January 13th, 2008
Edition #466 Previously Next
This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
On this edition, Jeff Kashiwa is in the showcase spotlight with a trio of selections from his Play release. As hour two rolls by, the focus shifts to new music with the Fresh Trax segment. Headlining today's segment we have Jim Savitt and Mark Hollingsworth. Also appearing is flautist Valarie King while making their Café Jazz debut is keyboardist Bob Gaynor with Russ Klinger & Dave Radnor headlining as the 25th Street Band. Then later that same hour there's a retro pack that includes Michael Lington, Gregg Karukas, Gabriel, and our friend and yours Peter White. Additionally, we've slipped in past gems from Roberto Perera, Marion Meadows, Max Groove, Steve Laury, and Larry Gittens - supplementing that list with current faves from Brian Simpson and Marc Antoine among others!
Play - Jeff Kashiwa:
Following a time at Berklee in Boston, Seattle-born Jeff Kashiwa transferred to Cal State in Long Beach. Thru bassist Steve Bailey, he was introduced to Russ Freeman, leader of the Rippingtons, and after an audition, Kashiwa stepped in to fill the sax chair that had been vacated by Brandon Fields. Touring & recording with Ripps for the better part of a decade, Kashiwa contributed to many of the band's classic recordings! As such, it may have been a bit unexpected when after his 10-year stint Kashiwa left the Ripps to develop his solo career. In reality though, Kashiwa always had thought of emerging on his own. He'd led a variety of projects before connecting with the band and had spent much of his downtime leading his own ensemble having launched his solo career with a pair of albums while still a member.
|It was Kashiwa's post-Rippingtons debut and an 8-week #1 track that ushered in Jeff's era as a headliner - he's since emerged as one of the most dynamic, diverse, and in demand performers in all of contemporary jazz! Performing nearly 100 shows annually - with his band Coastal Access or with Steve Cole & Kim Waters as The Sax Pack, Kashiwa has supplemented those dates by appearing with Acoustic Alchemy and others. In 2006 and continuing thru to the summer of '07, Kashiwa reunited with The Rippingtons as part of the band's 20th Anniversary Tour yet somehow found the time to record his fourth album on Native Language and sixth overall. With all this, the single message that comes thru loud and clear is Kashiwa's desire to do what he loves to and that is to play - in fact, that became the motivation for the album title! On a majority of the tracks, Kashiwa is backed by his band Coastal Access - many people think that the group is a recent creation but in truth, some of the members have been playing together for the past 17 years. Every member is a sideman in another group but in between gigs, the core members - Melvin Davis, Dave Hooper, Allen Hinds, and Dave Kochanski - get together to back Kashiwa. Indeed, that same ensemble, bolstered by the addition of Yellowjackets' Russell Ferrante and top sessionist Lenny Castro, appears on the album's first single, the unrelenting groove-induced Forever, and the track that launches our showcase feature.|
Jeff Kashiwa courtesy of:
Jazz in Blue Jay
the top of our second hour, we have New View a tune that Kashiwa describes
as a sensuous pop-samba - guesting on the track are Ferrante on piano
and Acoustic Alchemy's Greg Carmichael on nylon string guitar - the overall
effect is quite simply gorgeous and an album highlight! Then finally,
for our closer there's a sassy shaker called Movin' Up. David Mann, Jeff
Kashiwa and Alchemy's other front-man, Miles Gilderdale, collaborated
on the bold brass backing with Gilderdale also handling guitar duties
on the selection, which he co-wrote. A personal fave on the disc, Kashiwa
really lets loose on this one with some great licks and in point of fact
does live up to the promise of the title with some of his finest playing
Label: Native Language
Site: Jeff Kashiwa ; Native Language
|Fresh Trax: Part One|
I'll Tell You Tomorrow - Valarie King:
Classically trained at USC and touted as one of today's most versatile jazz flautists, Valarie King has earned performance credits in virtually every genre - she has performed with symphony orchestras, appeared on awards programs and backed Madonna, Whitney Houston, and George Benson among others on record, while supporting luminaries such as Luther Vandross and Diana Krall in concert. Thruout, Ms King has earned a reputation as dynamic player with a signature sound. King released her own well received & Grammy nominated debut in 2004 and first appeared on our own modest program this past year with Burning Spear, a mesmerizing 8-minute mini-opus from Only Time Will Tell, her sophomore follow up. Anytime, Anyplace is now King's recently issued follow up and third release overall. From that effort, we've selected a fabulous track called I'll Tell You Tomorrow with Ms King once again featured at her absolute finest!
