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This Week at Café

January 25th, 2009
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This Week at ...
... featured is keyboardist Oli Silk with his sophomore release entitled The Limit's The Sky - we've cued a trio of tracks and we'll be spinning those as part of the spotlight segment. Hour 2, sees us trip down memory lane with a 5-pack of classic tunes on Back Trax. This time we've cracked into the archives and dusted off selections by Loggins & Messina and from Nils - also appearing are Tim Weisberg and Kenny Garrett while Onaje Allan Gumbs rounds things out!

Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards !
On-line voting for the CSJA has begun; anyone with an email address is eligible to vote ... and just a reminder that your humble host has been nominated in the Broadcaster of the Year category!
In This Issue:

The Limit's The Sky - Oli Silk

Simply Said - Kenny Garrett
Pathway to Glory - Loggins & Messina
Midsummer's Night - Tim Weisberg
Quiet Passion - Onaje Allan Gumbs
Cruisin' - Nils

Special Feature - Soul Dance
SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
The Limit's The Sky - Oli Silk:

Hailing from London's west end, Oli Silk began playing keys at 11 and by 13, he'd already showed a keen interest in music production. Thru his teens, he played a variety of gigs while his first excursion into smooth jazz was collaborating with bassist and long-time friend Danny Sugar. The two connected as what else but Sugar & Silk and released a pair of albums. Oli next surfaced in 2004, this time on the debut from sax man James Vargas, producing the album, and appearing on all the tracks. The record, released in the US, was well received resulting in a Vargas / Silk appearance at Art Good's Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. This nicely set the stage for Oli's own 2006 debut, which among other accolades, gained distinction for Oli as the Café Jazz break-thru artist for the year. Now with a couple more years within in which to grow and further hone his already prodigious chops, Silk is back with his sophomore project!

Oli Silk - The Limit's The Sky
Oli Silk at Pizza ExpressOli Silk at London's Pizza
Express - photo courtesy of
Oli's Facebook page!
Optimistically entitled The Limit's The Sky, this latest effort shows Oli poised for broader recognition; in fact, the first single to radio has already cracked R&R's nearly impenetrable top 30! It's therefore with extreme pleasure & delight that we now ease Oli & his limitless release into the gleam of our showcase spotlight - and to begin we've selected Chill or Be Chilled, the same track that's recently forayed onto the charts! Getting us back to stress free listening at the top of our second hour, is the play on words track aptly dubbed De-Stress Signal - saxman & label mate Jaared chips in on this one. While in the end the Jeff Lorber penned Seventh Heaven, and our fave on the disc, quite literally takes us to a hallowed and higher place. So there you have it, a fine if not stunning trio of tracks that do quite nicely show, that in so far as Mr. Silk and The Limit's The Sky are concerned, the sky is indeed the limit!

CD: The Limit's The Sky (2008)
Label: Trippin 'n' Rhythm Records
Site: Silk/Space

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Back Trax: Part One
Kenny Garrett - Simply Said
Simply Said - Kenny Garrett:
Saxman Kenny Garrett is a Detroit native who enjoyed a series of high profile sideman gigs with the likes of Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Freddie Hubbard before emerging in the mid-'80s, as an exciting soloist. He really came into his own with his '97 Grammy-nominated Songbook release, which for the first time was comprised entirely of his own compositions. Following on that success was Simply Said a couple of years later, whose title track proved very popular as a cross-over hit in smooth jazz and we have that for you today!

CD: Simply Said (1999)
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Site: Kenny Garrett ; Garrett/Space
Loggins & Messina - Full Sail
Pathway to Glory - Loggins & Messina:
Kenny Loggins was a songwriter who had a batch of his compositions recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, while Jim Messina was a producer & performer of some repute with appearance credits that included Buffalo Springfield and Poco. They connected for what was to be Loggins' debut, but somewhere along the way, the project became a collaborative effort released in 1972 as Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In. The album went gold and charted for more than two years. Subsequently the duo released a series of popular albums with the single Your Mama Don't Dance as their biggest hit - in the process they became the most successful pop/rock combo of the early '70s. But lest you think we've changed our name to Café Pop, we haven't - as we've opted for a track, little known, from 1974 and the Full Sail release. It's a rousing 8-minute opus called Pathway to Glory and one of the finest creative gems from that era!

