October 7th, 2007
Edition #455 Previously Next
This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
We kick off our first program in the month with Steve Laury's tribute to October while just a bit later in the hour as part of the showcase feature, it's New York City keyboardist Mike Catalano in the spotlight with A Manhattan Affair. Hour 2 brings more Back Trax, our chance to relive favourites from back in the day - today's line up includes Gerald Veasley and Rene Toledo. We'll be hearing from the project known as Garden Party while Tom Coster and Paul Taylor round out the segment with a pair of smooth jazz classics. Other past faves include Eric Marienthal and Slim Man while also appearing are Blake Aaron, Lao Tizer, Les Sabler, Hiroshima, Dave Sereny, Down to the Bone, Jackiem Joyner, Brian Simpson, and Terry Disley!
A Manhattan Affair - Mike Catalano:
Beginning with classical piano lessons at the age of seven, NYC native Mike Catalano studied privately for over 10 years, before continuing on to college - there he took courses in theory and composition, and analyzed the music of greats such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Jobim's music in particular, had a profound effect on Catalano, so that when he was ready to record some of his own compositions, he traveled to Rio de Janeiro in order to get a better feel for the flavour of Brazil. After connecting with bassist Nico Assumpcao and guitarist Ricardo Silveira, the result was his 1989 debut - released only in Brazil, that project brought together many of the best musicians from both New York & Rio de Janeiro for A Rio Affair. It's impossible to say if it's been happenstance or great planning, but from that point onward, it's been one affair after another for Mr. Catalano!
|He went on to compose for TV - for programs such as the hit series A Current Affair and in all, penned over 200 themes and underscores for it and for a variety of other programs. Now more recently, as Catalano once again willingly succumbs to his dual passions for the Manhattan music scene and the rhythms of Brazil, the love story continues with A Manhattan Affair! Having started the "New York contingent" of the Mike Catalano Group, in the mid 90s, Catalano subsequently met bassist Will Lee, with whom he collaborated for this latest project. On the album, Catalano was excited to work with many of his favourites - Rob Mounsey, Chuck Loeb, Peter Erskine, Steve Gadd, Randy Brecker, Jeff Mironov, Basheri Johnson and Bob James, as well as the legendary Ivan Lins.|
Catalano & Crew (L to R) : Will Lee, Chris Parker,
George Baretto, Lelena, Mike, Lou Marini, Dean Bailin.
Coutesy of Catman Records
a polished blend of smooth jazz, A Manhattan Affair is generously seasoned
with Brazilian spice, making it one of the more memorable musical excursions
for 2007! And so it's with great pleasure that we thrust album & author
into our showcase spotlight, we've selected a tasty assortment of tracks
and I think you're gonna love 'em all. To begin we have the tune that
opens the disc, it's called Right on Time. That's followed by Mike's current
single, the appropriately titled Smooth as Silk, that launches hour 2;
while Take Me Back to Rio makes a perfect track for the feature finale!
CD: A Manhattan Affair
Label: Catman Records
|Back Trax: Part One|
Caves of Altamira - Garden Party:
Featuring an all-star line-up of musicians and subtitled An Instrumental Tribute to Steely Dan, the project No Static At All was the brainchild of veteran producer Steve Barri who had signed Steely Dan to their first record deal in 1970. Thirty years later many of the top smooth jazzers of the day united to pay homage to the artistry of Walter Becker and Donald Fagan under the name Garden Party. From that release we've selected The Caves of Altamira, a dreamy mood exploring gem featuring Michael Sims on guitar backed by George Shelby on sax!
CD: No Static At All (2000)
Label: Samson Records
Lasting Moment - Gerald Veasley:
He'd been exposed to gospel and R&B in his youth but Gerald Veasley's love affair with music began in earnest at the age twelve when he started playing the bass - he then went on to play in various R&B bands in his teens. Along the way, he discovered jazz and in particular, he came to appreciate the music of Weather Report and Return to Forever. His parents, both musically inclined, inspired young Veasley with their hard work and sacrifice, and as a result, the Philadelphia native earned a full four-year academic scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. Although music had always moved him, and provided him with a way to express his emotions, his career path veered sharply in that direction following his father's passing, when he turned to music and it's therapeutic powers to help him deal with his loss.
In the early 80s, Veasley embarked on the first of several high-profile sideman gigs. In short order, he shared the stage with Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie and then with his longtime friend and mentor, the late great Grover Washington Jr. In addition, in 1992, Veasley launched a successful solo career and in the time since, he's issued several well-received projects - on this occasion we're re-visiting Signs, his 1994 sophomore release. From that effort, we have A Lasting Moment - a tune upon which the Special EFX's influence is readily apparent with Chieli Minucci and George Jinda both contributing to this funky fusion flavour of the track.
