Café Jazz Radio - Canada's Smooth Jazz Connection
Featuring the Smooth Groove of Today's Jazz!
This Week at Café

February 19th, 2006
Edition #395 Previously

After being knocked out of commission for the past couple of weeks due to "production problems" (i.e. my computer was in the shop receiving much needed first aid), we're back with another outstanding program!

Every show, we try for a special mix that features the well known and those who deserve to be better known and I feel we've hit the nail squarely on the head with this one. We have a terrific showcase feature and a Fresh Trax segment that quite simply is second-to-none, details of which are available elsewhere in this newsletter. Apart from that, though, we have a collection of smooth jazz favourites both new and old that includes Nils, Paul Hardcastle, Brian Simpson, Euge Groove, Richard Elliot as well as Machan, De-Phazz, Paprika Soul, Les Sabler, David Garfield and several more that rate as brilliant! There's sure to a buzz about this one!
In This Issue:

Every Part Of Me - William Woods

Always Thinking Of You - Nick Colionne
MHouse - Vince Mai
Your Love - Jeff Magnus
Habla Serio - Tom Schuman
Yeah That's It - Michael O'Neill

Copenhagen - Daryl Stuermer

Then & Now - Gregg Karukas

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Showcase CD
Every Part Of Me - William Woods:
A native of New Jersey native, Woods began in music on violin, an instrument that he hated, before discovering his affinity for piano at the age of nine. As a teen, he focused on composition all while developing a passion for improvising. He went on to study at The Juilliard School of Music, but also continued his education outside of that sphere as he graduated from both Princeton and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He presently works as a radiation oncologist and over the years, he's had to balance his rigorous schedule as a physician with his love of being a jazz musician! Encouraged by the recent success of many studio projects, Woods decided to issue A Doctor's Dilemma his debut in 1997. His subsequent album generated increased interest so that Woods now has an eager following. This trend is sure to continue with his 3rd and most recent effort entitled With Every Part of Me.

This project largely satisfies some of Woods' own needs as a musician; consequently, it's a departure from some of today's less imaginative fare. The pieces are all highly melodic and perhaps more than just a bit introspective, as Woods looks deep within himself as a player. The result is an album that displays some of Woods' most compelling and yet most accessible work to date. To quote Woods from the liner notes, "I believe that I have provided more note value per entertainment dollar than the leading brand of smooth jazz CD." The proof is in the playing and to that end we've selected a trio of dandy tracks that amply support this conviction!

Photo: Album Insert
First up is a choice piece with the rather foreboding title of Destroying Angel. The melody too has a certain rather ominous quality. Nevertheless, it's an amazing selection, one of our favourites on the album! The gorgeous title track opens hour 2 and as it unfolds you can't help but be drawn in by the sheer beauty of its understated elegance. Finally, we close with Alive, Living in Jersey; it's the album's opening track and was the first single to radio. Woods is full measure for his star billing on this vibrant piece. Nonetheless, it's an accomplished ensemble of supporting players, among them guitarist Denny Jiosa, bassist Chris Kent, percussionist Glen Caruba, and drummer Raymond Massey that help infuse this track with its revitalizing energy!

CD: Every Part Of Me
Label: Whaling City Sound

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Always Thinking Of You - Nick Colionne :
Colionne is a Chicago native who grew up in a household surrounded by jazz. He began guitar at age nine under the tutelage of his stepfather but by 15 he'd turned professional. Because he was usually the youngest member in the band, Nick would sometimes paint on a mascara moustache to make himself look older. Nevertheless, he quickly moved thru the ranks enjoying stints with the Impressions and Natalie Cole. In the course of events, Colionne turned to jazz, and eventually went solo. It was his 4th & previous release entitled Just Come On In that finally allowed Nick to crack the contemporary scene as a major player. After that highly successful project Colionne is back with Keepin' It Cool and from that effort we have the advance single, Always Thinking of You, and one that I'm sure you're gonna love!

