Presentation - The Very Best of Cafe Jazz
A little fanfare please! We're hitting a bit of a milestone with this our 400th program and so we're celebrating with another Very Best of Café Jazz to mark the occasion. We do one of these specials every 50 shows or so and each time out it's a totally unique experience. If you enjoy the regular Back Trax segment then you'll love this program as for the most part it's a two hour extended version of Back Trax chock full of past favourites. We've slotted Brian Culbertson, The Jazzmasters, and Paul Taylor. There's music Steve Oliver and Vince Mai. We'll hear from Shades of Soul, Nura and Allon Sams as well a wonderful piece by De-Phazz. Marc Antoine, Tom Grant, & Marion Meadows are all on this show, and also appearing are Rick Braun, Peter White and Helios. We're pulling out all the stops, so get ready for a radio show like no other and a sampling of our absolute finest!
| Highlights Hour One
Here We Go - Brian Hughes:
Most likely Vegreville Alberta's most famous gift to the world of music, Brian Hughes is readily acknowledged as a highly versatile guitarist with a sound & style all his own. He's also one of only a handful of Canadian Smooth Jazz artists who's developed an international presence. When Brian was only about four, his family moved to nearby Edmonton, and that was where Hughes grew up while visualizing himself playing onstage from an early age. As a teen, he absorbed all the pop of the day while copying the licks of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. However, a job working in a record store exposed Hughes to a wide array of music so that by the time he turned 18, he'd been bitten by the jazz bug. In that respect Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, were huge influences.
|Nonetheless, Hughes' career path didn't veer
completely toward music until a short while later. He was taking an Economics
program at the University of Alberta when a summer course brought him
to the Grant MacKewan School of Music. This proved pivotal. He enrolled
there full time and followed that with a course of studies at the renowned
Banff School of Fine Arts. In 1981, Hughes temporarily relocated to Los
Angeles where he studied at the Guitar Institute. In 1987, he returned
to Canada making Toronto his base. Not long afterward, he connected with
Loreena McKennitt, another product of the prairies, with whom he recorded
extensively, also accompanying McKennitt on several of her tours. In any
event, a demo tape led to a record deal with Justin Time and after a pair
of projects with the Canadian label, Hughes won a competition that led
to a US deal. It's One 2 One, the second release in that series that's
our focal point. The album exhibited Brian's always-appealing mix of styles
that included jazz, Latin, pop and more. From that release which represents
some of his most diverse & creative tracks we've selected one of our all
CD: One 2 One (1998)
Label: Sylvan House/Higher Octave
Site: Brian Hughes
Charity in Adoration - China Crisis:
China Crisis began as a duo, Gary Daly on vocals and keys and Eddie Lundon on guitar and vocals. They joined forces in Liverpool in 1979, but didn't release any material until 1982, a single that made the British charts. Its success prompted the formation of a proper band for the recording of their debut album. They scored another hit with that release & their subsequent project, but abandoned their synth based pop sound for their third album, Flaunt the Imperfections, when they connected with Steely Dan's Walter Becker. This affiliation brought new polish to their sound and together with quirky yet intelligent lyrics, always one of their hallmarks; China Crisis rose to a new level of creativity.
They reunited with Becker in 1989 for Diary of a Hollow Horse, which earned critical raves although it didn't enjoy a corresponding degree of commercial success. Nevertheless, the album included some of the group's most complex and satisfying material. From that release we've selected Sweet Charity in Adoration, a track that is remarkable for both its musical and emotional complexity. It's highlighted by a wonderful performance on flute from Jim Horn and features outstanding lyrics & production that saw China Crisis at the absolute peak of their artistry.
CD: Diary Of A Hollow Horse (1989)
Label: Virgin Records
I Think Of You - Everette Harp:
Everette Harp was raised the youngest of eight children in Houston Texas. He started piano at two and then picked up the sax at the four. Since his father was a minister, gospel music understandably became one of Harp's earliest influences; that and the jazz greats that he discovered while in high school. For a short time after graduating from North Texas State with a major in music, Everette worked as an accountant before choosing to pursue a career in music. He played in a few local bands and picked up a bit of studio jingle work before moving to Los Angeles in 1988. There his career as a sideman took off. He briefly gigged with Teena Marie and then toured internationally with Anita Baker for several years. Finally, in 1992, Harp released his self-titled debut, which led to the successful launch of his solo career, due in no small part to the track that we've selected for this occasion. Definitely one of Harp's all time best!
