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This Week at Café

October 8th, 2006
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This Week at!
...Alan Hewitt steps in the spotlight with Metropolis and a cd that will ultimately be one of the best smooth jazz releases for the year! Hour two brings another fine batch of new-never-before-been-played-on-our-show music on Fresh Trax - today's line-up is outstanding; highlights are courtesy of Boney James, Lee Ritenour, and Jay Rowe; Urban Jazz Coalition out of Columbus Ohio is on the show, while the project known as Briza rounds it out. Also appearing as part of a powerhouse line-up are Pamela Williams, Brian Hughes, Michael Franks, Herb Alpert, Avenue Blue, Four80East, Danny Jung, and Peter White while Torcuato Mariano, Gregg Karukas, Greg Adams, and Matt Marshak fill the bill with current favourites!
In This Issue:

Metropolis - Alan Hewitt

True Love - Urban Jazz Coalition
The Total Experience - Boney James
Splashdown - Briza
The End of Summer - Jay Rowe
Motherland - Lee Ritenour

Then & Now - Fourplay
SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
Metropolis - Alan Hewitt:

Flash, Alan Hewitt has a new release! Hewitt's Noche de Pasion cracked our in house most played list in 2004. While making the Café Jazz top 10 favourites in several categories, Alan was voted the top breakthru artist for the year. Metropolis is now Hewitt's second smooth jazz project and with it, the award-winning composer is poised for his greatest success! Hewitt began playing drums at 10 but by the age of twelve, the northern Michigan native was already playing with the best musicians the area had to offer. He went off to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music and while there, took up piano and keyboards. After touring with several groups, he landed a record deal, while also producing projects for several label mates.In the period since, Hewitt has issued a handful of well received releases but for the most part, he's devoted his career to backing a variety of artists from Earth Wind & Fire to Donnie Osmond.

He's also achieved recognition as a composer for film & TV; several scores have been award-winners. His credits include music for The Osbournes, World News Now, Entertainment Tonight, and Oprah among many others. Now building on the success of Noche de Pasion, our #3 most played cd in 2004, Hewitt has issued Metropolis, an awesome album and arguably his finest effort to date. There's vibrancy to this project and a flow that literally takes you away! The production is first-rate; the musicianship is unsurpassed, while the compositions lend ample support to the fact that Hewitt is an award-winner. Therefore, it's with great pleasure that we showcase Metropolis on today's program; as usual, we have a trio of selections that I know you're gonna love!
At the Keys
To begin, we featuring a two-for-one, exactly the way you'll hear it on the record, the album's opening track, a short introductory piece entitled Vibe that effortlessly segues into Joyride, the album's first single with Gerald Spikes on sax. Hewitt's own delicate touch, never forced or hurried, highlights the satiny Velvet Kisses to open hour 2, while Soleil closes the segment. The album's final track spotlights deft interplay from Hewitt on piano and from Steve Oliver on guitar. Don't pass this one up! Metropolis is not only one of the best smooth jazz releases for the year, it's one the finest to come along in several years!

CD: Metropolis (2006)
Label: 215 Records
Site: Alan Hewitt

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Fresh Trax: Part One
True Love - Urban Jazz Coalition:
Urban Jazz Coalition, a seven-piece ensemble based in Columbus Ohio, is quickly turning into one of the most exciting "big bands" in contemporary jazz. Within the past eight years, "The Coalition" has performed over 750 live dates opening for some of the biggest names in the biz. They first broke onto the Smooth Jazz scene with the release of Into the Night, their sophomore album, a few years back. The project presented a fresh mix of styles that made many new fans for the group on both the national level in the U.S. and internationally. Down To Get Up is the latest and fifth album overall. From that effort, we're pleased to present True Love, a great track that was co-written by smooth jazz guitarist NILS and bassist Phil Raney. Since March of this past year, the UJC rhythm section has been backing NILS on his mid-western U.S. Now NILS returns the favour by guesting on the selection!

CD: Down To Get Up (2006)
Label: Major 6th
Site: Urban Jazz Coalition
The Total Experience - Boney James:
He was born James Allen Oppenheim but today he's known to millions as Boney James. For a time early in his career Boney was having difficulty making ends meet; so rather than spending his per diem on meals, he saved it to pay the rent. Times have changed as with 4 gold records, Boney is one of the most popular artists in the genre but the nickname has stuck. Now well into his career the latest release is titled Shine, it's his eight album, tenth overall if you consider his seasonal album and the cd that he recorded with Rick Braun, a few years back. In any event, from Shine we have The Total Experience the first single featuring George Duke!

CD: Shine (2006)
Label: Concord
Site: Boney James

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Splashdown - Briza:
The project Briza unites David Arkenstone and Nicholas Gunn, two top names in the world of new age music. Hailing from Chicago, Arkenstone moved to California at age ten where he immersed himself in music. He played keyboards and guitar in a variety of bands and for a time after college, he criss-crossed the country playing the pop sounds of the day. As the synergy between computers and instruments increased, Arkenstone turned to creating his own sound, bringing together influences from World music, classical rock, and new age while incorporating many of the best elements from the "electronic world". Arkenstone has recorded nearly 20 albums and recently, his music was described as "Cinematic new age rock".

