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This Week at Café

June 22nd, 2009
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This Week at the Café: The Quarterly Review: Q2 - 2009!
... it's the second in our series for 2009 called the Quarterly Review, as we look back at all the best tracks from the past 90 days. Included on this installment are Joyce Cooling, Marion Meadows, Paul Hardcastle, Craig Chaquico, Philippe Saisse, and Gregg Karukas. Also appearing we have Terry Disley, Down to the Bone, Spyro Gyra, and Candy Dulfer while additionally there's Cindy Bradley, Wayne Jones, the Velez Brothers, Torcuato Mariano, Jack Prybylski, and Joe Ercole. So, for those and more of the hippest sounds around you need not look any further 'cause they're all right here!

In This Issue:

VIP - Jonathan Fritzén
U Know U Like It - Jason Weber
Meeting The One - David Wells
Chillin in the West - Bernie Williams
Little Sunflower - Alexander Zonjic
Ticket to Miami - Ronny Smith

ONE YEAR AGO:The QR for Q.2 2008

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Highlights Hour One
VIP - Jonathan Fritzén:
When Jonathan Fritzén debuted on our show a scant few months ago with Love Birds, it was fairly obvious, the talented young keyboardist was on his way to becoming a "name" on this side of the Atlantic. As the first Swedish pianist to enter the smooth jazz arena, Fritzén gave ample evidence of the hipness of "the Nordic vibe". Still, little did we suspect the impact the Stockholm native was capable of. Just issued is VIP, a title that may be more than just a bit prophetic as the Stockholm native kicks the Scandinavian groove to its highest level yet - from that effort, we've selected the expressive track that lent its name to the disc!

CD: VIP (2009)
Label: Nordic Night Records

Jonathan Fritzén - VIP

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Jason Weber - Five
U Know U Like It - Jason Weber:
Billing his music as smooth jazz saxophone with attitude, intelligence, & sophistication, is a claim in respect to which, Jason Weber is batting 1000. Weber graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1994 with a degree in music performance. After his first solo cd achieved national recognition, he relocated to "America's Finest City" where he quickly made his presence felt on the vibrant San Diego scene. In the time since, Weber has gained notoriety as a versatile performer who can move audiences with the passion of his playing, and as rare as it may be, this is a quality that he's fully capable of transferring to disc! "Five" is his latest and most polished offering to date and from that effort, we have the aptly titled U Know U Like It!

CD: Five (2009)
Label: Jayk Weber Music
David Wells - Skyline
Meeting The One - David Wells:
Hailing from Vienna, West Virginia, David Wells was raised in musical family where he was encouraged to pursue his musical talents. He was drawn to the flugelhorn and by 14, he was already dreaming about a career in music. After studying trumpet, performance in Dallas and in Tulsa, Wells moved back to his hometown in the early 90s where he continued to perform on a part-time basis. However, by the new millennium, he felt the call to a full-time ministry in music - the result being his independently released debut record. Citing Louie Armstrong and Herb Alpert as his greatest influences, Wells has enjoyed a string of fine releases and more recently, he's made major inroads in the smooth jazz arena. From the cd Skyline, his current effort, and 8th overall, we have Wells' soaring solo on Meeting the One, a syncopated selection with keyboardist and label-mate Chris Geith helping on the tune!

CD: Skyline (2009)
Label: Little Fish Records / Nuance Music Group

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Highlights Hour Two
Bernie Williams - Moving Forward
Chillin in the West - Bernie Williams:
Although well known as an all-star center fielder with the NY Yankees, Bernie Williams' first love was music. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he started playing guitar when he was eight then studied classical guitar privately. When he was 13, Williams won a scholarship to attend a high school for the performing arts in San Juan and as he became a more accomplished player, the thinking was that he might in fact follow a career path as a concert musician. However, at the same time, he was developing his athletic skills both as a track star and baseball player, to the extent that the major league scouts soon took notice.

The rest is history, but a few years back Williams contributed a new chapter to the story when some 20 years later, he resumed his musical journey by releasing The Journey Within. Now that journey now continues with Moving Forward, a project that embraces many varied influences from Williams' youth, while also reflecting a unique mix of classical, jazz, and Latin rhythms. With performances by Dave Koz, Jon Secada, Bruce Springsteen, Spyro Gyra's Julio Fernandez, and Mike Stern, Williams has already catapulted to the #1 spot on several charts. From that effort, we have a sweet acoustic gem with Jeff Golub stepping in and revving it up at the end!

CD: Moving Forward (2009)
Label: Reform Records
Alexander Zonjic - Doin' the D
Little Sunflower - Alexander Zonjic with Kenny G:
As a morning drive-time radio personality on Detroit's smooth WVMV, a five-time host of and past winner as broadcaster of the year at the CSJA, and as a restaurateur and co-owner of the highly successful Detroit jazz night spot called Seldom Blues, there is little that Alexander Zonjic attempts that isn't gilt-edged. As a result, it isn't surprising to see the incredibly versatile flautist take his game to the max on the recently issued Doin' the D, the title a nod to his adopted hometown. In Detroit parlance, to "do the D" is to spend some time checking out the cultural attractions that a city rich in musical history and cultural diversity has to offer. In that regard, with contributions from Rick Braun, Chieli Minucci, and Maysa Leak as well as from longtime collaborators Jeff Lorber and Bob James, Doin' the D does it just right! From that effort, and the latest in a lengthy string of high calibre releases, we have Zonjic's take on a Freddie Hubbard standard. Featuring some great harmony from Alexander on flute and from none other than Kenny G on soprano sax, this track easily rates as one of the finest that either veteran performer has ever undertaken! Listen to it once and I'm certain you'll agree it's an instant classic! Alexander Zonjic Then & Now Spotlight Feature Ed #358 - April 10th, 2005

CD: Doin' the D (2009)
Label: Heads Up International
Ronny Smith - Just Groovin

Ticket to Miami - Ronny Smith:
While growing up in the Baltimore, Maryland area, guitarist Ronny Smith was exposed to music thru his church and in school. Inspired by the sounds of Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, George Benson, and others Smith learned to play by ear. During his college days, Pat Martino became one of his greatest influences; nonetheless, Smith left college in his senior year enlisting in the US Army and soon after, he became a member of the Army Band. After a tour of duty that allowed him to tour the US and Europe, Ronny launched his solo career in 2006 and now has four cds to his credit. In spite of many fine moments on his previous discs, Smith has for the most part flown under the radar - this is all bound to change with the recent issue of Just Groovin, a smooth jazz project with sufficient oomph so as to even draw praise from purists. From that effort and aided by Jeff Knoettner on keys and Vernell Mincey on drums, we present Ronny Smith and the substantive Ticket to Miami, your ticket to some great listening!

CD: Just Groovin (2009)
Label: Pacific Coast Jazz

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
More of the Q2 Review: ... as the QR continues with all the best tracks from the past 90 days, the opening set includes Shane Isenberg, John Pedersen, Swing Out Sister, and Dominic Amato. Set #2 begins with bassman John Adams and following are Noel Webb and David P Stevens - also listen up if you will for tracks by Eliane Elias, and Jackiem Joyner. And not being ones to rest on our laurels, today's final set features Chuck Loeb, Will Donato, Kevin Toney, and Brian Tarquin teaming with Frank Gambale on the spirited closing selection!

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