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This Week at Café

November 22nd, 2009
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… Tom Braxton enters the spotlight. We've selected a triplet of tracks from Endless Highway and we're featuring those as part of the showcase segment. There's more excitement bubbling in hour 2 with Back Trax - highlights include a little known tune by Greg Manning with Mindi Abair as well as selections by Fourplay and Citrus Sun. Also appearing - Klaus Doldinger's legendary Passport, in addition there's a hit from the 90s by Moby. Following later in the hour, there's music by Nils and Avenue H, we have Tom Grant and Four80East; while featured thru-out are Thom Rotella, Earl Klugh, and Steve Cole. But as we ready for lift-off, we're checking out the Good Day release from Peter White!
In This Issue:

Endless Highway - Tom Braxton

Night Flight - Greg Manning
Bali Run - Fourplay
Somewhere, Nowhere - Citrus Sun
Porcelain - Moby
Todo Legal - Passport

AFTER HOURS : This Is The Life

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Showcase CD
Endless Highway - Tom Braxton:

Although his name may not be as familiar as some in the smooth genre, Tom Braxton is certainly no newcomer to the scene. Growing up on the plains of Lubbock Texas, it may seem unlikely that Braxton would aspire to being a jazz musician, but aspire he did - thanks mainly to his dad who connected Tom with many of the masters. The elder Braxton put a sax in his son's hands in the 6th grade, and he's been playing ever since - in the full belief that, "creating music that brings people joy" is his mission in life. After high school and as class valedictorian, Braxton attended Texas Tech on track and music scholarships; and it was during this time more than any other that performing really came to the fore! As leader of the jazz-fusion band No Compromise, Braxton toured the southwest opening for likes of Joe Sample and Stanley Clarke. Graduating with highest honors, in 1992 Tom joined forces with keyboardist and producer Bernard Wright for the release of his solo debut. It was Wright too who was instrumental in linking Braxton with Wayman Tisdale; Tom ended up touring as a regular in the late bassman's band for over 17 years!

Tom Braxton - Endless Highway
Over the years, Braxton has continued to record on his own - a couple of albums were devoted to his spiritual side while 2005's Bounce, produced by Wayman, marked his return to the smooth arena. Deeply sadden by his friend's recent passing, Braxton shares, it's "a reminder of our mortality and it has made me even more determined to live my life to fulfill the purpose God has for me." Indeed, this sense of vocation is clearly evident on Endless Highway! Now his 7th release, it may well be the one that catapults Braxton into the upper echelons of today's top stars, and deservedly so! The project highlights Braxton's talents as a composer, producer and arranger along with his versatility as a musician - he transitions effortlessly between various saxes as well as handling piano, keys and flute. So therefore it's a player and project that can't help but impress that we now nudge into the soft sheen of the showcase spotlight. As is our custom, we're featuring a triplet of choice cuts starting it all with one of our favorites, in the tune Soul Purpose - a piece with a terrific lyrical melody here's a track that clearly speaks to Braxton's calling in life!
Tom Braxton - Live
Tom Braxton, Randy Jacobs, Peter White, & Andre Berry aboard the Smooth Cruise '09
Photo ©
The Journey at the top of hour 2 is an easy excursion that captures the essence of enjoying every moment; while Endless Highway the title track well reflects the road that we travel in life. Filled with an exhilaration for music and life, Endless Highway shows Tom Braxton as a savvy performer and one the major & most creative talents of the day!

CD: Endless Highway (2009)
Label: Pacific Coast Jazz

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Back Trax: Part One
Greg Manning w. Mindi Abair - Night Flight
Night Flight - Greg Manning with Mindi Abair:
Nigerian-born keyboardist Greg Manning grew up in Switzerland. He made his way to the USA in 1990 to study piano and film scoring at Berklee in Boston. This led to a stint as Music Director for the stage musical Keep Cool back in Switzerland, which became that country's most successful ever. After a few varied experiences in film, TV, and theatre, and having performed with 'N Sync, Candy Dulfer and others, Manning relocated to Atlanta in 1997. In '98 he took part in the Guitar and Saxes tour before taking over as Associate Producer at the Music Factory, Atlanta's No.1 jingle house. After working with Jonathan Butler, Elton John, and Brian McKnight, he moved to LA in 2002. Hooking up with Mindi Abair, Manning and Mindi did a few sessions. One of these was the single Night Flight, which was promoted on the old site. Manning later appeared on Mindi's 2003 break thru cd, but on this occasion, we have that rare and little known track. So return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, Greg Manning and Mindi Abair play again!

