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

November 27th, 2005
Edition #386 Previously Next

There's nonstop excitement on this show as among the featured performers we have Walter Beasley, spotlighted on the showcase feature, and Gerald Veasley who's the subject for our Then & Now segment. (We do keep ourselves amused here at The Café !)

In hour two there's FT, our biweekly review of all the best selections that have made their way into our studios in the last short while. Eric Marienthal & Chuck Leavell high light the feature. We'll hear the latest from Gretchen Lieberum and we're also introducing Poland's Marcin Nowakowski & Nate Wingfield. That's all coming up in the second hour of the show!
In This Issue:

For Her - Walter Beasley

You Are The Sun - Marcin Nowakowski
Backburn - Chuck Leavell
Emotion - Eric Marienthal
Beauty of Mine - Gretchen Lieberum
Casual Bliss - Nate Wingfield

Then & Now - Gerald Veasley
Featured Seasonal Selections

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Showcase CD
For Her - Walter Beasley:

Growing up in El Centro, California, Beasley's passion for music sprang to life when he was nine. His Aunt had given him a Grover Washington, Jr. record. That album, and a couple of others, provided the stimulus that first unfurled Beasley's imagination. His raison d'être quickly became to move people thru music. In his early teens, Walter played in a variety of bands and started singing a few vocals in Spanish. It was thereby that he learned the importance of romance in music, an element that has become vital to many of his own musical creations. In the early 80s, Walter made the trek eastward to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating, there was an opening on the faculty, so that within the course of a few months Beasley had traded roles at that acclaimed school. What was initially supposed to be a short-term placement has now stretched into a 20-plus year gig. Meanwhile, Walter recorded his self-titled solo debut in 1987.
Beasley has also issued a series of highly regarded instructional videos all while continuing to advance his own career as a performer. He now has eleven releases to his credit with For Her as his latest. When he first started the album, Walter was seeing someone special and so the music on the record was supposed to be 'for her'. However, halfway thru the project, the relationship ended. Regardless, Beasley continued to base his songs on what he was experiencing emotionally. He then met someone else and the mood of that relationship is also reflected in the subsequent selections. As such, For Her may well very be one of Beasley's most personal records.
Album Insert
Nevertheless, Walter exhibits continued growth in his style all while maintaining those qualities that have been key to the success he's enjoyed to this point in his career. Consequently we're the beneficiaries of one of his finest efforts to date!

It's with great pleasure then that we showcase For Her & Walter Beasley. To begin we experience the optimism of the album's opening track, She's All That,which was co-written by Chuck Loeb. Good Morning, quite simply one of the sweetest track on the album, opens hour two. And we conclude with Coolness, an up tempo piece that was co-written and produced by James Lloyd (Pieces of a Dream). The tune is presently perched near the top of many of the SJ charts and understandably so!

CD: For Her
Label: Heads Up International
Site: Walter Beasley

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Fresh Trax: Part One
You Are The Sun - Marcin Nowakowski :
Saxman Nowakowski comes to us directly from Poland. Now you might be inclined to venture the comment 'Smooth Jazz in Poland, Eh?' Well, not only is that correct but it also seems that Marcin is intent on making the shift to the North American music market. His résumé reveals that he studied at F. Chopin's Jazz Music Academy where he had the opportunity to work with Eric Marienthal. His first big break came in 1996 when he was asked to appear with the noted Polish bass player Wojtek Pilichowski, at Yamaha Days Festivas. Then it was about a year later, when he was offered a spot in the group Woobie Doobie, one of the premier jazz bands on the Polish scene. Since then, he's become one of Poland's most sought after sidemen. Smooth Night is his solo debut that's just been released and from it we have a beautifully romantic piece entitled You Are The Sun with none other than Paul Jackson Jr. guesting on the track. It's as smooth & soothing as anything out there and may well open the door for this gifted young musician. Now, if you've recently hoped for music with a more romantic flavour, this track should very nicely satisfy that craving and more!