CD: Anytime, Anyplace
Label: Kangu Records
Site: Valarie King
Sun - Bob Gaynor:
A few weeks back, I played a tune called Savvy by a little known trumpeter out of New York City, recording under the name of CM, having discovered the track several years earlier on the old mp3.com site. I was also somewhat familiar with the tune's composer, keyboardist Bob Gaynor who had sent me a cd of his music way back in 2004 and a project, which to this point, had remained unplayed on our show. Shortly thereafter, as if by serendipity, I discovered more great stuff from Gaynor while surfing the net. This all served to spur me from my inactivity - so to rectify the situation somewhat, we have Big Sun, an outstanding track from that here to for unplayed and unreleased effort!
As a bit of an aside, in corresponding with Bob, he confided that presently, his career in music remains little more than a hobby since he has a full time day gig. Needless to say, we here at The Café find this situation truly disappointing feeling Gaynor possesses talent easily on a par with or superior to, many artists that are being played commercially. Be that as it may, that fact serves only to further enhance our appreciation for Mr. Gaynor and his music!
Site: Bob Gaynor Downloads
|Fresh Trax: Part Two|
Breeze - Mark Hollingsworth :
Chicago-native Mark Hollingsworth turned down an engineering scholarship opting for one that allowed him to attend Berklee in Boston - he excelled and graduated with the highest honours. Subsequently Hollingsworth moved to LA where for the better part of a year he slept on the floor of his apartment in a sleeping bag while struggling to make ends meet. His fortunes turned after landing a stint touring with Tom Jones and within a couple of years, he was called to work the TV special "Ray Charles - 50 Years in Music" produced by Quincy Jones.
In addition, Hollingsworth has recorded hundreds of commercials and played on feature film and cartoon soundtracks while backing artists such as Luther Vandross. For the past few years, Hollingsworth has been a featured member of the Greg Adams band where he connected with writer & producer James Wirrick - Wirrick co-wrote and co-produced Hollingsworth's 2005 On the Mark debut. Now firmly LA entrenched and having worked with artists from Stevie Wonder to Santana, Chasing the Sun is Mark's recently released sophomore cd - from that effort, we've selected the warm and gentle sounds of Tropic Breeze!
CD: Chasing The Sun
Label: Windshore Music
Site: Mark Hollingsworth ; Windshore
Coast Highway - 25th Street Band:
The debut release from the 25th Street Band brings together musicians from three continents although, as the promo literature puts it, some never got within seven thousand miles of one another. Serving a mix of jazz fusion that ranges from lyrical to edgy, the project is the handiwork of Russ Klinger and Dave Radnor; both juggled multiple responsibilities in writing, arranging and producing the selections while also playing guitar and keys and handling programming duties. Recorded in London and Los Angeles by using the latest in digital technology and the internet, The Key of H features some of the world's top session players - drummer Tom Brechtlein and bassist Hussain Jiffry from LA; Latin vocalist Jandira Silva from South America; and saxmen Mornington Lockett and David Bitelli from the UK. Our spotlight today falls on West Coast Highway, a sprightly melody that features cool guitar licks and laid back piano all nicely accentuated by young Henry Armburg Jennings, who contributes the warm sound of his flugelhorn to the track!
CD: The Key of H
On - Jim Savitt:
New York City native and an alumnus of the Berklee School of Music, Jim Savitt is an accomplished guitarist, composer, & producer who stylistically draws from traditional and contemporary jazz while incorporating touches of groove & world music. Armed with a bachelor's degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology, Savitt operates his own Manhattan-based state of the art production facility in SaviTech Studio. In 2001, he gained international airplay with Hear & Now, his first full-length release recorded in collaboration with David Mann (Special EFX) and subsequently, he performed in such diverse locales as Cairo, Copenhagen, and Kingston. All of this led to Savitt's selection as the Sony Jazz New Artist Search Winner for 2004.
