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This Week at Café

February 15th, 2009
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This Week at ...
... in the spotlight is Dave Koz with his Greatest Hits - there'll be something old and something new too from our old buddy Dave as we've cued a trio of great tracks. Then get ready for Back Trax and a trip down memory lane - highlights on this edition are from Norman Connors and Kiss The Sky presented by Paul Hardcastle - also appearing are Soul II Soul and Solar Wind featuring Sean Mason while Romero Lubambo and Brazilian Nights round things out. Then a bit later, we have a few current favourites including Gerald Albright and Nick Colionne; while strategically placed are prime cuts by the likes of Gregg Karukas, Avenue Blue, and Peter White!
In This Issue:

Greatest Hits - Dave Koz

Catalina Breeze - Solar Wind
Rio Wave - Brazilian Nights
Mood - Soul II Soul
Conditions ... - Norman Connors
Millenium Skyway - Kiss The Sky

SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
Greatest Hits - Dave Koz:

Growing up in LA's San Fernando Valley, Dave Koz graduated from UCLA with a degree in mass communications before deciding on a career in music in 1986. Within weeks, he'd joined Bobby Caldwell's band and then he filled the rest of the 80s with a variety of studio gigs before launching his solo career with a self-titled release in 1990. The project charted well while Koz gained some excellent exposure as a regular Thursday night member of The Posse on the old Arsenio Hall Show. Koz's Lucky Man follow-up in 1993, proved his break-thru album; with the TV soap General Hospital choosing Faces Of The Heart as their new theme song, Lucky Man spent over 100 weeks on Billboard. Subsequent projects such as The Dance and Saxophonic also faired extremely well producing no less than nine top-5 singles between them! Meanwhile in 1994, Koz began a parallel career in broadcasting anchoring the syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show (formerly Personal Notes) - the program is now heard on over 100 stations in the U.S. and around the world.

Dave Koz - Greatest Hits
In 2007, Dave was named as presenter for a second syndicated show to be heard in the afternoon on Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network while for 6-years, Koz co-hosted the morning show on The Wave, the smooth station in LA. As well, Dave is the front man for The Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Cruise and an annual Christmas Tour, while he also serves as Global Ambassador for the Starlight Children's Foundation. Additionally Koz is a four-time Grammy nominee, and recently he was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame - and I think that marks a first for us, as we've never showcased anyone of that stature on our hip but humble show! Now we here at The Café have always felt a special connection with 'the Koz'. On one level, this affinity stems from Dave's music and all he has done to promote the genre. However, although it may not be widely known, Dave's parents originally resided here in Winnipeg the originating city for our show before moving to California, so in a sense he's a Winnipegger at heart!
Dave Koz photo © Sherry Fisher/Smooth JazzArtDave Koz photo
© Sherry Fisher at
Smooth JazzArt!
It's therefore with great pleasure that we now nudge Dave Koz and Greatest Hits into the soft glow of our spotlight! For the project, Dave plumbed his first five releases for some of his finest and most popular selections while also contributing four brand new tunes, as such this affords the unique opportunity for a combined retrospective/showcase feature. To begin we've chosen an all time favourite - a track originally recorded for the Lucky Man cd back in '93, which for millions of his fans sums up the Koz phenomenon quite nicely and it's called You Make Me Smile. Opening hour 2, we have Lullaby for a Rainy Night and that's one of Dave's prettiest! Finally, we close with the suitably titled Life in the Fast Lane as with a career firing on all cylinders as a musician, radio show host, and entrepreneur, Dave Koz is not only one the most successful performers in the genre, he's also one of the hardest working! Dave Koz Then & Now Feature Ed#445 - June 3rd/2007

CD: Greatest Hits (2008)
Label: Capitol Records
Site: Dave Koz

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Back Trax: Part One
Solar Wind ft Sean Mason - Blue Horizon
Catalina Breeze - Solar Wind feat. Sean Mason:
Fronted by bassist Sean Mason, Solar Wind debuted in 1999 with an album that received considerable airplay and some great reviews. Ably supported by Eric Marienthal and Frank Gambale, the cd was nominated by the LA Music Awards as the jazz album of the year. Buoyed by this success, Mason was back at it a few years later with Blue Horizon, a project highlighted by appearances from David Benoit on a couple of tracks and Marienthal again who appeared on several more. Covering a range of styles from smooth jazz and a few funky excursions, to a bit of edgier fusion, the disc received airplay on over 150 stations both in the USA and internationally. Among several breezy melodies contained therein, we've selected one of the breeziest in the ever so easy Catalina Breeze, a great tune featuring Eric Marienthal on the selection!