CD: Keepin' It Cool
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Nick Colionne
MHouse - Vince Mai:
Based in Vancouver, Mai is a dynamic soloist, well known up here in Canada as a member of jazz and funk groups and as a top call studio player throughout the Pacific Northwest. Mai's trumpet has been featured on numerous albums, commercials, feature films, and TV series. He's had a pair of cds under his own name, and now on his latest release, Vince seriously explores the smooth-grooves of contemporary jazz from a world perspective; all of this fuelled by his experiences throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. This latest project is called MBand and from it we have MHouse, just a fabulous track that features Mai on trumpet & flugelhorn. Vince also handles much of the keyboard work & programming while Pepe Danza is left in charge of the superb percussive groove on the tune. Now you might guess that I'm very excited about this one and I am. We rate this one as charged listening and it's just one of the many fine selections on the album. Stay tuned as we'll be going to this release often in the weeks ahead!

CD: MBand
Label: Mai Music
Site: Vince Mai

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Your Love - Jeff Magnus:
Magnus started on the sax when he was 12 in his hometown of Harvard, Massachusetts and as he progressed on the instrument, his style was influenced by some of the greats; among them Coltrane, Grover, & Sanborn. He attended the University of Tampa and after graduating, he enjoyed stays in Vermont, New Orleans, and San Diego before making his way to LA. Now residing in Venice Beach CA, Magnus combines his love of the beach with playing the sax while skateboarding! In fact there's a photo on the back insert of an E.P. that he recorded a couple of years back that shows him doing exactly that. In any event, from that effort we have the exquisitely fresh sounds of a track entitled Your Love!

CD: Magnufication The E.P.
Label: Independent
Habla Serio - Tom Schuman:
Schuman was born in Buffalo, NY to a family of jazz musicians. His father was a bassist and his mother a singer who literally met on stage. Tom began playing piano at six but his parents were reluctant to give him lessons because of their own struggles in the music business. However, when they heard him improvising, they felt compelled to provide him with all of the musical support that they could. As a result Schuman studied classical piano for five years. However, he grew averse to that style because of its lack of freedom, preferring to "jam" the chords instead of playing them the way they were written. As a result, he got into studying jazz theory and while only sixteen years of age he traveled to Europe to promote a project as part of the group Birthright.

Upon his return to Buffalo, Tom frequently sat in with many different musicians at some of the local clubs. He particularly enjoyed playing with the band led by Jay Beckenstein and Jeremy Wall. Apparently, the feeling was mutual as Jay and Jeremy invited Schuman to perform on their album as Spyro Gyra! This affiliation has now endured over 25 years as Tom has performed on all of Spyro Gyra's albums to date. However, in 1990, he also launched his solo career and in that regard, he's had four releases. Deep Chill is the latest of these and from that effort we featured a rather crisp selection entitled Habla Serio!

CD: Deep Chill
Label: Jazzbridge Music/Monogram Records
Site: Jazzbridge
Yeah That's It - Michael O'Neill:
For the past few years, O'Neill has secured a reputation as one of the best sidemen in the business. After all, he performed as a member of Stevie Wonder's back up band back in the 80s and for the past 20 years or more he's toured almost nonstop with George Benson. Emerging now as a soloist in his own right, O'Neill had previously enjoyed a pair of releases. Just out though is Funky Fiesta his third and arguably finest effort to date. Michael has himself assembled an impressive cast of supporting players having recruited the stellar accompaniment of Gregg Karukas, David Garfield and Michael Lington among others. This may well be the project that breaks O'Neill as there are several selections that are extremely worthy of air play consideration. A case in point is the track that we've chosen entitled Yeah That's It. Featured is the sax work of Everette Harp while Nathan East handles bass duties and Freddie Ravel & Bobby Wells both contribute their keyboard expertise to the track!

CD: Funky Fiesta
Label: Green Bean Records
Site: Michael O'Neill

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Special Mention: Copenhagen - Daryl Stuermer
Whilst best known for his work with Genesis and The Phil Collins Band, Daryl Stuermer has also been nurturing a solo career since the late 80s. In that regard, he has had five releases under his own name, with the greatest activity occurring within the last seven years. Exclusive of the first album, which was a GRP release, each was issued on Daryl's own Urban Island Label. Over the course of the 50 or so tracks contained on those discs, Stuermer has demonstrated his ability to transcend genres. So now, as the 20th anniversary of his solo debut approaches, we have Nylon String Sampler, a compilation that reflects many aspects of his diverse talents and tastes. However, the release falls just short of "best of" status; although it is an anthology of his solo work, the first album is without representation. Nonetheless, we have favourites from Another Side of Genesis, Waiting in the Wings, and of course Retrofit, a cd that ranked well on our "most played" in 2005 list of albums. Nevertheless, from 1998's Live and Learn, we have selected a track that in a phrase is absolutely superb!

