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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

September 14th, 2008
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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
... it's veterans Richard Frank and Ronnie Kaufman in the spotlight as Present Tense - we've cued selected tracks from Smooth Talkin' and we'll be spinning those as part of the showcase feature. Hour 2 brings the Back Trax segment with more favourites from back in the day. And as we peel the calendar pages away, headlining this edition are Kirk Whalum and legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo - also appearing is keyboardist Jay Rowe, while the band Vibraphonic and guitarist Jim Savitt round it out. Then be sure to check back just a bit later in the same hour for a snazzy batch of current favourites with Les Sabler, Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, Oli Silk, and Jay Soto, while sprinkled thruout are Jessy J, Doc Powell, Jesse Cook, and Bernard Oattes!
In This Issue:

Smooth Talkin' - Present Tense

Can't Get Enough - Vibraphonic
The Way Home - Jim Savitt
Now 'Til Forever - Kirk Whalum
Jay Walking - Jay Rowe
La Samba - Pete Escovedo

Then & Now - Denny Jiosa
SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD:
Smooth Talkin' - Present Tense:

Laying down the grooves that define the sound of Present Tense are Richard Frank on acoustic bass and Ronnie Kaufman on drums - Kaufman being the original drummer in the GAP Band who toured with the group and played on 5 or so of their albums. Among other accolades, Present Tense was named best jazz artist by the LA Music Awards and, while their live show has been drawing rave reviews, PT's studio efforts maintain that same level of integrity and intensity. Their Night Shadows debut was released back in 2002 and although it's been some 6 years between, their recently issued Smooth Talkin' sophomore effort sees the pair pick up where they left off! Surrounding themselves with players of the highest calibre, the PT sound is augmented by Eric Marienthal and Alex Acuna, each appears on a couple of tracks, while Chad Edwards, a steady player for their SoCal gigs, plays keys thruout. Describing their vibe as organic, Frank and Kaufman recorded the main tracks live in the studio with tight real-time interaction between the musicians!

Present Tense - Smooth Talkin'
Meanwhile, contributing to the cause and in charge of mixing are Gregg Karukas and John Leftwich while Ron Boustead handles mastering - the result is a project that is nothing less than superb - ultra-polished yet powerful. Therefore, it is indeed with great pleasure that we present Messrs Frank and Kaufman as Present Tense with Smooth Talkin' as the focus for our showcase feature! Our initial sampling consist of Cool Breeze track #8 on the disc with John Enrico Douglas on piano and Carlyle Barriteau on guitar both chipping in - this is heady stuff, substance delivered with loads of style. Next up and opening hour 2, we have one called Groove - aided by the aforementioned pairing of Douglas and Barriteau, Marienthal doubles on sax and flute on a beautifully intricate yet delicate melody - in a phrase, this track is incredibly sweet!
Kaufman & Frank as Present Tense Present Tense
Ronnie Kaufman and Richard Frank
Then as the show closer, we have a showstopper that has us grinning from ear to ear! Fittingly entitled Smiles, this one moves right along and features an eight-man combo jamming tightly with some great soloing from both Marienthal and Douglas! But there's more! Just when you thought it was over, we reprise our mini-tribute to Present Tense & Smooth Talkin' during the After Hours portion of the show with the reggae-inflected ease of Bel Aire Drive! These tracks, and a few others, well stand the test of repeated listens, leading in turn to broader appreciation of both the music and the musicianship - and if nothing else, isn't that what the listening experience is really all about!?!

CD: Smooth Talkin' (2008)
Label: PT Records
Site: Present Tense

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Back Trax: Part One
Vibraphonic - 2
Can't Get Enough - Vibraphonic:
It was UK vibe player Roger Beaujolais, who convinced Acid Jazz Records to bankroll the recording of a track that appeared under the name Vibraphonic on a 1990 compilation. The success of the project and a subsequent track, eventually led to a full album, which debuted to worldwide release in 1993. The follow-up effort, appropriately titled Vibraphonic 2, was issued a couple of years later yielding the single Can't Get Enough, which nestled comfortably into the #1 spot for 4 weeks on the US charts. With a bit of ever so tasty saxwork courtesy of Mark Lockheart, we have that track for you today!

CD: 2 (1995)
Label: Hollywood Records
Site: Beaujolais/Vibraphonic
Jim Savitt - The Way Home
The Way Home - Jim Savitt:
An alumnus of Berklee in Boston, Savitt draws from both traditional and contemporary jazz while incorporating touches of groove & world music. Additionally, Savitt earned a bachelor's degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology and now operates his own Manhattan-based state of the art production facility. Recently, Savitt released Second Light, a project that has gained considerable airplay on our humble show while proving to a great follow-up to his 2001 Hear & Now release, his first full-length release. However, it has come to our attention that Mr. Savitt did in fact have a cd that pre-dates that project, an EP called The Way Home that was released in 1998. Naturally, it behooves us to keep all our Jim Savitt fans up to date in that regard and as such, from that effort, we've selected the great title track!