CD: Full Sail (1973)
Label: Columbia Records
Site: Loggins ; Messina

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Back Trax: Part Two
Tim Weisberg - Night Rider
Midsummer's Dream - Tim Weisberg:
In 1996, Tim Weisberg scored a modest smooth jazz hit with Herbie's Blues from the Undercover cd, yet the flautist had been making a name for himself for nearly 3-decades. After appearing in 1969 on the final Monkees album to feature Mike Nesmith, and after backing fellow flautist Paul Horn a couple of years later, Tim Weisberg launched his solo career in 1971. With classical influences and an ability to appeal to both contemporary and pop audiences, thru the 70s and 80s Weisberg released a string of projects that invariably made Billboard's Top 30 Jazz Albums. In 1978, he teamed with Dan Fogelberg for the landmark Twin Sons of Different Mothers, a partnership they reprised nearly 20 years later for the '95 No Resemblance Whatsoever. After the issue of Time Traveller, a compilation chronicling Weisberg's 30-year career, which remains his most recent release, Weisberg has appeared in supporting roles, backing the likes of David Benoit and Dave Mason. On this occasion, we return to one of his earlier projects, the '79 Night Rider release, for the moody Midsummer's Dream and a great sample of Tim's style & playing!

CD: Night Rider (1979)
Label: MCA
Site: Tim Weisberg
Onaje Allan Gumbs - That Special Part Of Me
Quiet Passion - Onaje Allan Gumbs:
A native of Harlem-Queens in New York City, Onaje Allan Gumbs acquired a taste for jazz listening to the music Henry Mancini scored for the 60s TV series Peter Gunn. He studied music in both high school and college, and attended the Manhattan School of Art. With an appreciation for various genres, the versatile Gumbs soon became in demand as a session player, arranger, and producer. In 1974, one of his arrangements was part of a Carnegie Hall concert honoring Miles Davis; that same year, he performed on a project by Woody Shaw. The following year, Onaje (pronounced Oh-Nah-Jay) joined trumpeter Nat Adderley for a project or two, which in turn led to Gumbs' own solo debut in 1976. While continuing to record on his own Gumbs' 1985 arrangement of the Stanley Jordan track Lady in My Life remains a career highlight and in addition to his work with Norman Connors, Angela Bofill, Sadao Watanabe, and others, Gumbs has twice been featured NPR's Piano Jazz. This time out we have the ultra-seductive Quiet Passion (later covered by Pieces of a Dream)!

CD: That Special Part Of Me (1990)
Label: Zebra
Site: Gumbs/Space ; Gumbs/ReverbNation
Nils - Blue Planet
Cruisin' - Nils:
Undoubtedly, "the" smooth jazz story for all of 2005 was Nils with Pacific Coast Highway. Although the album & the track were at the top of just about every year-end best of list, this belay the fact the German-born guitarist had been honing his craft on the LA circuit for many years. Taking up guitar as a teen, the limited opportunities Nils found in his homeland made him decide to relocate to Southern California in the mid 80s. While making inroads in film and TV, he also taught guitar and did some session work playing rhythm. After appearing on George Benson's '98 Standing Together, Nils released his own debut later that same year. Entitled Blue Planet, that package contained several selections that never really received their just due - from that effort, we've selected one of the finest called Cruisin'. Featuring the saxwork of Rastine Calhoun, this track displays Nils at his dynamic best while foreshadowing his subsequent success by seven full years! Nils Then & Now Spotlight Feature Ed#443-May 20/07

CD: Blue Planet (1998)
Label: Ichiban/Nils Music
Site: Nils ; Nils/MySpace

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
Soul Dance ... the second in a two-part series, wherein every selection we play has the word dance in its title. This time we're calling it Soul Dance as a bit of a nod to a track from Norman Brown - in addition, we're gettin' down to Passion Dance, Romance Dance, and Slow Dance. Our first dance is courtesy of Norman Brown and features Sam Riney on sax. That's followed by Dave Grusin, Danny Lerman, and Jonathan Butler. We continue in set #2 with Patrick Yandall, Kevin Toney, Rick Braun, Funkee Boy, and Special EFX. While we saved the last dances for Peter White, Vince Madison, Chris Standring, and Andreas Vollenweider. So you better roll up the rug and get ready for some serious finger poppin' cuz as it'll be nothin' but dancin' from here on in!

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