes To Watch - The Rippingtons
Necessary Autumn - Vital Information
Eastlake Blue - Tony Gable & 206
Just For The Moment - Dan Siegel
Jive Town - Brian Tarquin

Then & Now - Marc Antoine
Latest Featured Seasonal Releases

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Showcase CD
Yours Truly - Rick Braun:

The man who nearly single-handedly revitalized the sound of the trumpet in contemporary music is back with his first studio release in a couple of years. Over the past dozen years, Rick Braun has become firmly entrenched as one of the most popular players in Smooth Jazz. Going back a few years though, reveals that Rick has enjoyed an interesting and somewhat varied career. It all began in Allentown Pennsylvania where Braun grew up in a family that, apart from his father, was quite musical. His grandparents played the violin and piano while his Mom was self-taught on both banjo & piano. If he'd had his way, Braun would have been a drummer or perhaps a violin player, but the trumpet proved to be less objectionable for a big family living in a small house. So it was that from the third grade on Rick was playing along with all the Herb Alpert records. Braun left home to attend the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, but never completed his term.
Courtesy of Rick's site His band Auracle was offered a record deal and, so with the support of his nonmusical Dad, he made the trek across the US to LA in 1977 to pursue his passion. Auracle recorded a pair of projects. However, to quote Rick "Auracle was a lot more adventurous and complicated than the other fusion groups that were working at the time, so that meant we were doomed to failure." In the mid-80s Braun toured with the group War. He wrote the pop hit Here With Me for REO Speedwagon, his first big success in music, and then enjoyed an eighteen month stint as a member of Rod Stewart's band. It was in 1993 that Braun issued his solo debut and shortly thereafter he got a gig as the trumpeter for Sade on her "Love Deluxe" tour. That proved to a pivotal point in his career. Soon after, Braun found his niche in contemporary jazz. His break through album was 1995's Beat Street, his third release. That chart topping effort & his subsequent projects earned Braun a pair of Gavin awards as Artist of the Year, and recognition for Album of the Year.
In the time since, the charismatic horn player was acknowledged as Best Producer and Best Brass Player at the Smooth Jazz Awards a few years back. He's now released nine solo cds as well as a pair of well received collaborations (Shake it Up with Boney James and Groovin' with Norman Brown and Kirk Whalum as BWB) with Yours Truly as his new one.
Courtesy of the ARTizen Music This latest release takes the form of a musical letter from Braun to all of his fans as he traces some the tracks have been personal touchstones over the course of his career. In any event, it's with great pleasure that we place Rick Braun & Yours Truly in our music spotlight. We begin with Kiss of Life, a tune that Rick performed on many occasions as Sade stood silhouetted on the stage in front of him and it's one of our favourites from the album. Hour two commences with All Around the World, a bit more subtle perhaps than the 1989 Lisa Stansfield hit. Then we close with Love's Theme, the Barry White classic and a piece that Rick heard repeatedly during that drive across the US back in 1977. All in all a fabulous showcase feature as Braun has selected a few of the most popular tracks of the day!

CD: Yours Truly
Label: ARTizen Music Group
Site: Rick Braun

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Back Trax: Part One
She Likes To Watch - The Rippingtons:
Following the success of Russ Freeman's solo debut, there was a fair degree of interest in having Freeman produce an album. As such Freeman called upon a few friends, among them David Benoit, Gregg Karukas, Kenny G, Steve Reid, Dave Koz, and Brandon Fields; and asked if they would be interested in playing on the effort. At the time, they were all nurturing fledgling solo careers and so Freeman rather appropriately chose to title the project Moonlighting. The rest is history as The Ripps went on to become the top group in the 90s. On this occasion, we're heading back to 1986 & that very first Rippingtons release for a track that features the G-Man himself, Mr. Kenny G, and one that remains one of their most recognizable pieces almost 20 years after it was recorded!

