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

November 18th, 2007
Edition #460 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
On this edition, Rick Braun and Richard Elliot share the stage as the showcase spotlight shines brightly on their R n R release. Hour 2 brings all the latest & best in new music with Fresh Trax. Headlining the segment, we have Paul Hardcastle and Matt Marshak - bassist Darryl Williams makes his Café Jazz debut while also appearing are Darren Rahn and Gordon James.

Later that same hour, there's a retro pack that includes Nestor Torres, Joyce Cooling, Glenn McNulty, and keyboardist Tim Best recording as Natural High. Otherwise, we're playing favourites from Patrick Yandall, Jeff Lorber, Club 1600, and Marc Antoine!
In This Issue:

R n R - Braun and Elliot

Lucky Star - Paul Hardcastle
Drivin' - Gordon James
Space Coastin' - Matt Marshak
That Was Then - Darryl Williams
Uptown - Darren Rahn

Then & Now - Paul Taylor

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Showcase CD
R n R - Rick Braun and Richard Elliot:

As stars in their own right, Rick Braun & Richard Elliot have collectively released two-dozen projects between them while scoring countless hits and gaining the awards and adulation that goes along with that. When they first formed ARTizen Music a few years back, it was only fair to expect a joint venture somewhere along the way. Although, with record exec responsibilities added to already busy schedules, it's been nearly three years with over half a dozen other releases on their label since that event. However, for fans & for music lovers in general, the long wait is over. After setting aside a bit of time for themselves, for some musical "rest and relaxation" if you will, Rick & Richard infuse some much needed gusto into an otherwise languid smooth jazz scene with R n R, and a cd that well lives up to its billing as "the jazz event release of 2007".
Rick Braun and Richard Elliot - R n R
Elliot landed his first gig with Natalie Cole when he was 17 & still in high school - he then went on to take part in a variety of sessions with Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Yellowjackets, and Melissa Manchester, before joining the famed horn section in Tower of Power in 1982. In 1986, he released his own solo debut and since then, he's been a consistent chart-topper in a genre that he helped pioneer! For his part, in the 80s, Rick Braun toured with the group War, wrote the pop hit Here With Me for REO Speedwagon, and then toured with Rod Stewart for 18 months. He issued his debut in 1993 and shortly thereafter, he got a gig with Sade on her "Love Deluxe" tour that proved to be a pivotal point in his career. Soon after, the charismatic horn player found his niche in contemporary jazz breaking thru with 1995's Beat Street and subsequently earned awards as Artist of the Year and for Album of the Year!
Rick Braun and Richard Elliot Photo Courtesy of Richard Elliot.com
Clearly, success has not been a stranger to either as both Braun & Elliot have maintained their popularity as top performers in the field that some refer to as soul-jazz. It didn't come as any huge surprise either when R n R debuted at the #1 spot on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz chart while within a week or two the title track spiralled to the top of the smooth charts based on airplay as compiled by the trade publication Radio & Records. This positive response puts the R n R squarely at "risk" of being one of the most popular releases for the year while providing us pause to reflect upon and appreciate some of the finer moments on the disc. To that end we have three decidedly delectable selections that include the title track, Sunday Night, and Q It Up!

CD: R n R
Label: ARTizen Music
Site: Rick Braun ; Richard Elliot

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Paul Hardcastle - Hardcastle 5
Lucky Star - Paul Hardcastle:
Paul Hardcastle has been making music since the early 80s when, while working as a hi-fi sales rep he swapped his video camera for a synthesizer. He went on to score a variety of pop and dance hits, including the arresting 1985 single 19, which was based on the average age of soldiers involved in the Vietnam conflict, before creating his quintessential smooth jazz project The Jazzmasters back in 1991. Since then, the keyboard whiz has roughly alternated between albums issued under The Jazzmasters moniker and those released under his own name - along the way he's achieved five #1 singles including Walking To Freedom, which spent 15 weeks at that top position on R&R. Within that rotation and scheduled for release early in '08, it's time now for another Paul Hardcastle cd with Hardcastle 5 as the latest installment in the series. From that effort, we have the first single to radio called Lucky Star!

