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

May 28th, 2006
Edition #408 Previously Next

For a radio show that's always innovative and fresh try Café Jazz. This time we're spotlighting Hip Space from Main Gazane. Then, it's time for another leisurely stroll down memory lane with a stupendous five pack on the Back Trax feature. This time we've included Blue Knights, Roger Odell's Beatifik, Jeff Golub, The Crusaders, & Wayman Tisdale. We have Matt Marshak, Nick Colionne, Spyro Gyra, Pieces of a Dream, Pamela Williams, Steve Briody, & Black Gold Massive. Slipped in are a couple of other past favourites from Acoustic Alchemy, Bryan Savage, Shikandaza and Grady Nichols; only Café Jazz unique by design!
In This Issue:

Hip Space - Main Gazane

Blue Night - Blue Knights
Free As The Wind - The Crusaders
The Velvet Touch - Jeff Golub
Coastal Route - Roger Odell's Beatifik
Brazilia - Wayman Tisdale

Then & Now - Gene Dunlap

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Showcase CD
Hip Space - Main Gazane:
In the jazz parlance, Main Gazane means main man or main thing and that's most likely why Mark Minchello and Bob Magnuson chose the name for their band. Their association goes back to the mid 80s when they first signed a deal and recorded their debut. The New York radio station they were counting on for support changed formats right about that time and subsequently their label folded. While, Bob and Mark continued to play together, in time they went their separate ways. Minchello toured with Luther Vandross and went on to serve as Regina Belle's musical director. Recently he performed in a dual capacity as musical director & keyboardist for Jazz Explosion with Boney James, Will Downing, & Gerald Albright. Meanwhile saxman Magnuson became a staple on the NYC studio scene; he recorded countless commercials for radio and TV and contributed to the recordings of Patti Austin, Whitney Houston, B.B. King, & others.

Not too long ago, Minchello and Magnuson discovered they were living within miles of one another and it was only a matter of time before their musical affinity would bring them back together. This culminated in Hip Space their new release and their reunion project. The album spans many styles. Filtered thru their collective experiences are R&B, Brazilian, Electronica, and Funk; the resulting amalgam representing a fresh approach to Contemporary Jazz. Suffice to say, the name Hip Space nicely captures the climate created by their sound and it's indeed with pleasure we place Main Gazane and Hip Space in our spotlight.
Photo Courtesy of Main Gazane Site
As usual we have a trio of tracks that represent some of the best the album has to offer, I know you're gonna love'em all. So to begin, we're featuring Minchello and Magnuson and their cover of Naima, the John Coltrane classic. The moody Three Again creates a cool and relaxed atmosphere at the start of hour 2 while the exceptional hip It Won't Last Forever completes our musical excursion in that very hip space created by Main Gazane!!

CD: Hip Space
Label: Apria Records
Site: Main Gazane

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Back Trax: Part One
Blue Night - Blue Knights :
Germany's Blue Knights, composed of Curtis McLaw and Jay Heye (real name Jan Erchinger), was one of three McLaw led projects to be part of the contemporary scene in the 90s. The others, Dancing Fantasy and Colors in Motion, traversed similar styles and even shared some of the same cast of supporting players. Blue Knights was inspired by the lively world of fashion and featured light jazz piano, simple, yet beautiful melodies and rich layers of sound. In all, there were five releases in the Blue Knights series. Nonetheless, it's a tune from their debut that remains as their most identifiable. From the 1992 Blue Night release, we have the steamy title track!

