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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

January 27th, 2008
Edition #468 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
On today's edition, an excursion into the exotic with Keiko Matsui - we've selected a trio of tracks from her Moyo release and that will be part of the showcase segment. Hour 2 brings golden oldies and the Back Trax feature with more favourites from back in the day - this installment includes the legendary Gato Barbieri and guitarist Jim Adkins. We also have music from keyboardist Joe Ercole and T-Square out of Japan - while the group LA Jazz Syndicate rounds out the feature. Then a bit later in the hour, there's a dazzling array of current favourites - including Les Sabler, Lao Tizer, Hiroshima, and Darren Rahn while carefully strewn about various portions of the show are selections from Mike Catalano, Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, Terry Disley, and Norman Brown!
In This Issue:

Moyo - Keiko Matsui

The Shadow of the Cat - Gato Barbieri
Big City Dreams - Jim Adkins
Gerty's Dream - T-Square
Keep Me In Your Dreams - Joe Ercole
Summer Nights - L.A. Jazz Syndicate


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Showcase CD
Moyo - Keiko Matsui:

In a career that's quickly closing in on three-decades, Keiko Matsui has achieved a virtually unparalleled level of artistry while emerging as one the most respected performers in contemporary jazz. With sold-out performances around the world and well over one million units sold in the US alone, Matsui's latest cd brings her output total on this side of the Pacific to 21 releases. A few others have been issued exclusively in her native Japan, yet Moyo is the first that she has produced on her own. In May of 2006, Matsui traveled to South Africa where she had appeared many times before - however, the purpose of her visit on this occasion was somewhat different as she had in mind to spend some time in order to get the feel of how the people lived and to write some songs for her new record. She returned in September to start recording. Borrowing the title for the project from the Swahili for "heart and soul", the cd is a spiritual journey as Keiko shares her experiences chronicled thru her music.

Keiko Matsui - Moyo
As we thrust Keiko and Moyo into our showcase spotlight, we begin with the first of three selections chosen specifically for the occasion - the alluring Into The Night - upon which an old friendship is renewed with Gerald Albright, who first appeared on Night Waltz back in 1991, contributing sax to the track.
Keiko Matsui Courtesy of
Keiko Matsui.com
The veiled mysticism of Caricias opens hour 2 while for our finale we've reserved a tune featuring another old friend in Paul Taylor - Taylor toured with Keiko for a couple of years in the mid 90s and appeared on a pair of her albums: Sapphire 1995 & Dream Walk 1996. That element of camaraderie radiates on the purely Afro-flavored After the Rain, our closer! Recorded over the course of several months at studios ranging from Johannesburg and Tokyo to New York and LA, Moyo sees the blends of a variety of exotic elements that may well set the album apart as a landmark release in what to this point has already been a remarkable & highly significant career!

CD: Moyo
Label: Shout Factory
Site: Keiko Matsui

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Back Trax: Part One
Gato Barbieri - The Shadow of the Cat
The Shadow of the Cat - Gato Barbieri:
He began playing alto sax professionally as a teenager in the clubs of Buenos Aires and over the course of his five-decade career he's covered virtually the entire jazz spectrum, from free form and avante garde jazz in the mid-60s to his ultimate embrace of Latin music thru the 70s and beyond. In a career that's become legendary, he's one of only a handful of instrumentalists known by his nickname alone - he is The Cat, Gato Barbieri! Barbieri had clearly made his mark long before the release of his 2002 The Shadow of the Cat cd, yet we were drawn to this album for our segment. The project, produced by Grammy winner Jason Miles, was Gato's 50th release and earned Billboard's prestigious Latin Jazz Album of the Year while also garnering a Latin Grammy nomination. Additionally, the project saw a reunion of sorts, between Gato & Herb Alpert - in the late 70s, Barbieri had released five popular albums on Alpert's A&M Records. Now many years later, it was Alpert lending his distinctive style to three of the tunes on Gato's milestone project, including our selection for today's feature - the exchange between two of the icons in instrumental music is in a word, magical!