CD: Blue Horizon (2003)
Label: Solar One Records
Site: SW/Sean Mason
Brazilian Nights ft Romero Lubambo - Rio Wave
Rio Wave - Brazilian Nights feat. Romero Lubambo:
Having worked with Romero Lubambo on several projects over the years, producer Jason Miles was eager "to expose his guitar mastery to the world". Born in Rio de Janeiro, Lubambo studied classical piano and music theory. He discovered the guitar at the age of thirteen and subsequently, that became his passion. Fascinated by the melodies and rhythms of Brazilian music and jazz, Lubambo practised intensely. After relocating to New York in 1985, he became in demand for his authentic Brazilian flavour and for his versatility in a variety of styles. Having been "the secret weapon to many great artists" with a few collaborations and releases on his own, the 2002 Rio Wave recorded in conjunction with JM, remains as one of Lubambo's finer efforts. From that album, we've chosen the rhythmic title track!

CD: Rio Wave (2002)
Label: Q Records
Sites: RLubambo; JM

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Back Trax: Part Two
Soul II Soul - Volume III Just Right
Mood - Soul II Soul feat. Snake Davis :
Initially, Soul II Soul attracted attention as a "sound system", but as their sound caught on, the name began being used for a variety of projects, among them the "Funki Dred" line of clothing popularized by founder Jazzie B. The concept began to form in the early 80s with Jazzie and a school friend known as Daddae starting a sound called Jah Rico, which mainly featured reggae based music. Thru the mid 80s, the project took shape, and then materialized as Soul II Soul during a period when London's Acid House & warehouse scenes were in full swing. With one of their own music-making experiments landing them a record deal, 1989 saw Soul II Soul score a pair of huge hits. Among the tracks on their debut was Back to Life featuring vocalist Caron Wheeler and catching on in the USA, Soul II Soul snagged a pair of 1990 Grammy's. With a changing line-up of musicians, Soul II Soul has continued thru to the present and to date they've sold in excess of 6.8 million records.

Meanwhile Jazzie B has successfully produced for a variety of artists including Incognito and Maxi Priest. This time, we're picking out a track from their third release and an instrumental tune highlighting Snake Davis that smooth jazz radio was hooked on back in the day!

CD: Volume III Just Right (1992)
Label: Ten Records/Virgin
Site: Soul2Soul
Norman Connors - Eternity
Conditions of the Heart - Norman Connors w Norman Brown:
Although he made his impact in R & B, drummer Norman Connors grew up under the influence of jazz. He was only in junior high when he started on the jazz club circuit - he sat in for Elvin Jones at a Coltrane gig and at 13, he met Miles Davis. He went on to study at Temple University in Philadelphia as well as NYC's Juilliard School of Music making his first record appearance in 1967. After touring & recording with sax jazz legend Pharoah Sanders, Connors debuted as a leader in 1972. By 1975, he'd made the shift to R & B and then thru the rest of the 70s, he featured vocalists such as Jean Carn and the late Phyllis Hyman - the track You Are My Starship continuing as perhaps his most recognizable hit from that era. Although not quite as prominent in the 80s, Connors made a comeback in the 90s in both urban contemporary and smooth jazz. Were it not for the imminent issue of Star Power, 2000's Eternity cd would remain his most recent effort. Therefore, from Norman Connors and his second to most recent release, we have Conditions of the Heart with another Norman, that being Norman Brown chipping in on guitar on a track he contributed to the disc!

CD: Eternity (2000)
Label: The Right Stuff / Starship Records
Kiss The Sky presented by Paul Hardcastle - Millenium Skyway
Millenium Skyway - Kiss The Sky presented by Paul Hardcastle:
Following his mega-hit 19, which was one of the top singles worldwide for 1985, Paul Hardcastle's subsequent projects met with varied success. He worked as a remix producer for the likes of Barry White & Hiroshima and under a pseudonym, he issued a pair of releases that cracked Britain's top-5. Even so, after a few years, he felt a need to find a new direction. In 1991, he initiated a project with Jaki Graham on vocals called Kiss The Sky, borrowing the phrase perhaps from the old Jimi Hendrix track Purple Haze. Although marginally successful, the album proved a proto-type for Hardcastle's next endeavour, The Jazzmasters that swept across the USA and around the world in 1993 and which irreversibly changed the sound of smooth jazz!

The following year Paul released the first in what became his Hardcastle series while also taking time for a sophomore Kiss The Sky effort. From that endeavour which presented Hardcastle's patented blend of jazz and dance and primarily featured Imani on vocals, we've chosen one of only two pure instrumentals in Millennium Skyway, the title track! Paul Hardcastle Then & Now Spotlight Feature Ed#380 - October 16th/2005

CD: Millenium Skyway (1994)
Label: JVC
Site: PH
Fan sites: ; Fan

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
New Music ... as we continue, the focus falls on fresh listening with 13 selections new to our show. Here's a quick run-down of what we're spinning on this edition - today that includes Pete Gitlin, Gregg Karukas, trumpeter Matt Finley, and Pieces of A Dream. Seattle saxman Dean James is at the start set #2 while also appearing are Cecil Ramirez, another name that we haven't heard from for a few years in Eric Essix, there's a bit more from keyboardist Yaron Gershovsky as well as the latest from Richard Elliott. Then in our final set, we've cued Tom Grant and Boney James - Patrick Yandall will be in there with another track from his new cd called A New Day and finally there's a tune from a project called Conspire and that will be the closing selection!

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