CD: Blue Night (1992)
Label: Innovative Communication
Free As The Wind - The Crusaders:
The Crusaders' story begins in Houston Texas, in about 1954. It was around the time that Joe Sample teamed up with Wilton Felder & Stix Hooper, a couple of high school friends, and they started playing together. Wayne Henderson joined them shortly thereafter and with Hubert Laws & Henry Wilson rounding out the combo, they called themselves the Modern Jazz Sextet. In 1961, after a few personnel changes, the group moved to Los Angeles, and began playing as The Jazz Crusaders. They attracted immediate attention for their gritty style of hard bop and for their distinctive front line that featured Henderson's trombone duelling with the sounds of Felder's tenor sax. By 1971, the group had dropped jazz from their name, a change that signalled a shift to a more R&B-oriented style. With the addition of Larry Carlton, even though it was only a part time basis, all the pieces were in place. Carlton became a full-fledged member in 1973, and with the 1975 release of Those Southern Knights, the Crusaders reached unprecedented heights of popularity. It was just then that Henderson left the band. Nevertheless, they recorded Free As The Wind the following year. This final album with Carlton in the guitar chair was perhaps their finest effort and a landmark release in the history of the fusion based jazz of the 70s. From that effort we have the title track!

CD: Free As The Wind (1977)
Label: MCA Records
Site: L.Carlton

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Back Trax: Part Two
The Velvet Touch - Jeff Golub:
After attending Berklee in Boston, the Akron Ohio native relocated to NYC where he established himself as a top sessionist and sideman backing Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, & others. In 1988, Golub joined Rod Stewart's band and that same year released Unspoken Words, his hard to find debut. However, it wasn't until 1994 and while he was still touring with Stewart, that Golub again stepped out as a leader. The result was the first of his critically acclaimed Avenue Blue projects, which for the most part show cased Jeff's somewhat prodigious talents as a guitarist. After three such efforts, the demand was there for Golub to not only record as the front man but to display his name more prominently, most likely for the increased exposure that would provide for personal touring. Consequently, Jeff released Out Of The Blue as his 'second solo debut'. From that effort, Golub displays his deft touch on the aptly titled The Velvet Touch!

CD: Out Of The Blue (1999)
Label: Atlantic
Site: Jeff Golub
Coastal Route - Roger Odell's Beatifik:
Roger Odell, the man behind Beatifik, is best known for his longstanding work with the British combo Shakatak. Odell was one of the founding members of the group back in the early 80s. As drummer & percussionist, Odell has over the years, been an integral to the band's success, providing the rhythm & groove that have become hallmarks of their sound. In addition, Odell and keyboardist Bill Sharpe formed a solid writing team that penned a number of their finest compositions. Shakatak have continued to record thruout the years; even as band members have taken turns on a variety of solo concerns.

A case in point is Odell's 2000 project released as Beatifik, the name being a play on the term beatific meaning possessing, or imparting beatitude or a state of utmost bliss. The endeavour to a certain extent was a family affair as in addition to some key players on the British scene, Odell recruited wife Larraine for vocals and son Jamie for keys. From The Blue Window, we have a track which made our best of review for that year, the totally blissful Coastal Route!

CD: The Blue Window (2000)
Label: Passion Jazz
Site: Roger Odell's Drumatak
Brazilia - Wayman Tisdale:
Tisdale enjoyed great success in his first career as a basketball player. He was an Olympic Gold medalist in 1984, an All-American at the University of Oklahoma, and the No.2 pick in the 1986 NBA draft. The 6 foot 9 inch forward played 12 seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns and appeared as an all-star on several occasions. However, as his NBA career began to wind down, another began to shift into a higher gear. In 1995, Tisdale signed with MoJazz. His debut released later that same year went to No. 4 on Billboard's contemporary jazz charts. While subsequent releases also faired well, it was Tisdale's fourth release, 2001's Face to Face that made it all the way to #1. From that excellent effort, David Mann and Barry Danielian help on Brazilia, one of Tisdale's finest selections and an enduring favourite!

