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This Week at Café

October 22nd, 2006
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The excitement continues to build with another spectacular program. On this edition, we're spotlighting Samoa Soul, the latest from long-time Café Jazz favourite Patrick Yandall; now it's impossible to go wrong with a PY release! As we wend our way down memory lane, hour 2 brings more Back Trax; this batch of golden oldies includes: Jay Beckenstein, Bobby Caldwell, and Steve Oliver as well as Sam Cardon and Frank Mills.

Apart from that, there's our usual smattering of favourites, past, present, and in the making, from Pamela Williams, Ray Garand, Doc Powell, Michael Lington, Janita, Matt Marshak, Kuh, George Michael, Marion Meadows, and Lisa Hilton as Café Jazz boldly goes where no radio program has gone before!
In This Issue:

Samoa Soul - Patrick Yandall

I Wish - Sam Cardon
Rina - Bobby Caldwell
Sunrise - Jay Beckenstein
Heart of the City - Frank Mills
One Wish - Steve Oliver

Then & Now - Peter White
SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
Samoa Soul - Patrick Yandall:

Being the son of a jazz musician and a long time spent recuperating from a broken hip, led Patrick Yandall to try trumpet and guitar at the age of six. Guitar won out with George Benson and Wes Montgomery becoming major influences. Equally adept at progressive rock and the more complex idiom of jazz, the native of Bay City, Michigan was playing in underage clubs by his early teens. In the late 70s, Yandall wound up touring with the fusion group Clockwork for two years, before returning to school to study music. Based on a summer symposium at Berklee and his admiration for the stylings of Jeff Lorber, Yandall followed a musical path primarily based in jazz. In the early 80s, he moved to San Diego, but briefly went back east to attend Central Michigan University. Later, Yandall hooked up with Devotion, an Earth, Wind & Fire type band that boasted a five-piece horn section while establishing himself as a sessionist and performer in both L.A. and San Diego.

Having launched his solo career all the way back in 1992, Yandall has recently transformed into a mini musical juggernaut. While his output has been nothing short of prolific, the "axe man" from San Diego has also taken his creativity to new heights, in particular, 2003's From the Ashes and 2005's Eyes of Mars, stand out. Both were featured on past showcase segments while each appeared on our own in house list of most played albums for their respective years. PY is now poised to three-peat with Samoa Soul, his latest release, his seventh overall, and the focus for yet another showcase feature, perhaps our best yet as far as Mr. Yandall is concerned! As is our custom, we've selected three tasty tracks representing some of the album's finest moments and we're set to share those with you, I just know you're gonna love'em all!
Photo Courtesy of
To begin, there's the sure-fire intensified groove of the title track. The radiant emotion of Passion Avenue opens hour 2, while the refined hipness of The Beat Generation completes the feature! Not to be over looked of course is that Yandall not only composed nearly all the selections, he engineered and produced the disc! As well, there is the utterly amazing detail that apart from some spot duty on a couple of selections Patrick almost single-handedly handles all the instrumentation! Naturally, this begs the question, "Will Mr. Yandall three-peat in so far as our list is concerned?" Although too early to answer conclusively, there is one thing of which we're certain; there is more to this album than just music. Patrick Yandall's Samoa Soul is not only packed with integrity and laced with emotion; it's also a revealing glimpse into the man & the musician!

CD: Samoa Soul
Label: Zangi Records
Site: Patrick Yandall

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Back Trax: Part One
I Wish - Sam Cardon:
Sam Cardon is an EMMY winning pianist and composer whose credits include soundtracks for 9 feature films including Lewis and Clark, Mysteries of Egypt, and Building the Dream at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. In addition, he's written or co-written themes for National Geographic Explorer and Good Morning America while providing original scores for the Olympic Games in Calgary and Salt Lake City. Meanwhile he's also recorded a series of albums in pop, world music and jazz; naturally it's his efforts in jazz which most attracted our attention and today we're revisiting one of his finest.