In the time since Hear & Now, Savitt has record-wise been involved in a number of different projects ranging from rock to pop and new age while most recently he's attempted to get back to jazz and the sound of the electric guitar with Second Light. Although several years between releases, it's readily apparent that Savitt is poised to build on the momentum he's already enjoyed with a cd that has the full potential to be one of the top break-thru releases for the year. From that effort, we've selected our fave from the disc, a chill/house-based excursion that leads us to say, "Groove on Jim! Groove On!"
CD: Second Light
Label: NightCast Records
Site: Jim Savitt ; NightCast Records
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :|
|On today's edition, we're continuing the tradition of boldly going where no radio program has gone before by devoting the entire segment to the music of one band. The year 2007, marked the 25th anniversary since Chieli Minucci and George Jinda first connected to create Special EFX, a project that grew into one of the seminal forces in smooth jazz. As Minucci & Jinda take over the spotlight, we're helping commemorate this milestone with over 80 full minutes of music from the ensemble as we present a selection from each Special EFX album - 17 trax presented in three sets and one of our most ambitious Then & Now features to date. Yes-sir-ee, we continue to ride the crest of the wave in Smooth Jazz entertainment!|
Then & Now Spotlight Artist: Special EFX
Special EFX: Chieli Minucci began studying classical piano at the age of five, but switched to the guitar when he was eight. A native New Yorker, Minucci attended Ithaca College, where he developed his unique approach to playing and where he became exposed to jazz. For his part, George Jinda too began on piano, starting when he was six, but by 10, he'd switched to drums. In his early years, the native of Budapest, Hungary, was inspired by jazz musicians such as Tony Williams & Jack DeJohnette and by African and South American rhythms - eventually George broadened his sphere to include a variety of percussive instruments. Then, in the mid 60s, the Jinda family moved to NYC where several years later Jinda connected with guitarist Chieli Minucci. After college, Minucci returned to "The Big Apple" whereupon he & Jinda met in 1982 during a series of jam sessions. The two hit if off and soon after they began laying the groundwork for what was to become one of contemporary instrumental's most endearing projects. Their debut album was initially released as Special Delivery only in Holland, and subsequently issued in 1984 as Special EFX after GRP showed interest in the project.
Minucci launched his solo career while Jinda took part in several varied projects including the release of Here to Stay, the only Special EFX's cd on which Minucci did not appear. Shortly thereafter, in 1997, Jinda, who had been dealing with combined conditions of asthma and diabetes for years, suffered a stroke that left him with a disabling neurological condition called myoclonic disorder, one from which he sadly never recovered.
PART 1: Features selections from each of the first six Special EFX albums - Much Too Soon, Mystical Remedies (see Mystical in Part 3 below), The Flow, When The Earth Was Flat, Just A Little Time, and Big Night Out, that latter track being from the 1989 Confidential release.
PART 2: Our second six-track set highlights the years 1990 thru until 1995 and features - Ballerina, Quiet Beauty, The Last Dance, Love Your Smile, Passions, and finally one that remains a personal all-time favourite, Seduction from Body Language.
PART 3: For the closing phase in our Then & Now feature and our mini-tribute to the music of Special EFX, we begin with Since You've Been Away upon which Chuck Loeb fills in on guitar in Minucci's absence. Oceanna, Everyone's A Star, and Mi Amore follow while Mystical, Minucci's final contribution to Sweet Surrender provides the spotlight finale. For the track, Minucci revisited Modern Manners, the second Special EFX release from 1985 for a complete redo of Mystical Remedies. The result is a highly rhythmic and funky melody that unifies the series of Special EFX releases and thereby underscores the band's relevance in the annals of contemporary instrumental music!
Click on the paw for complete mp3 audio streaming of the feature:
Site: Chieli Music/Special EFX