CD: Moonlighting (1986)
Label: GRP
Site: The Rippingtons
Necessary Autumn - Vital Information:
The line-up for Vital Information runs nothing short of an all-star cast. Steve Smith is the group's drummer & founder and has a resume as long as your arm. He may be known best for his stint with the rock group Journey during their heyday but he's also played with Jean-Luc Ponty, The Buddy Rich Big Band, the jazz ensemble Steps Ahead as well as with artists as diverse as Andrea Bocelli, Ronnie Montrose and Savage Garden. As such, you've no doubt heard Steve's drumming on numerous occasions. However, unless you're an avid drum enthusiast, it may be news to you that Smith won Modern Drummer Magazine's #1 All Around Drummer award five years in a row and was voted one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time in a recent poll. In 2002, he was also voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

The other members of Vital Information have credentials that are almost equally impressive. Keyboardist Tom Coster long played with Roland Kirk before his eight year stint with Santana. He's recorded many albums under him own name and tours with Billy Cobham and Bill Evans. Meanwhile guitarist Frank Gambale, first hit the international scene, like Smith, playing with Jean-Luc Ponty. He then later gained considerable attention as an ongoing member of Chick Corea's Elektric Band. Frank has also made many recordings under his own name and tours with his own trio.

In any event, Smith started up Vital Information in 1983 while still with Journey in an effort to record music that was a bit more challenging. Coster joined the band in '86, while Gambale has been a member since about '88 when he filled the guitar chair that had been vacated by Mike Stern. Now in their 22nd year since that initial release, Vital Information continues to be a major force in the realm of fusion. Neverthless, on this occasion, we're heading back to Easier Said Than Done from 1992, and a time when bassist Jeff Andrews rounded out the sound of the combo. From that effort we have Necessary Autumn, a strikingly brilliant track punctuated by musicianship of the highest calibre!

CD: Easier Said Than Done (1992)
Label: Manhattan
Site: Steve Smith

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Back Trax: Part Two
Eastlake Blue - Tony Gable & 206:
During the 70s, Gable was majoring in fine arts when he saw the movie "Woodstock", and became inspired by the outstanding percussion in the Santana performance. Shortly thereafter, he bought a pair of blue sparkle plastic bongos from a pawnshop and taught himself how to play. A short while later, he got into a band and moved to nearby Seattle. Calling themselves Cold, Bold & Together the group quickly became one of the regions most popular acts. Several members are still very active today, including Kenny Gorelick who went on to become the world's #1 instrumentalist as Kenny G. As Gable puts it "The G-man didn't forget his roots and included musicians from Seattle in his touring band and on his … albums."

Meanwhile, Tony's career continued to grow and in time he gathered his own dream assembly of players. The group took its name from the area code for Seattle, from whence several hail, and so it was that Tony Gable & 206 came into being. They had a pair of releases and one EP but for the most part Tony has appeared only locally in the past few years. Nevertheless, it's our pleasure to return to 1995 & Seven Hills, the title being a reference to the seven hills upon which Seattle is built. From that sophomore effort we have Eastlake Blue. In addition to featuring Gable himself on percussion, the tune is highlighted by the guitar of Chad Quist & the saxwork of Jon Goforth & Darren Motamedy. It's a great track and makes me wish that we'd had a chance to hear more from Gable & 206!

CD: Seven Hills (1995)
Label: Heads Up International
Sites: Tony Gable & 206
Just For The Moment - Dan Siegel:
Born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in Eugene, Oregon, Siegel began piano at age eight. His first professional gig, however, featured Dan as a lead singer and guitarist when he was 12. After receiving a degree in Music Composition from the University of Oregon in 1976, Siegel began recording his own compositions. In 1979 he was signed to an independent jazz label based in New York and his second release, The Hot Shot, reached No.1 on the jazz chart in 1981. A couple of years later, he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue film and television work as well as a more active recording career. Over the years Dan's creativity has shown him exploring a variety of diverse musical styles. Both a prolific and highly regarded pianist, Siegel has issued 15 cds under his own name, one best of release as well as several others as leader of the all-star Birds of a Feather project. In the early days of SJ radio Dan's releases were invariably instant adds and so on this occasion, we returned to the best selling cd in Siegel's lengthy career and one of his prettiest pieces ever!