Single: Night Flight (2002)
Label: Independent
Fourplay - Fourplay
Bali Run - Fourplay:
It was during the recording of the 1990 Bob James album Grand Piano Canyon that James reunited with Harvey Mason while first working with Lee Ritenour and Nathan East. These sessions proved to be the genesis of Fourplay. Their debut record was issued the following year spending 33 weeks at #1 on Billboard's contemporary chart. They've since gone on to become one of the few super-groups in smooth jazz with Larry Carlton assuming the guitar chair back in '98. This time out we're checking out their eponymously titled debut for its opening track in Bali Run! Fourplay Then & Now Spotlight on Ed #420 - Oct.8th, 2006

CD: Fourplay (1991)
Label: Warner Bros / WEA

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Back Trax: Part Two
Citrus Sun - Another Time Another Space
Somewhere, Nowhere - Citrus Sun:
Citrus Sun was a one-time project created by Jean-Paul Bluey Maunick, the man behind the band Incognito. In 2001, Maunick recruited Jim Mullen, formerly guitarist with Average White Band, along with a couple of members of Incognito in drummer Richard Bailey and bassist Julian Crampton. Additionally, there was a 3-piece horn section while rounding out the line-up was pianist Tim Vine from Simply Red. The concept behind the combo was to underscore the importance of smooth jazz as part of the musical culture of the day. But unlike Incognito, Maunick adopted a collaborative approach; band members were encouraged to contribute on a variety of levels from co-producing and writing to just plain showing what they could do when let loose in the studio! From that one and only effort entitled Another Time Another Space, we have the Zen-like enlightenment of the meditative Somewhere, Nowhere!

CD: Another Time Another Space (2001)
Label: Rice Records / Heads Up / Concord
Moby - Play
Porcelain - Moby:
Born in New York but raised in Connecticut, Moby was one of the most prominent figures in bringing techno to the mainstream. At 9 he started classical guitar and music theory, but by 14 he'd gone on to play with a punk band. While studying philosophy at college, Moby started DJ'ing and in the late 80's he became a fixture on the NYC house and hip-hop scenes. His first single was released in '91 and was listed as one of Rolling Stones' best of all time; he's gone on to sell over 20 million records worldwide while producing and remixing for the likes of David Bowie, Metallica, and scores of others. Infamous for his radical Christian beliefs, as well as his environmental and vegan activism, his '99 Play cd initially received mediocre reviews, but eventually it became his biggest seller with over 9,000,000 units sold. From that effort, we have the understated elegance of Porcelain!

CD: Play (1999)
Label: V2 Records
Passport - Talk Back
Todo Legal - Klaus Doldinger's Passport:
Born in Berlin, Klaus Doldinger attended the conservatory in Dusseldorf as part of his formal training. Among his early experiences, he played Dixieland Jazz back in the 50s but by the following decade, he had switched to a more modern style. Thru varied projects and studio work, Doldinger grew as a musician before hitting upon a concept he called Passport. Created in the early 70s, Passport did not feature a set group, but rather it worked as a banner under which Doldinger could record his multi-dimensional undertakings; it has remained Doldinger's primary vehicle thru to the new millennium. With a style that ranges from avant-garde to eclectic, Passport has enjoyed huge success in Germany and, having issued somewhere over 25 releases in all, there have been several complete turnovers in personnel. On this occasion we revisit the '88 Talk Back release and one of Passport's strongest line-ups with Brian Auger and Alphonse Mouzon! Nonetheless, it's Klaus himself coming thru as the prominent lead voice on the robust Todo Legal!

CD: Talk Back (1988)
Label: Atlantic Jazz / WEA


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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
This Is The Life: … another in our series of theme shows - this one is called This Is The Life as each & every spin has the word life in its title. So stay tuned for Brite Life, Once in a Lifetime and Modern Life with 13 robust selections in all. The opening set features Ray Obiedo and Boney James with the namesake tune for the segment - that's followed by Down to the Bone and Duncan Millar. The second set begins with Chuck Loeb and continues with 3rd Force, Rick Braun, and Adrian Conington, while Will Donato finishes it. Then wrapping things in the closing frame are Avenue Blue, Pamela Williams, and Brian Culbertson while in the end it's African guitarist Jimmy Dludlu. So, as we ignite the spark for a This Is The Life edition, we have a longtime favourite from Ray Obiedo in the tune Real Life!

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