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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

March 23rd, 2008
Edition #476 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
Your Café Jazz Update! On this show, we're spotlighting the exotic sounds of keyboardist Omar Akram and the Secret Journey cd - we have 3 great tracks that we're playing as part of that feature. Then get ready for the latest and best in new music on the Fresh Trax segment. Headlining this edition, are Steve Oliver and Bob Baldwin; we have the latest as well from Gerald Veasley while saxman Jaared and Dr. Guy's Musiqology round out the feature. Then later that same hour we've injected a retro pack of classics that includes Ray Garand, Kevin Toney, Glenn McNulty, and Greg Adams - while the remainder of the show is peppered with choice selections from Chris Standring, Chieli Minucci, the band Fourplay and others!
In This Issue:

Secret Journey - Omar Akram

Dorcas's Lament - Dr. Guy's MusiQologY
Jamaican Winds - Jaared
She's All That - Bob Baldwin
Traveling Light - Gerald Veasley
On The Upside - Steve Oliver

Special Feature - Island Time

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Showcase CD:
Secret Journey - Omar Akram:

New York-born Omar Akram grew up traveling the world as the son of a UN diplomat living in such diverse locales as France, Cuba, Afghanistan, and the Czech Republic. Even as a young child, Omar was fascinated by instrumental music and so when he was six and residing in Prague, he began taking piano lessons from was one of the top teachers in the Czech Republic. His early influences were classical, but while 14 and living in Cuba, he also developed a deep love for Latin rhythms. Upon returning to the US, Akram discovered the music of the great electronic sound-scapists of the day in Jean Michel Jarre, Kitaro, and Vangelis - these all became very important in the development of Akram's musical identity. A few years later, soloists such as George Winston and David Lanz brought Akram full circle and back to the sound of the acoustic piano. These influences now are neatly interwoven in Akram's musical creations, as tapestries of sweeping scope and exacting detail!

Omar Akram - Secret Journey
Omar's 2002 debut went Top 15 on Billboard's New Age chart, while Akram recruited the expertise of Gregg Karukas to produce half of his sophomore release which followed a couple of years later. This strategy paid off in that project being ranked the #2 contemporary instrumental album for the year by the Wind & Wire. Reprising his partnership with Karukas, Akram now delivers Secret Journey, his third and arguably most refined effort to date. The album is to say the least, an exotic affair for which Omar's motivation was to provide a musical escape, particularly for those unable to get away physically from the pressures of their daily lives. Some of the compositions capture the heritage of Akram's Afghani ancestors - however, untied to the culture of any particular region, he incorporates a wide array of world flavours! Therefore, it's with distinct pleasure that we now thrust Omar Akram and Secret Journey into the soft glimmer of our showcase spotlight! We've selected a trio of tracks that range from the alluring to the mystical and begin with a tune inspired by the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World!
Omar Akram Photo courtesy of OmarAkram.com
Called Seven Secrets, it's a gorgeous piece that features a gathering of world-class musicians in the likes of Gregg Karukas, Ardeshir Farah, and Charlie Bisharat! The romantic strains of Nomadic Rhapsody open hour 2 highlighted by an intricate exchange between Akram, Farah, and Bisharat - all nicely grounded by the supportive percussive rhythms of Ron Wagner. Finally, on Run Away With Me, our closing selection, Akram attains unparalleled levels of artistry while fashioning exquisite melodies and sculpting a listening experience that is without equal!

CD: Secret Journey
Label: Real Music
Site: Omar Akram

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Dr. Guy's MusiQologY - Why the Q?
Dorcas's Lament - Dr. Guy's MusiQologY:
Dr. Guy's MusiQologY is the musical alias for Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. A Ph.D. graduate from the University of Michigan, Ramsey is currently Associate Professor of Music History at the University of Pennsylvania. He's also taught at Harvard and Princeton while specializing in several disciplines including African-American music and jazz. In addition, Ramsey fronts the band Dr. Guy's MusiQologY, which moves beyond traditional jazz by fusing elements of R&B, Latin, and Hip Hop. Y the Q? is the debut and from it we have the track Dorcas's Lament!