CD: The Way Home (1998)
Label: Independent
Site: Jim Savitt

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Back Trax: Part Two
Kirk Whalum - Unconditional
Now 'Til Forever - Kirk Whalum:
After attending Texas Southern in Houston on a scholarship, Kirk Whalum built a strong following as a sideman. In the course of events, he started his own band and in that regard, his reputation grew so that he soon became the main opening act for visiting jazz shows. In 1983, he opened for Bob James and within a couple of weeks, the native of Memphis found himself in New York City, soloing on James' new album. Whalum joined James and his touring band and eventually signed a deal that led to the release of his 1985 solo debut. He's gone on to become one of the most respected saxplayers in contemporary music with hundreds of session dates and seven Grammy Nominations. With a career that straddles both contemporary gospel as well as smooth jazz, we've selected one of our favourites in the track Now 'Til Forever!

CD: Unconditional (2000)
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Site: Kirk Whalum ; Kirk'sSpace
Jay Rowe - Jay Walking
Jay Walking - Jay Rowe:
Well prone to flashes of brilliance, for most of his career keyboardist Jay Rowe has been content to back top smooth jazzers such as Ken Navarro, Marion Meadows, and Chieli Minucci. In addition, the Milford Connecticut native has performed at a variety of festivals with his own band while opening for the likes of David Benoit, The Rippingtons, and Jeff Lorber. Noted for his creativity and the melodic nature of his phrasing, Rowe is a headliner in his own right having issued four projects under his name alone. From his '97 sophomore album, Jay struts his stuff on the title track!

CD: Jay Walking (1997)
Label: Positive Music
Site: Jay Rowe ; JaySpace
Pete Escovedo - E Music
La Samba - Pete Escovedo:
After discovering that the sax was definitely not his calling, Pete Escovedo tried a set of bongos homemade out of coffee cans and tape while in junior high. Married with four children, Escovedo worked during the day while playing music at night in order to make ends meet. In time, he and his brothers Coke and Phil formed The Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz Sextet. After years as a journeyman musician, Escovedo's big break came when he connected with Carlos Santana; he toured with Santana for three years while also recording three albums with the guitar icon. He's since gone on to play with greats such as, Herbie Hancock, Woody Herman, Stephen Stills, Billy Cobham, Anita Baker, and many many more in a variety of genres. Additionally, he's won numerous awards while recording nearly a dozen albums under his own. From the 2000 release entitled E Music, we've selected the Ray Obiedo composition La Samba with Ray guesting on guitar while the saxwork is courtesy of Justo Almario!

CD: E Music (2000)
Label: Concord Records
Site: Pete Escovedo ; E Space

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
On this edition ... we've gone to each of Denny Jiosa's releases for a 6-pack of tracks for Then & Now and that's just over a dozen minutes into the hour. Otherwise, there's some fresh listening that includes new music from Chris Standring, Nate Harasim, and saxman Jaared, as well as from Vibes Alive and from the authors of our showcase cd in Present Tense. Also appearing is the band Airborne with their Café Jazz debut; but, to begin, there's something new (of course) from Earl Klugh - as we weigh anchor for a 60-minute musical cruise!
Then & Now Spotlight Artist: Denny Jiosa

Denny Jiosa - Moving Pictures Moving Pictures
Blue Orchid
Denny Jiosa - Inner Voices Inner Voices
Blue Orchid
Denny Jiosa - Jazzberry Pie Jazzberry Pie
Blue Orchid
Denny Jiosa - Among Friends Among Friends
1201 Music
Denny Jiosa - Body2Body Body2Body
1201 Music
Denny Jiosa - Dreams Like This Dreams Like This
Sonic Canvas

Denny Jiosa: A native of Huntington, Indiana, Denny Jiosa was about seven when he began on guitar; by 13, he was playing school dances, and then later while in high school, he added trumpet, French horn, and bass to his repertoire. His earliest influences included Steely Dan and Santana, although later that broadened to include others such as Wes Montgomery! In the mid 80s, Jiosa moved to LA to attend GIT while further honing his chops by studying privately with the renowned Frank Gambale.

Denny Jiosa photo by Chris Nochowicz Denny Jiosa photo by Chris Nochowicz
Courtesy of DennyJiosa.com
After relocating to Nashville, Jiosa did a variety of sessions before accepting a management position at a recording studio - in this capacity, he garnered three Grammy nominations for his work with gospel vocalist Yolanda Adams. In the meantime, Jiosa launched his solo career in 1995 with Moving Pictures, a top ten album. Meanwhile his Inner Voices issued the following year went all the way to #5 spurred largely by the success of the single Lights of the City, which remains Jiosa's biggest hit to date. Subsequently, Jazzberry Pie, Among Friends, and Body2Body have all met with critical acclaim! The recently issued Dreams Like This, now Jiosa's 6th release over-all, is one that he considers to be his defining moment - a product of five years of work as well as one that captures his tastes and influences with elements of straight-ahead jazz, Latin, smooth jazz, and some slightly more cinematic "themes".

This brings us to the case in point, as from the perspective of our humble show, we could think of no better way to acknowledge Mr. Jiosa and his superb body of work than with a nod to each of those 6 releases. Starting with his '95 debut, from the cd Moving Pictures, there's the track I'll Take You There - that's followed by Lights of the City, Takin' the Backroads, Among Friends the title track, Dreaming in Blue, and finally Chill Pill. Each provides a unique & meaningful glimpse into the songbook of Denny Jiosa - a great guitar player instantly identifiable by an incredible tone and the sumptuous detail in his playing!

Site: Denny Jiosa

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