CD: Nylon String Sampler
Label: Urban Island Music
Site: Daryl Stuermer

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
Well I'm afraid I've gone a bit overboard with this one! After being out of action for the past couple of weeks I felt the genuine need to get this out of my system as we were literally set to explode with new music. So this time out we're featuring over 30 selections in two parts with nearly 2-and-one-half hours of music. First up I must mention we have a fabulous extended T&N feature with Gregg Karukas. Be sure to check this out as we have a track from each of Gregg's releases, that's exclusive of his seasonal album, so that gives a tasty assortment of 9 pieces in all. Then, apart from that we're up to our old tricks as we play new music & nothing but new music, with a total of 21 never before been played on our show tracks. That's just short of 2 dozen new selections all the way from Boney James and Alex Bugnon to Eric Darius & Spyro Gyra. There's tons of stuff! Look for new names such as Main Gazane, The Collective, and Paul Thomas Yoder and we're also introducing Stephanie Sante, Rick Parma, Andrew Wasson, and Eddie Reddick. We have more from Bona Fide, Skip Prokop's Valecrest, and North Woodall as we explore each of their releases and there's also the latest from Willie & Lobo, Althea Rene, Grant Geissman, Bradley Leighton, & Jason Miles as well as an incredible hidden track from Steve Cole's latest cd. So once you're done listening to part 1, be sure to click on the second paw for part 2 & more than another full hour of AH!
Then & Now Feature: Gregg Karukas

The Nightowl
Nightowl Records

Key Witness
Positive Music

Sound of Emotion
Positive Music

Positive Music

You'll Know It's Me

Blue Touch
i.e. Music

N-Coded Music

N-Coded Music

Looking Up
trippin 'n' Rhythm

Gregg Karukas: The idea that you could touch people's emotions thru music, grabbed Karukas when he was a teen and just wouldn't let go. For a while, the Bowie Maryland native entertained thoughts of becoming a vocalist, but when his voice changed, he shifted his focus to playing piano & organ. Gregg played in a variety of R&B bands before hearing Dave Brubeck's Take Five and Jazz Samba from Stan Getz. These ignited his interest in jazz and it wasn't too much later that he turned to the recordings of Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and Bill Evans. The latter of these together with Les McCann, George Duke, Joe Sample, and perhaps a few others were among his biggest influences.

Photo:Promo Shot
Karukas was only 17 and right out of high school when he found his way into the jazz clubs and studios of the Washington, DC - Baltimore area as a member of East Coast Offering. He had declined an invitation to attend the Berklee School of Music, preferring instead to pay his dues. In time, that band grew to become the city's top crossover act. After five years with the group, Gregg left to form Natural Bridge, and in that capacity he opened shows at the Cellar Door for a few of the top artists of the day, such as Larry Carlton & Jeff Lorber. In 1983, Karukas headed west to LA since that afforded the possibility of many more artist with which he could play. Thanks to a recommendation by Russell Ferrante (whom he'd met years earlier while playing at the Cellar Door), Karukas was soon performing with the likes of Patti Austin, Richard Elliot, Grant Geissman, & others. Dave Koz, Gary Meek and Boney James, were among the first young & undiscovered sax talents to join his group. Gregg released his solo debut in 1987 and later that same year, he took part in the very first Rippingtons project.

In the period since, Karukas has firmly established a reputation as a masterful musician and his melodic & tasteful arrangements have become well-known throughout the smooth jazz arena. He's released ten well-received albums, (a total which includes one seasonal release), he's scored a pair of #1 hits and he's long been a favourite here at The Café. As such, it is with the utmost pleasure that on this occasion we are featuring tracks from all of Gregg's releases exclusive of his holiday album. We've broken our presentation into three parts. First up are Alena, City of Hope, and Para Los Ninos, which represent Gregg's earliest work. Eric Marienthal on sax and the guitar of Ricardo Silveira light up the third of these three tracks. Next up are My Best Friend, with Boney James and Barracuda Bob, with Marienthal again and Michael O'Neill on guitar. The closing set includes Azure Dreaming, Nightshift, Too Hot (to be Cool), and finally Relentless from his present album. Featured guests on those tracks are Peter White, and Michael O'Neill; in O'Neill's case he's the man on each of the final three. Terrific guests & fantastic playing, make this Then & Now feature a must hear!

Site: Gregg Karukas

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