CD: Face to Face (2001)
Label: Atlantic
Site: Wayman Tisdale

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
After Hours is where exceptional music is the rule! As part of our mission, we strive to deliver a unique and highly enjoyable experience. It's true our show may not be for everyone, but then again we really don't try to please everyone. However, if you're a discerning listener and passionate about what finds it's way into your ears, your heart, and your soul, then give us a try. On this edition Gene Dunlap past and present is in our spotlight on Then & Now; we have tracks from four of Gene's more recent releases. Apart from that, fresh sounds take over, as all remaining selections are new-never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks, 11 in all. Our line-up includes Ultrablue, Ron Boustead, Jeffery B. Suttles, Nelson Rangell, Philippe Saisse, and Gerald Albright. Also featured is our first early listen to Dressed to Chill from Marion meadows and that's just a bit later in the show. We're checking out the latest from Otis Hayes III, Jill Jenson, and David Boswell; that's an exciting release from Boswell that actually falls outside of the smooth genre but nonetheless we've reserved a fantastic track from that as the closing one for our program. In the meantime, Steve Oliver gets us going. From Radiant, Reach the Sky gets great grooves going on AH!
Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Gene Dunlap

Groove With You
Avenue Jazz

Tales of the Phatman
Avenue Jazz

I Still Believe
Liquid 8

Peaceful Days
215 Records

Gene Dunlap: Long a Café Jazz favourite, Gene Dunlap's solo career dates all the way to the early 80s and includes three albums from that period. However, we've chosen to focus on the latter half of Dunlap's solo exploits. A Detroit native, Dunlap began in music when his father taught him how to play drums at the age of four. During his high school years, he connected with guitarist Earl Klugh and as part of the Earl Klugh Trio; they performed in a variety of local clubs. Stints with Grant Green and Roy Ayers followed before Dunlap talents earned him a record deal in the early 80s; subsequently he issued three solo albums primarily within the sphere of soul and dance. Afterwards, he reunited with Klugh, in all their partnership has endured over 20 years and Gene has collaborated on 10 Klugh releases. Meanwhile Dunlap also added percussion, guitar, synthesizer, and composing to his repertoire.

Photo: Promo Shot
In addition to his work with Earl Klugh, Dunlap toured and recorded with Ronnie Laws, Hubert Laws, George Benson, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bob James, Bobby Lyle, Marcus Miller, George Duke and Patrice Rushen among others. In 1994, Dunlap resumed his solo career as leader of The Gene Dunlap Band and Groove with You, it's right about here that we jumped on the Dunlap "band wagon" so to speak! Bolstered by the guitar work of Perry Hughes and the sax playing of Ray Manzerolle, the album represented some of the finest in musical creative expression! However, despite the success of the effort, shortly after its release, Dunlap gave up performing to teach Detroit's inner city youth. After a lengthy absence, Dunlap returned to the studio in 2000 and released Tales of the Phatman. Fortunate for all contemporary jazz and smooth R&B fans, two more outstanding releases have followed and allowed us to do what we do as we place Gene Dunlap, past and present, in our Then & Now spotlight.

To begin we zip back to 1994 for It's Over with the aforementioned Messrs Hughes and Manzerolle contributing to the track and then things take off from there! Next up is As We Grow, with Rayse Biggs on flugelhorn. It's start is deceptively low key, that is until Perry Hughes chips in with a fantastic up tempo groove! That's followed by five full minutes of musical ecstasy. That's Alexander Zonjic featured on flute on For A Little While, an incredible piece and one of the most beautiful we've had the pleasure to play here at The Café. Ray Manzerolle, Hughes again, Pat Prouty on bass and Charles Scales on keys round out the lineup. All is under the watchful eye of Gene himself who handles drums, programming, and production duties. Now you really can't get much smoother than this! Finally, from the latest release we didn't have to look beyond the opening selection as the perfect choice for our finale, we have Fairway. The tune is dedicated to Tiger Woods and without sounding as if I'm going too much overboard, this is just one fabulous, fabulous track! The soloing by Manzerolle is exceptional, some gorgeous keyboard work from Charles Scales and an irresistible rhythmic groove generated by the man himself make this track a highlight! Thus ends one of our finest features and our mini-tribute to Gene Dunlap, a musician of artistic integrity and no doubt one of the best-kept secrets in contemporary jazz!

Site: Dunlap/Soul Walking

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