CD: Smooth Night
Label: Smooth Jazz Records
Site: Nowakowski
Backburn - Chuck Leavell:
Now if you've at all listened to The Rolling Stones over the last 20 years then you've heard Chuck Leavell. Leavell is certainly no new comer to music as his career stretches back to the 70s. He first joined The Allman Brothers Band when he was just 20 and took part in Brothers and Sisters, their album that was released shortly after the death of Duane Allman. Leavell went on to record two more projects with The Allmans before the group disbanded. Next up was Sea Level, a creative fusion group that released five critically acclaimed albums in the late 70s. Then in 1982, Chuck was invited to fill a significant spot on a Stones' tour. That association has continued. Leavell has joined Mick & the boys on each of their subsequent tours and has also recorded with them in the studio.

Nevertheless, Chuck has gone on to record three of his own projects. He's also become much in-demand as a session player and producer. His piano and keyboards have been heard on the works of Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, George Harrison, and many, many more. But for the most part his steady gig has been with the Stones. In fact, his lengthy affiliation with the band has prompted many in the media to refer to Chuck as the "the sixth Rolling Stone!" In any event, Leavell's most recent solo effort is the album Southscape & from it we have a burning track entitled Backburn! Great musicianship thruout including some always tasty & fine guitar work courtesy of Larry Carlton and the steady as a rock drumming of Chad Cromwell ! Can you dig it!

CD: Southscape
Label: Evergreen Arts
Sites: Chuck Leavell

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Emotion - Eric Marienthal:
After attending Berklee in Boston for a couple of years, the LA native landed a gig with Al Hirt. This was followed by a variety of sessions including a stint at Walt Disney studios. In 1986, Marienthal connected with Chick Corea. He soon became a member of Corea's acclaimed Elektric Band and took part in a pair of albums. His own solo debut was released in 1987. Over the years, Marienthal has well demonstrated his adeptness at playing any style that he wishes. He's not only become one of the most popular performers in SJ but he's also highly regarded and in demand as a sessionist. With several well received albums to his credit Got You Covered is his latest. From that effort we've selected Emotion, Eric's cover of the Barry & Maurice Gibb composition. The Gibbs wrote the piece for fellow Australian Samantha Sang who was a one-hit-wonder back in 1978. They themselves recorded the tune as the Bee Gees in the late 90s. In any event, we have Eric's terrific cover of a classic track!

CD: Got You Covered
Label: Peak Records
Site: Eric Marienthal
Beauty of Mine - Gretchen Lieberum:
Sultry & seductive, we have the latest from Gretchen Lieberum. The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter was raised in Berkeley CA and developed her love for jazz and urban beats on the Bay area's varied music scene. She debuted in the late 90s and her music experienced millions of downloads on the old Mp3.com web site. That success led to a record deal and the release of Brand New Morning, her sophomore effort. The album gained Lieberum broader exposure and some of her selections were eventually used for TV & film. Possessing a style that is somewhat reminiscent of the torch singers of the 30s, Lieberum's ballads are characterized by a slow-burning quality. When asked to describe her own work, Gretchen confesses that it's not easy, but often uses the phrase 'jazz, soul and trip-hop influenced'. Siren Songs is her latest effort as Lieberum continues to stretch the boundaries of her craft, much to the delight of jazz lovers and trip-hop followers alike! From Siren Songs, Gretchen smokey stylings are simply outstanding on Beauty of Mine!

CD: Siren Songs
Label: Gogogerty Music
Site: Gretchen Lieberum
Casual Bliss - Nate Wingfield:
A Philadelphia native, Wingfield was already appearing professionally at local gigs when he was just 14. He quickly graduated to full session work at Sigma Sound studios with the famed team of Gamble & Huff. This led to touring with Evelyn "Champagne' King, Norman Connors, and Phyllis Hyman. While living in New York, Nate worked with producer Narada Michael Walden and later in Los Angeles, he toured & recorded with Brian McKnight and Irene Cara. Currently residing in Las Vegas, Wingfield regularly plays with some of that city's top Casino acts. Nevertheless, after twenty years of musical experiences, he decided to make the move from side man to front man with the release of Rhythm Tree, his debut. The album displays many of the styles about which Wingfield is so passionate and from it we have the excellent lead track!

