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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

March 16th, 2008
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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
Your Café Jazz update ... it's Jimmy Sommers in the showcase spotlight as we spin selected tracks from the Sunset Collective release. Then get ready for golden oldies with the Back Trax segment in hour 2 and more favourites from back in the day. Headlining this edition, are Christoph Spendel and the legendary Chet Atkins - also appearing is the band Rhythm Logic and saxman Andrew Oh while keyboardist Rob Mullins, rounds out the feature. Then later in the hour, we've assembled a glitzy array - with Brian Hughes, Darren Motamedy, David Crawford, and Les Sabler, while thruout you'll find selections by Brian Culbertson, 3rd Force, and Norman Brown! Meanwhile launching our two-hour musical fiesta we're set to feature a fabulous selection by Marc Antoine from the Hi-Lo Split release!
In This Issue:

Sunset Collective - Jimmy Sommers

The Art of Cool - Christoph Spendel
Cruise Control - Andrew Oh
Tuesdays Love - Rhythm Logic
Sunrise - Chet Atkins
Island Girls - Rob Mullins


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Showcase CD
Sunset Collective - Jimmy Sommers:

Starting on sax in the fourth grade, Jimmy Sommers made his record debut a few years later as a featured soloist with his school band. While underage, Sommers used fake ID to sneak into some of Chicago's hotter nightspots where often he would wind up "sitting in", sometimes with blues legends such as Buddy Guy. While attending Southern Illinois on an industrial engineering scholarship, Sommers started his own band and after graduating, headed to LA to pursue his musical dreams. After graduating, Sommers headed to LA to pursue his dreams in music, but for a time he moonlighted as a model and as an actor before his career took off. Unable to garner much interest among the major labels, Sommers used his own cash to set up Gemini Records, releasing his James Café debut in 1997. Although the project was a modest success, Sommers officially rang in his arrival as a smooth jazz star in the new millennium with his own instrumental hit version of the 1976 Boz Scaggs smash Lowdown!

Jimmy Sommers - Sunset Collective
Sunset Collective, now Sommers's fourth release, represents the saxman's most progressive album and potentially his most successful effort to date. The project was inspired by a vacation Sommers took to Ibiza, a tiny isle off the coast of Spain, which has become a trendy destination of choice for beautiful people from around the world. Free spirits gather near dusk to watch awe-inspiring sunsets while local DJ's spin mood inducing music specifically selected to enhance the experience. The practice has spawned over 20 albums in the Café del Mar series of compilations. It's this ambience, which Sommers sought to capture with Sunset Collective!
Jimmy Sommers Photo courtesy of JimmySommers.com
Therefore, it's with the utmost pleasure that we now thrust Mr. Sommers into the dazzle of our showcase spotlight. We've chosen three distinctly delectable selections beginning with the suitably entitled The Islands! Exhibiting influences from jazz, soul, R&B, pop, and hip-hop to varying degrees, Out Of Nowhere, is a trippy and mood drenched groover that opens the disc and kicks off our second hour. Meanwhile, Sunset Collective spent somewhere around 15 weeks at the #1 spot on Smoothjazz.com's Indie Chart, to a large extent that success being fuelled by the track Happy Hour, a selection which we present as a fitting "cap" to the feature!

CD: Sunset Collective
Label: Gemini Records
Site: Jimmy Sommers

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Back Trax: Part One
Christoph Spendel - Flight 408
The Art of Cool - Christoph Spendel:
Well-known as one of the finest musicians on either side of the Atlantic, keyboardist Christoph Spendel resides in Schöneck Germany, just northeast of Frankfurt and not far from Düsseldorf. CS, as his promo literature refers to Spendel, is the prototype jazz musician, one who is equally at home with bebop, crossover fusion, and European classical music. For a time in the 90s, Spendel played and toured with the band Special EFX and beginning in '94, he commuted regularly between Europe and the US in connection with various aspects of his career. Additionally, Christoph was named a professor of music at the University of Frankfurt. While Spendel has continued to record a wide variety of jazz related projects, we're returning to the Flight 408 cd from 1998, flight 408 being the number of the Lufthansa nonstop flight connecting Dusseldorf and NYC, for the aptly named The Art of Cool!

CD: Flight 408 (1998)
Label: Blue Flame Records
Site: Christoph Spendel
Andrew Oh - Silk
Cruise Control - Andrew Oh:
Originally hailing from Singapore, for most of the 70s Andrew Oh worked in Hong Kong as a studio musician, backing the likes of Roberta Flack, Sammy Davis Jr., and the Bee Gees. In 1979, he moved to Italy, remaining there for nearly five years, working with many of that country's finest jazz musicians while also teaching at Milan's school for the arts. In the mid 80s, Oh relocated to Australia, where he's performed and recorded with artists such as Tommy Emmanuel, while supporting many international stars on their tours down under. In addition, he released his debut cd back in 2003 in collaboration with keyboardist Noel Elmowy. From the effort entitled Silk, we've selected the satiny sounds of a terrific tune called Cruise Control!

