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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

December 16th, 2007
Edition #463 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
We've lined up a trio of tracks from Danny Lerman and Meow Baby as part of the showcase presentation while in our second hour, we cruise down memory lane with the Back Trax segment to rediscover a few favourites form back in the day. This installment includes Tom Scott and Neal Davis; there's music from keyboardist Mark Sloniker and B-Tribe out of Germany while veteran saxman Tom Saviano rounds out the feature!

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In This Issue:

Meow Baby - Danny Lerman

Daybreak - Tom Scott
Elena - Neal Davis
Speaking Without Words - Mark Sloniker
Sometimes - B-Tribe
All For You - Tom Saviano

Then & Now - Boney James

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Showcase CD
Meow Baby - Danny Lerman:

Hailing from South Bend Indiana, Danny Lerman initially enrolled at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, intent on playing hockey - but later switched to Boston's Berklee College to pursue his musical dreams. After moving over to the University of North Texas to complete his course of studies and upon graduating, Lerman recorded his "Do You Feel?" debut in 1992 on the Steel Warehouse Records label. Subsequently, he toured extensively hitting hot spots such as Sweet Basil's in Greenwich Village, Chicago's legendary Backroom, and LA's Baked Potato. That was followed by the 1999 issue of Danny's Island, which went on to become a top 20 hit on the R&R Contemporary Jazz chart. A third cd entitled World Jam was released in 2005, but for the most part, Lerman filled his time performing in such faraway places as Holland and Istanbul, not to mention Mexico, Finland, South Africa, & points in between, so that within the matter of a just few years, he'd gained a wealth of experience.

Danny Lerman - Meow Baby
That all brings to the present and Lerman's fourth and latest cd due for release in February, 2008. In spite of the gap between albums, Lerman is quite intent on building on the momentum he's enjoyed to this point in his career as he's chosen for backing top names ranging from Hubert Laws and Paul Jackson Jr., to Randy Brecker, Fareed Haque, and Brian Hughes. Still, it's definitely Lerman's show as he's spotlighted in a variety of settings; and, to avoid the pitfall of all work and no play, Danny named the project Meow Baby - taking the title from a line in an old episode of Kojak. Even so, the fun doesn't end there as Lerman has also selected a few carefree sounding titles such as Snoopy's Dance and Summer in a Hummer for a couple of the tracks!
Danny Lerman Courtesy of dannylerman.com
So now it's time to share in the fun as we thrust Meow Baby and Danny Lerman into our showcase spotlight - we've selected our usual assortment of three typically tasty treats. We begin with the aforementioned, the hip and hummable Snoopy's Dance and follow that with the aptly titled Summer in a Hummer, meanwhile Danny's current hit Gotcha caps off the proceedings! Now you can judge for yourself, but it seems readily apparent, Danny Lerman has paved his way to stardom with Meow Baby, a project that has the full potential to become a top break thru releases for the year!

CD: Meow Baby
Label: Sugar Whiskey Records/Lightyear Entertainment
Site: Danny Lerman

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Back Trax: Part One
Tom Scott - Night Creatures
Daybreak - Tom Scott:
Raised in a musical family wherein his mother was a pianist and his father a composer, it was early on that Tom Scott turned to being a studio musician. After enjoying stints with Don Ellis and Oliver Nelson, Scott launched his solo career with the release of The Honeysuckle Breeze in 1967 when he was just 19. In the 70s, Scott's L.A. Express became one of the most successful ensembles of the day with its fusion of jazz, funk, and pop. Scott maintained his popularity into the 80s and beyond with a string of 29 albums all while sitting in on nearly 500 record dates with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Thelonious Monk, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, and Steely Dan. In addition, Scott has had numerous credits as an arranger to go along with having composed for both film & TV - moreover, he served as Musical Director for both the Academy and Emmy Awards and toured five continents with his band. In all, Tom Scott has been nominated 13 times for a Grammy and won on three occasions. Considered a giant in the music industry, these are just a few of his accomplishments. For a time in the 90s, Scott enjoyed resurgence in popularity in the smooth jazz genre and today we're revisiting one of our favourites from the period in the form of Daybreak. Featuring Scott himself on sax, keys, woodwinds, bass, and more, the tune musically simulates the quiet reverie of those brief twilight moments as night breaks into day!