CD: Rhythm Tree
Label: Independent

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
We're spotlighting one of the premier bassists in SJ on an extended T&N feature! I'm referring to Gerald Veasley. We have a seven-pack of tracks, one from each of Veasley's solo releases. Then, there's more from Brian Culbertson, a great track from Rick Braun that's available only from the ARTizen web site (as a free download I might add), and we're also following up on something we started last time out as we cap off the entire segment with a trio of brand new seasonal selections. Now in truth, I feel it's still just a bit too early to be playing Christmas music. However, if you hear something that sounds interesting, it does give you time enough to do a bit of holiday shopping in that regard. So you might want to check out the tracks that we have for you on this occasion. They are from Marcus Johnson, Anita Baker & Ricardo Scales and that will coming up towards the end of the hour. But in the meantime, we have the latest from Marc Antoine to start things off, from Modern Times it's the radio remix of the title track!
Then & Now Feature: Gerald Veasley

Look Ahead
Heads Up

Heads Up

Soul Control
Heads Up

Love Letters
Heads Up

On The Fast Track
Heads Up

Heads Up

At The Jazz Base
Heads Up

Gerald Veasley :For Gerald, it all began at the age twelve when he started playing the bass. He was exposed to gospel and R&B as a child and as a teen he went on to play in various R&B bands. Along the way, he discovered jazz and in particular, he came to appreciate the music of Weather Report and Return to Forever. His parents, who were both musically inclined, inspired young Veasley with their hard work and sacrifices, and as a result, the Philadelphia native earned a full four year academic scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. Music had always been a meaningful part of Gerald's life. It moved him emotionally and provided him with an outlet for feelings that mere words couldn't express. Then, when Veasley's father passed away, he turned to music and its therapeutic powers to help him deal with his loss. In time, his career path went fully in that direction.

Photo: At The Jazz Base Insert
In the early 80s Veasley embarked on the first of several high-profile sideman gigs. In short order he shared the stage with Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie and that was followed by a stint with his longtime friend and mentor, the late Grover Washington Jr. In 1988, Weather Report cofounder Joe Zawinul hired Veasley in as back up with Gerald continuing in that capacity thru until 1995. In the meantime though, Veasley had signed with Heads Up and released his first album in 1992. He now has a total of seven releases to his credit.

On a personal note, a few years back I had the great pleasure of seeing Veasley perform live at the 3-day Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz as part of the Heads Up Super Group. Without any word of exaggeration, Veasley and his band mates stole the show! Nonetheless, Veasley has amassed an impressive résumé having performed and/or recorded with Special EFX, Joe McBride, Phil Perry, Chieli Minucci, Dianne Reeves, George Howard, Kenny Blake, Pamela Williams, Eric Marienthal, and many more notables.

In any event, it's a treat to have one of the premier players in SJ as the focus for our feature. So as we get down to the sounds of Gerald Veasley, we begin by checking out The Dream from Look Ahead, Gerald's 1992 debut. Part 1 of the feature continues with A Lasting Moment with Chieli Minucci & the late George Jinda guesting. That's followed by Broadstreet with Rick Braun on trumpet. Part 2 kicks off with the appropriately titled Optimistic. Then Do I Do, Sarah's Song and finally Sugar Time, from Gerald's current release, very nicely cap off a spectacular T&N!

Site: Gerald Veasley

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The Latest Featured Seasonal Selections :

Marcus Johnson
Smooth Jazz Christmas
Three Keys

Anita Baker
Christmas Fantasy
Blue Note

Ricardo Scales
Happy Holidays Forever Love
Bay Sound Records
We're going to leave you with some of the best in seasonal music that we've come across in the last few weeks or so. We have a trio of selections, starting with Let It Snow from Marcus Johnson. That's followed by Anita Baker & Christmas Fantasy and then we're closing with Ricardo Scales & Feliz Navidad!

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