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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

May 11th, 2008
Edition #483 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
... it's saxlady Jessy J in the show case spotlight, and we'll be spinning selected tracks from her Tequila Moon debut as part of that feature. Hour 2, bring more Fresh Trax with all the latest and best in new music. Headlining this edition are keyboardists Rob Mullins and Gail Jhonson while new to our show are trumpeter Allistair Elliott, guitarist Lawson Rollins, and bassman Stevie Williams out of the UK. Then later that same hour, there's a retro pack with Duncan Millar, Roberto Perera, David Lanz, and Greg Vail, while the remainder of the show is peppered with choice selections courtesy of Norman Brown, Brian Simpson, Michael Franks, and San Diego saxman Jason Weber!
In This Issue:

Tequila Moon - Jessy J

My Soldier - Gail Jhonson
Midnight Waltz - Allistair Elliott
Café Jobim - Lawson Rollins
Back In The Day - Rob Mullins
Living Under The Sun - Stevie Williams

Special Feature - Midnight Cruise

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Showcase CD:
Tequila Moon - Jessy J:

On her debut release, saxlady Jessy J taps into the richness of her Mexican-American heritage serving up a potent blend of Latin beats seasoned with samba rhythms and a cd that is within a whisker of catapulting to the coveted #1 spot on several of the smooth charts. Born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Hemet, California, Jessy fell in love with music when she was four and started piano shortly thereafter. Considered no less than a prodigy, she spent much of her childhood as a competitive artist - by 15, she was named California Piano State Champion while playing with The Grammy Band and performing at Montreux. Meanwhile, right around the fifth grade, Jessy also took up sax for her school band little suspecting that it would become the primary vehicle for her musical expression. Six years at Idyllwild Arts Summer Academy supplemented her dedication, and helped get her into USC. Graduating "Most Outstanding Jazz Student" in the class of 2001, Jessy was soon recording with artists such Michael Bublé and touring with The Temptations, Jessica Simpson, & Michael Bolton.

Jessy J - Tequila Moon
In 2004, the multi-talented Ms. J joined the off-Broadway production "Blast!" performing as an actress, singer, dancer and saxplayer. A two-year tour with the show saw Jessy perform thruout the U.S., while also appearing in London and Tokyo. Along the way, she began to dream about recording her own project and worked toward hooking up with Paul Brown, the top producer in smooth jazz. Drawing inspiration from the tenor techniques of Boney James and Joe Henderson, she honed her chops, so that now this combination of factors and events sees Ms J's mature and polished style on display on Tequila Moon!
Jessy J Promo Jessy J Promo
As such, it is indeed a pleasure to nudge Jessy J and Tequila Moon into our showcase spotlight - we've selected three exceptional tracks beginning with the swinging samba-flavoured Sin Ti/Without You! The sensuous lead single and title track eases us into our second hour while the zesty Fiesta Velada keeps the party flowing into the night. Combining jazz sensibilities & pop melodies with warmth, taste, and charm, the intoxicating Tequila Moon, makes Ms J an early favourite as the break-thru artist for 2008!

CD: Tequila Moon
Label: Peak Records
Site: Jessy J ; Ms J/Concord ; J's Space

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Gail Jhonson - Pearls
My Soldier - Gail Jhonson:
Hailing from Philadelphia, Gail Jhonson earned a BA in composition while attending Berklee in Boston and in 1985, successfully auditioned for Morris Day. Relocating to LA shortly thereafter, Jhonson has worked with Jermaine Jackson, Bobby Womack, & Milli Vanilli, while touring and recording with notables such as Vanessa Williams & Phil Perry. In addition, Gail has scored several stage plays & as well as writing a couple of instructional manuals. Presently Ms Jhonson splits her time between positions at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, and as the music director for Norman Brown. Pearls is album #3 from Jhonson and her most recent release - from it, we've selected the sparkling groove-inflected My Soldier all nicely highlighted by Jhonson's own tantalizing technique!

