September 16th, 2007
Edition #452 Previously Next
This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
Paul Brown kicks off this edition with Mr. Cool while Euge Groove, our spotlight artist, caps things off with the eponymous track Mr. Groove - in between we have two hours of the best smooth jazz you'll hear on this or any other planet! Included are Marion Meadows, Steve Oliver, Joe McBride, Nils, Terry Disley, Les Sabler, Slim Man, and Keiko Matsui with a mix of favourites both new and old. Meanwhile hour two sees us peel back the calendar pages for another exciting installment of Back Trax. Highlights are courtesy of Warren Bernhardt and Donald Harrison with a pair of smooth jazz classics both of which Chuck Loeb had a hand in! Interestingly, several of the selections are no longer in print and/or the record company has become extinct. My point in mentioning this is to urge you to support your favourite artists in a tangible way before they too go the way of the dinosaur!
|As Euge Groove, he became one of the most down loaded artists in history on the old MP3 site. All the buzz led to the successful launch of his 2000 debut just as he was right in the middle of a mega tour with Tina Turner. Besides garnering an Oasis Smooth Jazz Award for the 2001 song of the year with Sneak A Peak, subsequent projects have seen Groove score numerous #1 hits, with the title track from Born 2 Groove as the latest in that string.|
Photo: Coutesy of Euge Groove MySpace
project is Groove's 3rd on Narada Jazz, 5th overall, and may well represent
his finest effort to date - from it, we've selected an assortment of three
tasty tracks - I think you're gonna love 'em all! To begin we have a tune,
which features Euge at his soulful best; it's called Religify! The perfectly
entitled Slow Jam launches hour 2, while capping off our feature on Born
2 Groove is Mr. Groove - a track that could well become Euge's signature
selection. Still we're not quite done yet since, as an added bonus, we've
included another previously unplayed on our show selection as part of
our After Hours presentation. Look for A Summer Night's Dream early in
the first set!
CD: Born 2 Groove
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Euge Groove
|Back Trax: Part One|
Felinicity - Warren Bernhardt:
Exposed to music thru his pianist father, Bernhardt began playing piano at an early age, his studies beginning in earnest when he was five and the family relocated to NYC from Wausau WI. Following his father's untimely passing in 1957, Bernhardt for a time abandoned his musical aspirations choosing to major in organic chemistry and physics while attend the University of Chicago. However, while living in that city steeped in the traditions of jazz and blues, Bernhardt's passion was rekindled. He joined the Paul Winter sextet in 1961 and when the group came to New York the following year to record, that became his home base.
After recording several albums in the 70s, Bernhardt served as co-leader of the well-known jazz fusion group Steps Ahead in the 80s; he toured with Steely Dan for a couple of years in the 90s, and a few years back he played with Simon & Garfunkel on their "Old Friends" tour. As a studio musician, he took in hundreds of sessions and played on more than 50 feature film soundtracks. Thruout those years he recorded on a semi-regular basis, releasing his best-known smooth jazz work in 1993 with the cd Family Album. The project, performed on and produced by Chuck Loeb, finished in the #3 spot for 1994 based largely on the popularity of the tune Felinicity, a slinky track Loeb wrote about Bernhardt's five cats!
CD: Family Album (1993)
Site: Warren Bernhardt
Tropic of Cool - Donald Harrison:
Considered one of the most versatile musicians in jazz, Donald Harrison Jr.'s early career was characterized by appearances with Art Blakey and other straight-ahead players. The son of a New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Chief, Harrison co-led a band with Terence Blanchard in the 80s and after that group split, he released several well-received records as a leader. More recently, Harrison is credited with originating the Nouveau Swing style of jazz, which merges several genres. On this occasion though, we're returning to 1994 and Harrison's "The Power of Cool," which went to the top of Billboard's Smooth Jazz and R&B charts - from that release, we have The Tropic of Cool, arranged & co-produced by Chuck Loeb and a classic track from that era!