CD: Night Creatures (1995)
Label: GRP Records
Neal Davis - Rendezvous
Elena - Neal Davis:
In a career that extends back to the late 80s, keyboardist & multi-instrumentalist Neal Davis has issued close to a dozen albums that have spanned a variety of styles and influences. Originally released in 1997 on his own Creative Energy label, Davis's Rendezvous cd gained some well-deserved attention, particularly from Jazz FM in England, based partly on the strength of its lead track entitled Next to You. Just recently, though, the Omaha-based veteran performer wisely decided to pursue a new promotional campaign in spite of the fact the project was already 10 years old. However, far from passé, Rendezvous exhibits an up-to-date freshness that belies its age. Consequently, it's now a treat to feature one of the album's finer moments with the euphonious (pleasing to the ear) sounds of Elena as part of our Back Trax presentation!

CD: Rendezvous (1997)
Label: Creative Energy Productions
Site: Neal Davis

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Back Trax: Part Two
Mark Sloniker - Perfectly Human
Speaking Without Words - Mark Sloniker :
Before pursuing a career as a musician, Mark Sloniker earned a degree in music therapy from Colorado State and later put his training into practice as an intern at the Colorado Mental Health Institute. In 1986, Sloniker launched his solo career with the issue of Paths of Heart, and within the span of five years and three releases his talents came to the fore thru a flowing and vivid blend of contemporary instrumentals. Living in a small college town near the Rocky Mountains, in the outdoors Sloniker found not only a source of solace but also inspiration - qualities that were well reflected by those early albums as well as in the pair of projects that have followed since. Sloniker explains, "These tunes … seem to have acquired first and last names (titles and subtitles). I don't know why, though it does seem perfectly human." This sentiment rather suitably evolved into the name for his third effort, the 1991 Perfectly Human cd. From that effort, we've selected the highly expressive Speaking Without Words!

CD: Perfectly Human (1991)
Label: Music West Records
Site: Mark Sloniker
B-Tribe - Sensual Sensual
Sometimes - B-Tribe :
B-Tribe was just one of several aliases used by German studio whiz Claus Zundel (aka The Brave) thruout the 90s and afterward. As Zundel puts it, in a "previous musical life" he wrote for Chaka Khan and for several top-selling Euro artists before he discovered the Latin-electro-ambient groove that came to define the B-Tribe sound. Standing for the Barcelona Tribe of Soulsters, Zundel's B-Tribe debut was the 1994 Fiesta Fatal cd while by the time 1998 had rolled by, Zundel was already into the third of what became a series of five B-Tribe releases. Subsequently, Zundel released a variety of projects under different names feeling they sounded too different to be considered sequels - these grew to include Sacred Spirit, Moroccan Spirit, and Indigo Spirit among others. However, in terms of chart success, the '98 Sensual Sensual release proved to be Zundel's crowning achievement when it peaked at the #11 position on Billboard's list of Top World Music Albums. From that release, we have the track Sometimes. Distinguished by the unique Flamenco flavoured guitar of Paco Fernandez, interspersed with chanted vocals and Zundel's own keyboard work on organ, the tune remains not only Zundel's most readily identifiable, but perhaps also his finest musical creation!

CD: Sensual Sensual (1998)
Label: Atlantic
Tom Saviano - Crossings
All For You - Tom Saviano:
Upon moving to LA, Chicago-native Tom Saviano quickly rose thru the ranks of top session players and soon landed a stint as Melissa Manchester's musical director. He went on to play with many high-profile performers such as Brenda Russell, Earth, Wind & Fire, & Sheena Easton while also being chosen to lead the house band for Leave It To Dave, David Letterman's first TV program. Additionally, from 1986 thru to 1989, Saviano was a featured band member on The Late Show with Joan Rivers - but, in spite of these and many additional accomplishments, Saviano didn't get around to recording his solo debut until 1998 with the appropriately titled, Making Up Lost Time. Saviano's sophomore Crossings cd followed a couple of years later and faired well, debuting at #43 on the old Gavin Smooth Jazz chart. One selection featuring Saviano and guest Thom Rotella and entitled All For You proved particularly noteworthy - in fact, Saviano and Rotella reprised their collaboration for Rotella's own 2002 A Day In The Life cd, which featured the very same track. Sparked by the dynamic call and response sequence between Saviano's sax and Rotella's guitar, the tune literally ignites to provide one of the finest musical moments that ushered in the new millennium!