CD: The Shadow of the Cat (2002)
Label: Peak Records
Site: Gato Barbieri
Jim Adkins - Just Chillin
Big City Dreams - Jim Adkins:
Jim Adkins is an award winning songwriter and guitarist hailing from central Virginia who played with a regional rock act early in his career. Increasingly Adkins became interested in instrumental music and in 1998, he released his solo debut, which drew a fair bit of attention on the old mp3.com site, in fact that was when we here at The Café first latched onto his rich style & tone. The following year, he placed second in a Billboard song contest and that prompted the selection of that track for the mp3 compilation, 103 of the Best Songs You've Never Heard. This all paved the way for three subsequent releases, Straight Ahead (2000), Turning Point (2002), and most recently, License To Play (2004) - all have gained airplay in the US while additionally enjoying consideration on our own modest show. Currently, Jim has a new cd, his fifth, scheduled for release later this year; and, in anticipation, we're returning to Adkins' debut for the crisp lines of the very track that first grabbed our attention!

CD: Just Chillin (1998)
Label: Independent
Site: Jim Adkins

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Back Trax: Part Two
T-Square - Megalith
Gerty's Dream - T-Square :
For the most part, North American audiences were first exposed to the music of T-Square in 1988 with the release of the album Truth. In actuality, the band had formed nearly a dozen years earlier and had aggressively recorded in their native Japan since their Lucky Summer Lady 1978 debut, each release a certified gold or platinum selling. The band was originally known as The Square, having drawn that moniker from New York's famed Time Square, but following their first US tour in 1989, guitarist and group founder Masahiro Andoh officially chose the abbreviated tag for the ensemble. With reduced exposure due to the ever-changing climate in radio, T-Square's following on this side of the Pacific has tapered somewhat over the years. However, they've continued to record and perform and remain quite popular across Asia with many of their songs featured in commercials and a couple even being chosen as themes for the Tour de France! 2008 marks the band's 30th anniversary since their first release and in recognition we're helping commemorate the event by returning to the '92 Megalith cd, wherein the liner notes state, "In Japan as in America, jazz gives voice to what is really in the hearts of the people"! From that effort, Gerty's Dream gives voice to one of their finest!

CD: Megalith (1992)
Label: Columbia
Joe Ercole - Manhattan Nights
Keep Me In Your Dreams - Joe Ercole :
Keyboardist and Baltimore native Joe Ercole is an alumnus of Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music having graduated summa cum laude - an honor indicating achieving works of the highest distinction. In addition to playing on and sharing productions credits for the first two Bona Fide cds, Ercole has produced artist such as Stanley Turrentine, Greg Kihn, and Slim Man among others. He's won Emmy Awards for his TV scores and CLIO awards for his commercials, and while composing for documentaries, film, and TV, HBO's Sex and the City picked up five of his pieces.

It was back in 1999, while affiliated with Slim Man and the hip & funky band known as Bona Fide, that Ercole released Manhattan Nights. The project remains his one and only solo effort to date and was named as a nod to Manhattan, the locale to which his Italian grandparents originally immigrated and for which Ercole maintained a fondness. The nostalgia is evident on several tracks, but perhaps never runs as deeply as on our choice for the feature - the upbeat & optimistic Keep Me In Your Dreams!

CD: Manhattan Nights (1999)
Label: GES Records
Site: Joe Ercole
L.A. Jazz Syndicate - L.A. Jazz Syndicate 2

Summer Nights - L.A. Jazz Syndicate:
The L.A. Jazz Syndicate was never really a band but a concept project put together by the Brajo/Ichiban label that drew upon the collective talents of their associated artists and producers. Led producers Brian Peters and Joe Wolfe, who wrote most of the tracks and shared duties as recording and mix engineers, the first effort released in 1997, primarily featured Eddie Miller, Jerry Peters, and Ricky Lawson with Dean James, Paul Jackson Jr., & Herman Jackson occasionally chipping in on a track here or there. By the time 1999 had rolled around, the concept had grown with an expanded and more diverse roster sporting Carl Anderson, Gerald Albright, Rob Mullins, Jim Reid, and Nils. It's now a treat to present Summer Nights from the second cd to bear syndicate status - the track features Nils on the same tune that he reprised a few years later for his own Pacific Coast Highway release!

CD: L.A. Jazz Syndicate 2 (1999)
Label: BJG Entertainment/Navarre
Site: Nils

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
On this edition … our focus is fresh listening and includes 14 never-before-been-played selections. A quick run down of the line up reveals the latest from Brian Hughes, Joni Mitchell, and Patrick Yandall; more by Soul Ballet, Lisa Hilton, and Keith Jacobson. New to the show are Jesse J and Jeanne Ricks - as well as Mark Elliot, Fyord 7, and Patrick Bradley. Also appearing are harpist Lori Andrews and keyboardist Chris Geith while kicking off our musical bash is something from Chris Standring that arrived only minutes before we went to production!

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