CD: Digability (2000)
Label: Treble V
Site: Sam Cardon
Rina - Bobby Caldwell:
Tracing a career that stretches back over 25 years, Caldwell is an acclaimed & versatile stylists who has enjoyed a strong and loyal following in the USA while achieving super-star status in Japan. Born in Manhattan, Bobby came from a show biz family. His mother and father both sang and hosted one of the first variety shows in the early days of television. Caldwell grew up listening to show tunes and the music of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, influences that are still prevalent in his music.

Admittedly, Caldwell's first forays as a performer were a bit rebellious, as he covered selections from Hendrix and Cream. There was a two-year stint as lead guitarist for Little Richard and an album entitled Kathmandu, but enjoying little success, Caldwell retreated to his parents' home, now in Miami. Retuning his focus, Caldwell turned to a blend of jazz and R&B; the result was his 1978 breakthru release What You Won't Do For Love. Over the years, Caldwell continued to develop his artistry, in time becoming firmly entrenched as a staple artist in the smooth jazz format. On this occasion, we're heading back to 1993 and a Caldwell classic. From Where is Love, we have a track entitled Rina he had written for his wife.

CD: Where Is Love (1993)
Label: Sin-Drome Records
Site: Bobby Caldwell

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Back Trax: Part Two
Sunrise - Jay Beckenstein:
Over the course of their thirty plus year history, the band Spyro Gyra has been (and continues to be) one of the main constants in contemporary instrumental music. Anchored by Jay Beckenstein's emotive sax work the band has delivered albums at a nearly annual rate. Although it was a long-held thought, it was only in the year 2000 that the proper combination of circumstances finally allowed Beckenstein to deliver Eye Contact, his own highly anticipated solo debut. The project gave Beckenstein the opportunity to hook up with and learn from other great musicians, to go beyond the expected, to explore new and diverse musical paths, and as Beckenstein puts it, "to grow as an artist". While Beckenstein remains committed to his leadership in the ensemble, the project did provide a unique creative opportunity and a high water mark for the genre as Beckenstein's soprano swirls around Chieli Minucci's acoustic lines on the album's opening track!

CD: Eye Contact (2000)
Label: Windham Hill Jazz
Site: Spyro Gyra
Heart of the City - Frank Mills:
After attending McGill University, Montreal-born Frank Mills began his career as a member of The Bells; their 1971 single "Stay A While" reaching #1 in the US and Canada. He left shortly after and although he enjoyed some modest success with his solo debut, his follow up project lay dormant for several years due to the bankruptcy of the record label. In 1976, Polydor records, leased the album while releasing a single for airplay - that was back in the days of vinyl and 45's. The flip side of the single contained a piano track titled Music Box Dancer that subsequently reached Number 1 in 26 countries, resulting in the re-release of the album and sales of over two million copies. In spite a catalogue of 28 projects, many of which were easy listening, light instrumental, or seasonal releases, Music Box Dancer remains Mills' crowning achievement. Lying somewhat forgotten in the midst of all of this, is the 1986 Transitions release upon which Mills briefly stepped outside the norms of his style. From that album, we have the exceptional lead track!

CD: Transitions (1986)
Label: Capitol Records
Site: Frank Mills
One Wish - Steve Oliver :
Growing up in Walnut Creek, California, Steve Oliver idolized guitarists such as Carlos Santana and Al Di Meola and in high school, he played in progressive bands influenced by groups such as Genesis and Yes. In 1988, as a member of the group Fragile Glass, Oliver recorded an LP and toured with Eric Johnson. Then in the 90s, he appeared thruout central California, playing guitar and singing vocalese, often creating the sonic illusion of being a small group rather than a one-man-band. It was about this time that Oliver first introduced himself to Steve Reid following a Rippingtons concert. The paths of the two Steves crossed about a year later when Oliver opened for Reid and Bamboo Forest. Reid enjoyed Oliver's performance and three or so months later, he called up Oliver saying, he needed a guitarist for his new cd. Oliver appeared on that and the next Bamboo Forest project, penning many of the tunes on both while touring with Reid for the next three years.