CD: Northern Nights (1987)
Label: CBS Records
Site: Dan Siegel
Jive Town - Brain Tarquin:
A native of NYC, Tarquin took up guitar at the age of seven and was playing in rock bands by grade six. His fascination with all aspects of music drew him to successfully pursue an advanced degree in audio engineering. Early in his career, Tarquin composed a variety of jingles for some of NY's most influential audio houses. Meanwhile his growing career in TV brought him to Los Angeles in the early 90s where he composed for the coverage of both the '92 and '94 Winter Olympics. In 1996, Brian trekked up to Montreal and recorded his debut cd which featured a fusion of jazz, pop and world music. The following year he landed a deal with Instinct Records and ended up in England where he connected with Ernie McKone, producer of a couple of cds for Count Basic. The result saw a welcome shift to the type of acid jazz grooves that Brian had been 'hearing in his head' and the release of Last Kiss Goodbye drew rave reviews as Tarquin exploded onto the scene.

Phrases such as ……outstanding writing and production… forward-thinking yet accessible… cosmopolitan flair… and flawlessly executed … were all used to describe the Tarquin sound. A couple more outstanding projects followed. However, with Instinct's decision to abandon the smooth jazz genre, Tarquin gravitated to more production work as this had in fact always been his bread & butter. Brian now writes and records in his own Jungle Room Studios in LA where he devotes about half of his time to All My Children while he musically explores electronica with his writing partner Chris Ingram under the band name Asphalt Jungle. Nevertheless on this occasion it's a genuine treat to return to 1999 and Tarquin's 3rd cd for a tune that features Cliff Lyons on sax. From Soft Touch, we have the syncopated groove of Jive Town and just a sensational track that ever so nicely wraps up the BT segment!

CD: Soft Touch (1999)
Label: Instinct Records
Site: Brian Tarquin

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition we're spotlighting Marc Antoine on an extended installment of Then & Now; we have seven tracks in all, one from each of his releases. Then apart from that we have new music & nothing but new music. We're offering an After Hours presented in two parts with a total of 20 never before been played on our show tracks . Included are Jeff Kashiwa, Bona Fide, & Will Donato. New names this time around include Bliss, Nate Wingfield and Jon Fessendon; meanwhile we're also digging into releases from Shady Grady, Eric Marienthal, Robin Avery, William Woods, Mark Hollingsworth, Marcin Nowakowski, and Mike Di Lorenzo. I've even scraped up tracks from Jonathan Butler, Gregg Karukas, Jeff Golub & Paul Brown that have so far escaped our attention. And to cap off things we're rounding out hour 2 with a trio of seasonal selections that represent the best of the bunch to this point. Anna Wilson, Steve Oliver, and The Pointer Sisters are featured (the latter from the compilation Smooth & Soulful Christmas). So once you're done listening to part 1, please be sure to click on the second paw for part 2 & another full hour of AH!
Then & Now Feature: Marc Antoine

Classical Soul
NYC Records

Urban Gypsy
NYC Records

GRP Records

Universal Language br GRP Records

GRP Records


Modern Times

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 terrible accident that nearly cost him his career.

Photo ~ courtesy of
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! Now with seven releases to his credit, the time was right to place Marc where he belongs, as the focus for Then & Now!

To start off things, we whipped back in time directly to 1994 and Classical Soul, Marc's debut. From that effort, Unity launches the the feature. That's followed by Forget-Me-Not and Sunland as hour one winds to a close. T&N resumes with Children At Play kicking off hour two. That's followed by On The Strip, Mediterraneo, and Camden Town. Those selections are of course from the above albums in the order that they're pictured. And that ladies & gentlemen completes over 30 minutes of music and as fabulous a feature as you're likley to hear anytime soon!

Site: Marc Antoine

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The Latest in Smooth Seasonal Music :

Anna Wilson
The Christmas Song
Transfer Records

Steve Oliver
Oohla Productions

Various Artists
Smooth & Soulful Christmas / YMC

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