CD: Hardcastle 5
Label: trippin 'N' Rhythm Records
Site: Paul Hardcastle
Gordon James - In Joy
Drivin' - Gordon James:
As a graduate of The Interlochen Arts Academy and The Hartt College of Music, composer, flügelhornist, and trumpeter Gordon James has gone on to perform with artists such as Chuck Loeb and Bob Baldwin. In 1995, James made his solo debut with Candlelight Love, an album that received attention in the US and England while his second release, featuring keyboardist James Lloyd from Pieces of a Dream, received even broader support based on the strength of the track Shades of Brown. The mellow After Hours cd followed a couple of years later making the recently issued In Joy release the fourth, & perhaps most impressive item in Gordon James's musical catalogue. Once again teaming with Lloyd on several tracks, the cd is a funky and lyrical excursion that blends many of the finer elements of Jazz, Latin, R&B, Pop and hip-hop. From that effort, we've selected a great track that was co-penned by James and Lloyd called Drivin'!

CD: In Joy
Label: Caress Music

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Matt Marshak - Space Coastin'
Space Coastin' - Matt Marshak :
Although Long Island native Matt Marshak didn't take up guitar until the age of 17, within the period of a few short years he's laid the groundwork for a highly promising career and has released three albums within the span of six years. He called his 2001 debut Preservation as a bit of a nod to the legacy of bands such as The Jazz Crusaders, even though he was simultaneously exploring new avenues in jazz. Winning the Best New Smooth Jazz Artist in New York City Award while in the midst of recording his sophomore effort, provided a huge boost to Marshak's profile. The album received worldwide airplay, while we here at The Café were quite simply floored as the project landed squarely among our top ten most played albums for 2004. Marshak's follow-up spawned both our #6 and #12 most played tracks for 2006 in Summerfunk and Montauk Moon respectively. Now as a standard-bearer for an exciting new breed of young performer, Marshak continues to elevate his game while taking his craft to the next level! From the upcoming On The Rocks cd, we have Space Coastin', the first single to radio!

CD: On The Rocks
Label: Nuance Music Group
Site: Matt Marshak ; Nuance
Darryl Williams - That Was Then
That Was Then - Darryl Williams :
Having lived much of his career as a sideman, bassist Darryl Williams has backed many of the brightest and best on the contemporary scene including the likes of Chaka Khan and Angela Bofill while also having played in support of fellow smooth jazz musicians such as Evan Marks, Patrick Yandall, and others. However, after two-and-a-half decades of "playing in the shadows", Williams finally grabs a spot in the limelight, and rightly so, with his long-overdue solo debut. In addition to his bass duties, Williams composed a majority of the selections while also doubling as producer for the project. The result is a great first effort with many of the tracks setting a mood that's simply perfect, be it for laid-back listening or for some late night lounging - from that release, we're featuring the mellow groove of the title track!

CD: That Was Then
Label: Independent
Site: Williams/cdbaby
Darren Rahn - Once In A Lifetime
Uptown - Darren Rahn:
Born in British Columbia, Rahn picked up the sax at the age of 12 and following high school, he went on to earn degrees in Music Education and in Sax Performance and Jazz Pedagogy from Adams State College and the University of Northern Colorado respectively. Downbeat Magazine recognized Rahn as one of the top university sax soloists in the U.S and although still early in his career, Rahn has already produced, recorded, and performed with an impressive list of players - among them Dave Koz, Wayman Tisdale, Jeff Lorber, Gregg Karukas, and Brian Simpson, as well as Jay Soto, Dave Sereny, and Nate Harasim. Once in a Lifetime is his recently issued sophomore cd and from that endeavour, we're featuring the free wheeling vibe of Uptown! In more Darren Rahn news, Darren is a recent nominee in a couple of categories for the upcoming 2008 CSJA!