CD: Crossings (2000)
Label: Miramar Recordings

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
Top smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James enters our spotlight as the focus for today's then & now feature. We've chosen a tune from each of Boney's solo cds and are offering an 8-pack of tracks for your enjoyment and that'll be about 15 minutes into the hour. Otherwise, we're up to our old tricks as new music rules - on this occasion our line-up includes U-Nam, Bob Gaynor, Valarie King, Shakatak and Keith Andrew, as well as another piece from Danny Lerman and our showcase cd and that will close the hour!
Then & Now Spotlight Artist: Boney James

Boney James - Trust Trust
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Backbone Backbone
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Seduction Seduction
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Sweet Thing Sweet Thing
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Body Language Body Language
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Ride Ride
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Pure Pure
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Shine Shine
Concord Music

Boney James: He was born James Allan Oppenheim but today he's known to millions as Boney James. Oppenheim switched to playing the sax after a couple of years on clarinet and instantly fell in love with its sound. Thru exposure to jazz greats in his father's record collection and after hearing the sounds of Grover Washington Jr., Oppenheim immediately made the connection between jazz and R&B and there was no turning back. When the future Boney was in his teens, his family relocated to LA. After a few twists and turns that saw his music career on again and off again, Oppenheim graduated from UCLA with a degree in history. Finding himself newly married, out of college, and out of work, for a couple of years James delivered pizzas by day, while he played with up to five or six different bands by night. Boney's big break came when he auditioned and got a job touring with Morris Day as a keyboard player. He later toured with Bobby Caldwell playing sax, but he picked up his nickname while playing with Randy Crawford. Typifying the struggling young artist, Oppenheim was having difficulty in making ends meet.

Boney James!! Courtesy of boneyjames.com
So rather than spending his per diem on meals, he would save it in order to pay the rent. With the rigors of life on the road, it wasn't too long before a band mate observed his dwindling physique and notoriously commented, "At this rate we'll have to start calling you Boney James!" Ultimately, it was the diminishing challenges of work as a sideman that pushed Boney in a new direction, so that when the opportunity arose to make a solo disc, he went for it. Produced and recorded by Paul Brown, the 1992 album Trust yielded several tracks that continue to garner radio play and led to Boney's quick rise to stardom. In the time since, he's had eight solo releases to go along with a pair of seasonal projects and another when he and Rick Braun teamed a few years back for Shake It Up, one of the most popular cds from then year 2000. In any event, were now set to feature some highlights in Boney's career as the focus for today's Then & Now feature, with eight tracks presented in three sets!

First up, from the cd Trust we have Another Time, Another Place followed by Love You All My Lifetime with some searing electric guitar courtesy of Allan Hinds. Set 2 brings the meaty part of the feature with four selections. Seduction from 1995 proved to be Boney's big breakthru release. From that effort there's a tune that very nicely foreshadowed their future collaboration on Shake It Up with Boney and Rick Braun teaming on Second Nature. Also in the set: Ivory Coast from Sweet Thing, a cd that catapulted Boney to unprecedented popularity and became his first #1 album; the title track from Body Language; and This Is the Life from Ride.

In the third set, we pick up the story with the cd Pure, which received a Grammy nomination in 2004 - from that effort we selected It's On. Finally, to conclude the segment there's The Way She Walks with Christian Scott guesting on trumpet and that's from Boney's latest called Shine. In all a great 35-minute excursion featuring the music of Boney James that should provide conclusive evidence as to why he's considered one of the best in the genre!

Site: Boney James ; Boney/Concord
Other Boney Projects
Boney James - Boney's Funky Christmas Boney's Funky Christmas
Warner Bros.
Boney James & Rick Braun - Shake It Up Shake It Up
Warner Bros.
Boney James - Christmas Present Christmas Present
Concord Music

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