CD: Pearls
Label: NuGroove Music
Site: Gail Jhonson ; Jhonson/NuGroove
Allistair Elliott - Urban Nights
Midnight Waltz - Allistair Elliott:
Born in Belfast, Elliott performed in London and Vienna at the age of 17 before earning a degree from the Leeds College of Music. His performing credits include The Drifters and The Temptations to name just a few and since having relocated to Calgary, Elliott has recorded numerous TV and radio jingles and written for the movie, Friend of the Family. Additionally, Elliott recently issued Urban Nights, now his second release, receiving three nominations and winning a smoothie as best Wind Instrumentalist of the Year at the recent 2008 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. From that effort, we have the rhythmic and catchy Midnight Waltz featuring fellow nominee Kristian Alexandrov on keys. As far as smooth jazz projects coming out of Canada are concerned, they really don't come much finer. Stay tuned - we've cued several exceptional selections for the weeks ahead!

CD: Urban Nights
Label: Chronograph Records
Site: Allistair Elliott ; AE's Space

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Lawson Rollins - Infinita
Café Jobim - Lawson Rollins :
Lawson Rollins had aspired to be a drummer since the age of eight, but after hearing the great Andres Segovia while he was in his mid teens, he put aside those dreams and instead dedicated himself to excelling at classical guitar. He soon developed his digital dexterity and a "voice", but in time, his "keen sense of rhythm, knack for composition, and love of improvisation led him away from the classical repertoire and in the direction of the rhythmically enticing Spanish folk" and Latin jazz styles. Now, after four cds as one-half of the guitar fusion duo Young & Rollins, Lawson recently issued his debut and from it, we have Café Jobim with Flora Purim guesting!

CD: Infinita
Label: Infinita Records
Site: Lawson Rollins ; Rollins/Space ; Y&R/Space
Rob Mullins - Storyteller
Back In The Day - Rob Mullins :
Keyboardist Rob Mullins has enjoyed a productive career as a pianist, composer, leader, and educator. He began playing drums when he was 11, but after suffering a broken leg, Mullins switched to piano forming his own jazz combo when he was just 16. Eventually relocating to LA, he became a fixture on the local scene. Having worked with Branford Marsalis, The Rippingtons, Diane Schuur, and The Crusaders (he filled in for Joe Sample for three years), Mullins has garnered a reputation as a versatile player capable of both straight-ahead as well as crossover jazz. Additionally, Mr. Mullins has recorded numerous projects, now well into the double digits, while consistently cutting across many of the so-called boundaries between the various jazz camps. Storyteller is the new one as he continues "to blur the lines between traditional and contemporary jazz, R&B, funk, classical and even be-bop" - from that effort, we have the track Back In The Day!

CD: Storyteller
Label: Rob Mullins Ent.
Site: Rob Mullins ; Mullins/Space
Stevie Williams - 4 a.m.
Living Under The Sun - Stevie Williams:
Stevie Williams was self-taught on piano, and took a few trumpet lessons starting at the age of 12, before being turned on by the sounds of the bass while listening to soul records. He attended Music College and got his first big break when he joined a jazz trio working onboard the QE2 cruise liner sailing out of New York - it proved an invaluable learning experience. Now back in the UK, Williams has issued several releases that range from Soul and R&B to Jazz with 4 AM as his new one. From that effort, the Reggae-tinged Living Under the Sun has us moving and grooving to the syncopated rhythms and melody of an absolutely killer track!

CD: 4 a.m.
Label: Time On Earth Records
Site: Stevie Williams ; Stevie's Space

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
As part of our continuing mission to boldly go where no radio program has gone before... we're serving up a second installment wherein every track has "midnight" as part of its title. We first did this a couple of weeks back, liked what we heard and decided to come at it again with what we're calling our Midnight Cruise special! Included are bewitching selections from Steve Reid, Greg Adams, Joe McBride, Soul Ballet, and David Benoit. Also featured are midnight hour favourites by Ken Navarro, Dotsero, Paul Hardcastle, Brian Simpson, and Tommy Emmanuel. While ringing in that magical hour are Jay Soto, Gil Parris, Torben Oxbol, and Danny McCollim with the namesake selection for the presentation! So it's anchors away as we set sail on our Midnight Cruise Special!

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