CD: Everette Harp (1992)
Site: Everette Harp
|Highlights Hour Two
Before - Walter Duda:
Walter Duda hails from Bridgeport Connecticut and surprisingly he was already in college before he started in music. Upon graduation from The University of Detroit with a BA, Duda became a foreign language teacher. He was pursuing a Master's degree in humanities, when in a moment of self-realization; he discovered that music was the language that was his passion. Although guitar was his first instrument, the works of Brian Auger and George Duke inspired Duda to switch to piano. His first recorded effort placed him as a finalist in a nationwide contest sponsored by the Berklee College of Music. This led to a variety of sessions and to the release of his first cd, which became the initial release on the World Alert Records label. DayLight Again was his follow up project which received achieved air play throughout the USA, in Canada, Europe, Brazil, Australia and Japan and of course on our own program. From that effort, we have Fooled Before, a tune on which Duda displays his ample talents as both a keyboardist & vocalist. It's long been a favourite; so it's with great pleasure that we include Fooled Before on this very best of edition.
CD: DayLight Again (1997)
Label: World Alert Records
Site: Walter Duda
Cafe - Wayne Henderson and The Next Crusade:
The story more or less begins in Houston Texas, in the mid 50s. It was during this period that Wayne Henderson played regularly with Wilton Felder, Joe Sample, & Stix Hooper. Hubert Laws & Henry Wilson rounded out the combo, then known as the Modern Jazz Sextet. By 1961, after changing a couple of personnel, the group moved to Los Angeles & began performing as The Jazz Crusaders. They became renowned for their distinctive front line, one that featured the duelling sounds of Henderson's trombone & Felder's tenor sax as well as for their gritty style of hard bop. In 1971, the group dropped jazz from their name. This change signalled a shift of sorts to a more R&B-oriented style. With the addition of Larry Carlton, the band reached unprecedented popularity as they recorded two superb cds. It was precisely in between these releases that Henderson chose to leave the group.
|Although he'd put together a pair of projects in the 60s
for a nine-piece group called Freedom Sounds, it wasn't until In 1977,
that Henderson released his solo debut. Several subsequent projects followed,
including a pair of collaborations with vibraphonist Roy Ayers. Shortly
after Henderson launched At Home Productions, his own label that went
on to house Ronnie Laws, Bobby Lyle, Michael White, Ramsey Lewis, and
Narada Michael Walden among others; and that became his focus. However,
in the early 90s Henderson & Felder reunited for a pair of projects backed
by an all-star cast of players teasingly dubbed The Next Crusade. From
1992's Back to the Groove which was the first of these we have Rosa Café
nicely highlighted by Wayne's full fat trombone work. Also featured are
Wilton Felder on sax, keyboardist Rob Mullins, and guitarist Dwight Sills.
They just don't make 'em like this anymore; over six minutes of highly
CD: Back To The Groove (1992)
Label: PAR Records
In Your Eyes - Ephraim Lewis:
Ephraim Lewis was a highly talented young UK vocalist with an extremely promising career. He was born the youngest of eight siblings and was raised in a strict gospel environment. The children were all quite musical and their talent was channelled into the Lewis Five, a creation of their father, for which Ephraim was the lead singer. Following the death of his mother when he was only 16, Ephraim moved out on his own and eventually ended up in London where he hoped to make it in the music business. In 1990, he met up with Kevin Bacon and Jonathan Quarmby, a pair of small independent producers. The partnership led to a deal with Elektra in 1991 and the recording of Skin, which was released in North America in 1992. In spite of a huge promotional effort and a degree of critical acclaim, sales were only modest.
However, wanting a more commercial product, Elektra company execs sent Lewis to LA in early 1994, to work with composer Glen Ballard who had written a string of hits for several top pop stars, among them Michael Jackson. The trip proved to be a fateful one for Lewis, as he never returned. For a detailed account of the mysterious circumstances surrounding Lewis's tragic death, please use the accompanying link to visit the unofficial Ephraim Lewis fan site. In any event, Lewis was just 26 at the time of his demise and Skin regrettably remained the one and only commercially available album that he ever recorded. From that release, we have a selection that stands out as one of the most exquisite ballads of the 90s!
CD: Skin (1992)
Site: Ephraim Lewis
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site:
On After Hours we continue with our Very Best of edition, this portion being exclusive to our web site. Any of the 14 selections that are featured could easily have been included as part of our two-hour radio program. For that matter, the entire special could have easily mushroomed to many more hours. In any event, at least this gives us the opportunity to share a few more of our best tracks with you because, you deserve only the best. In this segment, we're hitting on a couple of tracks that have been featured on Back Trax in the last few episodes of show; we have Grant Geissman, Bernard Oattes, and Norman Brown. Then thrown into the mix are Dave Grusin, our favourite lady of sax Pamela Williams, and David Lanz. The remainder of the lineup includes The V.I.P. Club, Terry Disley, Ronnie Laws, Michael Paulo, Freddie Ravel, and Chris Rea, as well as a tune from David Arkenstone & Tim Weisberg. If there's just one program that you listen to in the entire year, this should be it!