CD: The Power of Cool (1994)
Label: CTI Records
Site: Donald Harrison
|Back Trax: Part Two|
Bay - The Braxton Brothers :
Twins Nelson and Wayne Braxton hail from San Francisco & for the most part, they've been playing together ever since they joined their school band in the fourth grade. By high school, both were well versed on several wind instruments, including the sax and clarinet, appearing perennially in the All-State Honour Band. For a time Wayne performed as a member of the Jazz A Band while attending Cal State Northridge. Concurrently Nelson was studying tuba at San Francisco State U - however, side gigs as a bassist helped pay the tuition, so eventually he settled on playing bass and guitar full time.
The two earned more honours being selected to the Disney All - American collegiate band when they reconnected in a jazz quartet at SFSU after which they turned professional - Wayne working with Sheila E and Nelson touring with Najee. In 1996 they recorded their debut with Nelson on bass and Wayne on sax as the Braxton Brothers. Initially released on the faltering Kokopelli record label (founded in 1991 by the late jazz flautist Herbie Mann), the project received greater support a couple of years later, when picked up and re-issued by Windham Hill - the single When Love Comes Around becoming a major smooth jazz hit. On this occasion though, we've opted for the original lead single and opening track on the disc, which provided the earliest indication of their smooth jazz prowess!
CD: Steppin' Out (1996)
Label: Kokopelli Records
Site: Braxton Brothers
Thru the Clouds - Jeanne Newhall with Peter
Raised on a farm in the shadows of the Sierra Estrella Mountains just west of Phoenix, Jeanne Newhall was just six when her parents bought a piano. By the time she was 14, Newhall had debuted professionally while by 16 she had graduated high school, mastered six Mozart concertos and moved to New York City to study piano. Opting for Indiana University over offers from Juilliard, Eastman and Curtis, Ms Newhall ultimately earned a degree in performance from Arizona State. It was while in college that the world of jazz opened its doors to Newhall thru the music of Herbie Hancock and his Maiden Voyage cd.
Unfettered by the boundaries of classical music, Newhall absorbed the styles of all the jazz greats while also listening to R&B. Later, she began to explore voice in her music and after moving back to the Phoenix area, she recorded her debut in 1987, releasing 13 cds in all on her own Marzipan label before signing with Blix Street for her most recent offering entitled "Wild Blue". Of the tracks available in her extensive catalogue, the '98 Bedouin's Paradise release straddled smooth jazz and new age and featured Race Thru the Clouds, a collaboration with Peter White that earned considerable airplay in England. Later also made available on E' Sensual, a follow-up cd in 2001, it's now a genuine pleasure to revisit one of our favourites from back in the day!
CD: Bedouin's Paradise (1998)
Label: Marzipan Music
Site: Jeanne Newhall
Guided by the dual creative forces of Moroccan born Danny Obadia and NYC native Andy Korn, the band Aftertouch made a highly auspicious debut in 1997. Living in Versailles, France until he was seven, Obadia's musical perspectives were shaped growing up in a household filled with the music of France, Spain, and Arabia. At 15, those views were further broadened by exposure to fusion greats such as Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. While attending Queens College, Obadia's early compositional efforts were recognized by Billboard magazine, prior to meeting his future musical partner in Andy Korn during an early 90s jam session. For his part, Andy Korn attended both Hunter College and SUNY pursuing undergraduate studies in art and music while later he continued his musical education with some of New York's top drummers on a one-to-one basis. He began playing professionally in 1991 and soon after met up with keyboardist Danny Obadia.
They hit if off, yet it took five years and various changes in direction before their collaboration came to fruition. Naming their project Aftertouch after a pressure sensitive type of modulation available in certain electronic keyboards, their debut cd was not only the result of combining many musical styles but also the culmination of years of rich and varied musical experience! Although a follow up project was in the works for several years, unfortunately the completed concept never fully materialized. Nevertheless, their one and only album remains a tribute to their inspired musicianship - from it, we've selected an electric track featuring the sax work of Cliff Lyons!
CD: Where You Belong (1997)
Label: Denon Records
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :|
Here's a quick run down of what were playing - more from Jay Soto, Mike Catalano, Paul Taylor, and U-Nam. There's something brand from Chicago's Lake Effect and from saxman Tom Braxton. Bill Bergman and The Metro Cats are on the show, first time for them, while new too is Brian Dale. The remaining tracks are courtesy of Blake Aaron, Burt Brion, Les Sabler, Marc Antoine, and Euge Groove - 13 brand new selections as we spin some of the hippest sounds around!