CD: Silk (2003)
Label: Ark Music

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Back Trax: Part Two
Rhythm Logic - Rhythm Logic
Tuesdays Love - Rhythm Logic :
One of the smooth jazz super groups from the 90s, Rhythm Logic was a four-piece combo comprised of veteran performers with well-established credentials. Drummer Michael White was an LA session mainstay to a litany of stars while the flawless keyboard work of Brian Simpson had graced several tours including those of Stanley Clarke, Najee, and George Benson; both had released well-received solo debuts earlier in the decade. Additionally, guitarist Ron Smith had sessioned with Patti LaBelle and George Howard, and along with Michael White, he co-wrote the title track for George Benson's That's Right cd. Meanwhile the talents of bassist Dwayne "Smitty" Smith, once a pro-bound athlete, landed him a gig touring with Anita Baker in support of her award-winning Rapture cd. Although Rhythm Logic recorded a pair of fine projects, they were never really accorded their due recognition. From their '99 self-titled debut, we've selected Tuesdays Love and a tune as refined as any back in the day!

CD: Rhythm Logic (1999)
Label: Zebra Records
Site: Rhythm Logic ; M White ; B Simpson ; "Smitty" Smith ; R Smith
Chet Atkins - Stay Tuned
Sunrise - Chet Atkins CGP :
With the Smoky Mountains as a backdrop, Chet Atkins grew up the youngest of four siblings in the tiny town of Luttrell, Tennessee. Music soon became a solace for the shy and asthmatic youngster who saw his parents divorce when he was six. He started on the ukulele, moved to the fiddle, and later traded an old pistol and chores for his first guitar. Moving to Georgia, because of his asthmatic condition, for a time Atkins lived with his father and while in high school, he began to develop a unique playing style. Using the first three fingers on his right hand to pick the melody while his thumb provided the bass, Atkins would practice in the school washroom because of the acoustics it afforded. After dropping out of high school in the early 40s, Atkins made a series of radio appearances but frequently, his complex playing style worked against him as execs complained he didn't sound country enough!
Nonetheless, Atkins's reputation as a first rate player continued to grow - by 1949 he became the studio guitarist for all the RCA Nashville sessions while the following year, he was hired as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry . In due course, Atkins prowess became legendary; he recorded hundreds of solo projects while taking part in several hundred more as a session musician and record producer. However, in the early 80s, Atkins began to feel handcuffed by his record company, which would not allow him branch into jazz. As a result, in 1982, Atkins signed with Columbia Records where he was afforded the opportunity to display his talent in a variety of contexts. Jazz had always been a strong love, and often in his career, country music purists had criticized Atkins for his jazz influences. The '85 Stay Tuned release saw Atkins team with many of the top guitarists of the day for a project that uniquely explored yet another avenue in his craft. From that effort, we have the opening track called Sunrise with none other than George Benson guesting on the selection!

CD: Stay Tuned (1985)
Label: Columbia Records
Site: Chet Atkins
Rob Mullins - Dance For The New World
Island Girls - Rob Mullins:
A versatile musician readily capable of playing both straight ahead as well as crossover jazz, Rob Mullins has enjoyed a productive career as a pianist, composer, leader, and educator. Hailing from Enid, Oklahoma, The Mullins family moved to Denver via Ontario, California by the time Rob was 14. Mullins began playing drums when he was 11, but after suffering a broken leg in a car accident, he switched to piano and formed his own jazz combo when he was 16. He attended the University of Northern Colorado, studied in New York for a time, started his own record company back in Denver, and eventually, relocated to Los Angeles where he became a fixture on the local scene. In addition to playing with his own group, Mullins has worked with notables such as Branford Marsalis, the Crusaders - filling in for Joe Sample for three years, The Rippingtons, and Diane Schuur - and, while recording 16 solo albums in a 25-year period, he's consistently cut across many of the so-called boundaries between the various forms of jazz. From the '97 Dance for a New World release, we've selected a track we feel ranks among his finest - a jazzy and rhythmic mover called Island Girls with Eric Marienthal guesting!

CD: Dance For The New World (1997)
Label: Zebra Records
Site: Rob Mullins

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
This week on After Hours .... our focus swings to fresh listening with 13 selections new to the show - on this installment: the latest from Gerald Veasley and Soul Ballet; more from Bob Baldwin, Marcos Ariel, Jeff Kashiwa, and Mike Catalano. Be listening as well for additional selections by Chris Geith, the band East of West, Keith Jacobson, and Kevin Kooyumjian. Also appearing - Darryl Williams and Patrick Yandall, while launching proceedings, there's something by Chris Standring - right here on the home to all the hippest sounds around!

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