Eventually this led to a record deal, and the release of First View, Oliver's solo debut in 1999. The effort proved an unqualified success and led to Oliver's selection as Debut Artist of The Year by the Smooth Jazz News. From that effort, which was co-produced by Steve Reid (and Rob Mullins), we're featuring the stand out track, an album and career highlight, the easy reggae favoured One Wish.

CD: First View (1999)
Label: Native Language
Site: Steve Oliver

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition, for the second time in as many programs, we're limiting our exposure to never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks to just a handful. In lieu of new music, the rest of the segment is devoted to the artistry of one man only that being Peter White. We have nine selections, as one of the most popular performers in smooth jazz takes to our Then & Now spotlight. Still, we're not totally without a few fresh "voices"; the opening set has more from Joyce Cooling and Vince Madison and their respective recent releases while brand new to the show is bassist Wayne Jones with an album that rates as one of the most pleasant surprises to this point in the year!
Then & Now Spotlight Artist: Peter White

Chase Music
Caravan of Dreams
Perfect Moment
Playin' Favorites Columbia / Legacy

Peter White: We here at Café Jazz haven't had a major feature on Peter White since we went more than just a bit overboard with our three hour feature entitled A Peter White New Year back on December 26th, 2004. So now apart from the fact that almost three years have passed, White recently released Playin Favorites, his ninth album overall, and this gave all the reason we need to place Mr. White into our Then & Now spotlight. But, let's begin at the beginning, in the "sleepy little English town of Letchworth Garden City" as White puts it, where he was raised. White's father was British-born while his mother was of French decent, and it seems Peter inherited a deep appreciation for both cultures. He first became interested in music after hearing the Beatles on radio. He received his first guitar, an acoustic one, at around eight years of age, and taught himself how to play. Meanwhile, his dad encouraged Peter to learn other instruments; in short order he could play recorder, piano, and clarinet as well as a few others. After hearing Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze, White's passion became electric guitar. However, after his amp was accidentally set ablaze by his younger brother Danny, he returned to his "old acoustic guitar, which had been gathering dust in the corner." That proved to be a turning point in White's life as it was during this period that he developed "a love for the instrument, a feeling that continues to this day".

Photo by:
Myriam Santos-Kaydas
Early on White knew music was his calling and rather than heading off to college like many of his friends, he chose instead to work factory jobs until he landed his first gig at a holiday resort in 1974. Shortly after, he was recommended to Al Stewart, and after an audition on piano, he was hired. This began a 20-year association with Stewart that saw White step into the spotlight on guitar in 1976 on the million-selling The Year of the Cat, while helping co-write the title track for Time Passages in 1978. In 1979 White followed Stewart to America and while continuing his affiliation with Stewart, in 1981, he played in a group called A Shot in the Dark which included fellow Al Stewart alumnus Bryan Savage. He also frequently guested on albums with the LA band Windows which was fronted by his neighbour, Skipper Wise. Meanwhile, Peter's younger brother Danny had connected with the Polish born vocalist Basia in the group Matt Bianco and when they parted company with the band to focus on Basia's solo career, Peter played on her 1987 debut which went on to sell millions worldwide; later he joined them on tour and wrote several compositions that Basia recorded.

Finally, in 1990, after being a sideman for nearly 15 years, and inspired by the work of the English group Acoustic Alchemy, White finally released a cd of his own music called Réveillez-Vous, in honour of his mother, Gilberte. It was an album that White had "been threatening to make for so many years" and provided exactly the sound that smooth jazz audiences were craving. White instantly became a staple of the format and a fan favourite. That brings us more or less full circle, with our Then & Now feature and nine terrific tracks. In order, the selections are Moonlight Montreal from Réveillez-Vous, and continue on to Dreamwalk, Promenade, Wake Up Everybody, City of Lights, San Diego, Pedro Blanco, and Coast Road Drive, while concluding with What Does It Take from Playin Favorites. However, as far as many of us are concerned, regardless of what he's playing, Peter White is invariably a favourite!

Site: Peter White

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