CD: Why the Q?
Label: Ramsey Records
Jaared - Addiction
Jamaican Winds - Jaared:
Chronically suffering from asthma as a child, Jaared Arosemena was six when a doctor advised he learn a wind instrument to help strengthen his lungs. From then on, music became his passion and by the time he turned 18, Jaared had earned all-national player recognition in the USA. With a style influenced by David Sanborn and other top players of the day, Jaared toured with Maysa and other notables such as Peter While before launching his own solo career. His debut garnered Jaared consideration as Best New Artist of the Year for 2002 - Addiction now being his third and latest release. From that effort, we've selected Jamaican Winds with Steve Oliver guesting!

CD: Addiction
Label: Trippin 'n' Rhythm Records
Site: Jaared

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Bob Baldwin - NewUrbanJazz.com
She's All That - Bob Baldwin :
At a clip of nearly one label for every release, Bob Baldwin now marks his Nu Groove Records debut with NewUrbanJazz.com, his twelfth project in a string that extends back to the early 90s. Baldwin's sophomore release reached #7 on the charts and thereby established him as a force in the contemporary movement. Over the years, he's solidified that position by collaborating with many of the genre's top talents - including the late Grover Washington Jr., and Pieces of a Dream. Subsequently, Baldwin relocated to Atlanta where he embarked on a four-year stint touring with Marion Meadows while continuing to advance his solo career. With the release of his latest effort, Baldwin affirms his course in music, a path that he's trodden successfully for quite some time, although perhaps not quite with the fullness of his present conviction. From the NewUrbanJazz.com release, we've selected She's All That, upon which Baldwin is joined by Marion Meadows on sax and Ragan Whiteside on flute. The result is a genuine gem with the full potential to become a modern-day classic!

CD: NewUrbanJazz.com
Label: NuGroove Records
Site: Bob Baldwin ; Baldwin/NuGroove
Gerald Veasley - Your Move
Traveling Light - Gerald Veasley :
After being initially exposed to gospel and R&B, Gerald Veasley discovered jazz and in particular, came to appreciate the music of Weather Report and Return to Forever. The Philadelphia native earned a full four-year academic scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania and after graduating, he embarked on the first of several high-profile sideman gigs. In short order, Veasley backed Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie and followed that with a stint with his longtime friend and mentor, the late Grover Washington Jr. In 1988, Veasley was hired by Weather Report's Joe Zawinul continuing in that capacity thru until 1995. In the meantime, Veasley issued his solo debut in 1992. Your Move now brings Veasley's release total to eight, all of which have been on the Heads Up label. From this most recent effort, we've selected a track co-written by Veasley and label mate Chuck Loeb with Loeb also contributing guitar to the excellent Traveling Light!

CD: Your Move
Label: Heads Up International
Site: Gerald Veasley
Steve Oliver - One Night Live
On The Upside - Steve Oliver:
Perennial Café Jazz fave Steve Oliver is back with the latest installment in a career that we feel is quickly approaching superstar status. In the process of showcasing Oliver's 3D release back in November of 2004, we remarked; "Steve Oliver's combination of talent and energy is indeed a rare commodity in music and as such, it's really no wonder that Oliver is quickly becoming a star attraction in the Smooth Jazz genre." Additionally noting, "He loves what he does, and that vitality is embodied in his albums & in his live performances".

Was it clairvoyance or simply just being a bit ahead of the times? Regardless, it appears that a majority of what was then writ is now readily applicable to Oliver's forthcoming cd/dvd project entitled One Night Live. From that effort, we're featuring the first single to radio in On The Upside with Warren Hill guesting. The track represents vintage Steve Oliver in a live setting and is definitely one to be savoured!

CD: One Night Live
Label: SOM Entertainment
Site: Steve Oliver

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
This week .... something just a bit different as we take a unique approach to song selection. Every track on this edition has "island" as part of it's title so we're calling the entire segment Island Time. Our line-up includes music from The Rippingtons, Paul Hardcastle, Acoustic Alchemy, Shakatak, and Ronny Jordan. Included as well are Daryl Stuermer, Kevin Kooyumjian, Michael Franks, Ronny Jordan, and Shilts. Meanwhile a definite program highlight has to be the selection from Terry Disley that lent it's name to this feature!

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