CD: Once In A Lifetime
Label: nuGroove Records
Site: Darren Rahn ; Rahn/nuGroove

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
This week on After Hours, saxman Paul Taylor enters our spotlight with a 7-pack of tracks offered for your enjoyment as part of our Then & Now feature. Otherwise, something that's become a tradition as new music rules with five fresh & tasty selections to round out the hour. Today's line-up includes Marc Antoine, Brian Simpson, and Lauren Wood. There's another great track from Les Sabler and Sweet Drive while as an added bonus we've included a previously unplayed track from R n R, the showcase cd from Rick Braun & Richard Elliot!
Then & Now Spotlight Artist: Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor - On The Horn On The Horn
Paul Taylor - Pleasure Seeker Pleasure Seeker
Paul Taylor - Undercover Undercover
Paul Taylor - Hypnotic Hypnotic
Peak Records
Paul Taylor - Steppin' Out Steppin' Out
Peak Records
Paul Taylor - Nightlife Nightlife
Peak Records
Paul Taylor - Ladies' Choice Ladies' Choice
Peak Records

Paul Taylor: Paul Taylor started playing the sax at the age of seven and discovered his calling in high school while playing Top 40, funk and Crusader-styled fusion in a garage band called Mixed Company. The Denver CO native won a scholarship to the University of Nevada and would often commute to LA in the hope of building his résumé beyond the lounge gigs that marked his early career.

Paul Taylor - Serenading!!
Paul Taylor: Serenading
Courtesy of PaulTaylorSax.com!
Hooking up with Dino Esposito, who later produced several of Taylor's projects, on one of these excursions Paul took part in a session at Jeff Lorber's home studio in 1994. Shortly after, Lorber asked Taylor him to accompany him at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival where Keiko Matsui and her then husband & producer Kazu were in attendance. Impressed by Taylor's on-stage charisma, the Matsuis offered him an audition - subsequently Taylor toured with Keiko for a couple of years while also appearing on a pair of her albums. Meanwhile, Kazu produced Taylor's 1995 debut release On The Horn and its #1 hit 'Till We Meet Again'. Paul's meteoric rise to popularity was followed by the release of Pleasure Seeker and another #1 hit in its title track while Undercover co-released by N-Coded Music and Peak Records in 2000, reached #3 on Billboard's year-end chart, and marked the beginning of Taylor's strengthening affiliation with Russ Freeman. With his first three releases, Taylor catapulted to prominence as one of the most popular live performers in the genre yet he didn't hesitate when Russ Freeman invited him to tour with The Rippingtons after Jeff Kashiwa's departure.

Following a brief stint with one of America's most popular contemporary jazz bands, Paul resumed his solo career releasing Hypnotic in 2001 and Steppin' Out in 2003, each album made the Billboard Top Ten for their respective year. For a time, Taylor joined the all-star Groovin' For Grover tour, which included his old friend Jeff Lorber as well as two other prominent sax-players in the likes of Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright while he also made his acting debut on the TV series One Life To Live. With his career firing on all cylinders and in anticipation of celebrating his tenth year as a solo performer, 2005 saw the release of Nightlife, which landed firmly in the #2 spot for the year.

Ladies' Choice, Taylor's latest and seventh release, seems poised for similar success having already climbed to the upper strata on several charts! That goes along with a 2002 Best of project that mined Taylor's first four albums. Even so, seven does indeed prove lucky, for fortunate fans of the magnetic entertainer and for us here at The Café, providing us with ample ammunition for a compelling 7-track Then & Now segment. Presented in three sets the selections include two #1 hits in 'Til We Meet Again and the exotic Pleasure Seeker, as well as Aerial, Tuesday Afternoon, Cantina, Candlelight, and Ladies' Choice the title track!

Site: Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor - Greatest Hits Greatest Hits
N-Coded Music

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