CD: Signs (1994)
Label: Heads Up International
Site: Gerald Veasley
|Back Trax: Part Two|
- Toledo :
Hailing from the isle of Cuba, Rene Luis Toledo first drew attention in his native Havana as founder of an afro-Cuban jazz group. Following his emigration to the US, Miami became Toledo's home base whereupon he carved a significant niche in jazz and pop as a skilled producer and versatile guitarist. One of his more high profile gigs was backing fellow compatriot Arturo Sandoval on Sandoval's American debut; subsequently Toledo has appeared in support of Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Santana, Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias, and the list goes on! With an unerring ability to blend Cuban-jazz expertly with Brazilian-funk rhythms, Toledo contributed to the 1983 GRP compilation Guitar Fire, while visiting the smooth jazz charts in the 90s with The Dreamer and its follow-up entitled Mestizo. Preferring on the latter effort to record the project under his surname only, from that release, we've selected the elevating track Bahia!
CD: Mestizo (1995)
Label: Sony Discos
Bango, Bongo - Tom Coster:
During the 70s, Tom Coster made his mark as a versatile keyboardist playing with Carlos Santana on six of his albums. He then went to enjoy a brief stint with Billy Cobham before launching his solo career. Since the mid 80s, Coster has been a member of Vital Information, an all-star jazz fusion project led by Steve Smith, the on again off again drummer for Journey. During a lull in his commitments to Vital Information in the late 80s, Coster wanted to get his own record career back on track and in so doing, got a deal with Headfirst Records - where the intent was to sell records. Consequently, Coster's approach swung closer to an easy listening style with his two releases on the label, both sold well while also charting in the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Top 20. From the second of these, 1990's From Me To You (later re-issued by JVC), we're featuring Bingo Bango Bongo!
CD: From Me To You (1990)
Me Free - Paul Taylor:
Although he started on the sax at the age of seven, Paul Taylor didn't consider a career in music until he was already in high school. After earning a scholarship to the University of Nevada, the Denver CO native often would commute to LA in the hope of building his résumé beyond the lounge gigs that marked his early years. Among his experiences, Taylor took part in a session at Jeff Lorber's home studio, which set the stage for Taylor to accompany Lorber at the Jazz Trax Festival a couple of years later. As luck would have it, Keiko Matsui and her husband & producer Kazu were in attendance and based on that performance, the Matsuis offered Taylor an audition - subsequently Taylor ended up recording and touring with Keiko for a couple of years. Meanwhile, Kazu produced Taylor's 1995 debut release On The Horn and its #1 hit 'Till We Meet Again'. From that effort, we've selected the liberating vibe of Set Me Free!
CD: On The Horn (1995)
Label: Countdown Records
Site: Paul Taylor
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :|
|On today's edition, we continue to break ground with a special feature and one of our most ambitious undertakings as we devote the entire segment to the music of one man that being Ken Navarro. This past year Navarro released The Meeting Place, his 17th solo project in a long & distinguished career that stretches back to 1990. This gave us all the reason we needed for a Ken Navarro Then & Now feature and to that end, we've compiled 17 tracks, one from each of his albums - in addition, Mr. Navarro kindly dropped by one of our "mobile studios", answered a few questions, and shared some anecdotes & insights. That's all part of an extended segment that comes in at just over 90 minutes!|
Then & Now Spotlight Artist: Ken Navarro
Ken Navarro: While not receiving the notoriety accorded some of his peers, few players in the genre have consistently delivered as extensive & as tasty an array of upbeat releases as has Ken Navarro. In the 80s, Navarro moved to the West Coast, where he developed into a top sideman on the LA session scene playing in support of Doc Severinsen, John Pattitucci, Dave Koz, and others. In 1990, Navarro made a major move towards establishing his own identity, releasing a solo debut, and simultaneously launching the Positive Music record label. His follow-up project earned a Grammy nomination while subsequent efforts have firmly established Navarro as a perennial fan favourite and placed him squarely among the smooth jazz elite! It seems every new release from Navarro, reawakens a desire on my part to revisit and to rediscover some of the incredible music that he's created over the course of his career. This first happened as the focus for Then & Now back in September 2003 shortly after the release of All the Way and then again in March '05 following the issue of Love Coloured Soul. On this latter occasion, we published this disclaimer: "With … well over one hundred songs to choose from, I will admit I had quite a bit of difficulty in keeping the number of selections down".
Set 1: Children Need A World, After Dark, Night Light, I Can't Complain, Nothing Stays The Same, & Compassion.
Set 2: Can't Get Enough, Skating on the C&O Canal, Magic, Eric's Dream (live), Touch, & Pulse Point.
Set 3: Imperfect Things, Slow Dance, Bringing Down the House, Summer of Love, & finally Did You Hear That?
Tune in for fantastic music and a few insights, on our tribute to the exceptional artistry of Ken Navarro!
Click on the paw for mp3 streaming of the feature:
Site: Ken Navarro