For his part, the British-born Gunn was classically trained, having studied at the prestigious Royal School of Music. His family relocated to Southern California when Gunn was in his teens and it was there that he played flute in concert bands and wind ensembles while learning drums and percussion for the marching band. Gunn's debut record released in the early 90s, proved a bestseller with many subsequent releases reaching the Top Ten on Billboard's New Age charts. Reputed to be one of the world's best selling flutists, Gunn has now recorded over a dozen albums and heads the Gemini Sun Records label. From Ambient Café, their debut as Briza, we have David Arkenstone & Nicholas Gunn and the soothing sounds of Splashdown!

CD: Ambient Café (2006)
Label: Gemini Sun
Site: Arkenstone ; Gunn
The End of Summer - Jay Rowe:
Keyboardist Jay Rowe hails from Milford Connecticut. For the past 10 years, he's recorded or appeared with many top smooth jazzers such as Marion Meadows, Chieli Minucci, and Nelson Rangell, while also playing with his own band. He's performed at a variety of festivals and opened for the likes of David Benoit, The Rippingtons, and Jeff Lorber. Well regarded as a soloist in his own right, Rowe has three previous releases to his credit upon which he's demonstrated many creative flashes. Noted for the melodic nature of his phrasing, Rowe has taken his music to a new level with his latest cd produced by Ken Navarro; over the years, the two have frequently worked together on Navarro's projects as well as on Rowe's own 1997 Jay Walking release. Entitled Red, Hot and Smooth, Rowe's originality is always at the forefront. From that release, we have a tune to which Navarro contributes some of his always-tasty guitar playing. The End of Summer is a pretty piece and an album highlight!

CD: Red, Hot & Smooth (2006)
Label: Independent
Site: Jay Rowe
Motherland - Lee Ritenour :
Lee Ritenour's latest cd was inspired by a trip to South Africa in 2005, where he performed five concerts at festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Ever the innovator, the new release is unlike any other in the legendary guitarist's three decade, nearly 40-album career. Ritenour explains, "The concept for the album came from a lot of different sources, all of which coalesced with my trip to South Africa. I'd been getting letters for years asking me to come and perform there. I did a lot of touring throughout the U.S., Asia, and Europe during 2005, and everything timed nicely for me to play in Cape Town and Johannesburg in late August after my Western European dates. While the festivals there included some American acts, I was more excited by the native African players and some of the most intoxicating percussion and rhythm guitar playing I'd ever heard. Over the years, I have become more and more attracted to African music, and this trip solidified that connection for me."

On the record, Ritenour worked with musicians from around the world, from South Africa, Cameroon-West Africa, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and India, while also joining him are some of America's top jazz musicians. An album highlight is Motherland, a fusion-flavoured track that, although it takes a more polyrhythmic approach, harkens back to some of Ritenour's finest earlier efforts!

CD: Smoke 'n' Mirrors (2006)
Label: Peak Records.
Site: Lee Ritenour

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition, we've limited our new-never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks to just a handful as the rest of the segment is devoted to Fourplay. We have some of their sounds past & present, 9 selections and nearly 50 minutes of uninterrupted music, as the four who play step into the spotlight on Then & Now. So, if you're a fan of one of the few super-groups in smooth jazz, you'll want to stay with us for that and that's coming up about 15 minutes into the segment. To take us thru, our opening set has more from Patrick Yandall and Vince Madison; new to the show is David Wells while Gil Parris launches the smooth grooves!
Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Fourplay

Warner Bros.
Between the Sheets
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Best of Fourplay
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Yes Please!
Warner Bros.

Fourplay: It was back in 1990, during the recording of Bob James' Grand Piano Canyon album that James reunited with an old friend, drummer Harvey Mason and first worked with guitarist Lee Ritenour and bassist Nathan East. These sessions proved to be the genesis of Fourplay. Their debut album recorded the following year, spent an unprecedented 33 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. Subsequent releases also faired well, but after three albums and a best of release, Ritenour chose to leave, as he couldn't juggle the time requirements of a solo career, establishing his own record label, and being a fulltime band member. This could easily have spelled the end for the band that had become the most successful group in contemporary jazz had it not been for Larry Carlton!

Photo: Promo Shot
Out of any guitarist Fourplay might have considered for the job, Carlton was their first choice and perhaps the only one capable of sliding effortlessly into the guitar chair vacated by Ritenour. Carleton debuted as a member of Fourplay in 1998 on the album 4, and they've gone on to record four more albums, five if one considers Snowbound, their fine 1999 seasonal release.
With nine releases in their catalogue, the release of a tenth album suitably entitled X, provides the perfect opportunity of spotlighting some of the music, past and present, for the only super-group in smooth jazz! I'm certain there's been a breach of some sort of broadcast protocol here, but we're setting our own course, nine tracks without any interruption whatsoever. In order, the selections are Max-O-Man, Monterey, Play Lady Play, 4 Play and Pleasure (each with Ritenour); while Carleton takes over on Rio Rush, Blues Force, Rollin', Fields of Gold, and Cinnamon Sugar. You may notice that we purposely omitted some hits, opting instead for a few lesser-known tracks. Again, this may be a bit out of the norm, but as far as we're concerned, these represent many of Fourplay's finest moments!

Site: Fourplay ; Bob James ; Nathan East ; Larry Carlton ; Harvey Mason
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