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This Week at Café

March 14th, 2010
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This Week at
… it's Ken Navarro in the spotlight. The new release is Dreaming of Trains and that's the title blazing on the showcase marquee. Then in hour 2, we're kickin' it ole skool with Back Trax. On this edition, we've set our way-back machine to 1971 for a classic track by Jon Mark and the late Johnny Almond. We have the band Kombo and Will Sumner; keyboardist Larry White is on the show; plus there's Germany's Nighthawks. Then later in the hour we're balancing the tried and true with the new … there's music from Nils, Gregg Karukas and Fingerprints; while featured thru-out are Vince Mai, Terry Disley and Jean-Luc Ponty! All on the radio show with an insatiable appetite for great music!
In This Issue:

Dreaming of Trains - Ken Navarro

Lower Deck - Kombo
Dangerous Ground - Will Sumner
A Quarter to Two - Larry White
As The Sun Sets - Nighthawks
The City - Mark-Almond

AFTER HOURS : Fresh Listening
PLAYLIST: Playlist for Ed#562

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Showcase CD
Dreaming of Trains - Ken Navarro:

Dreaming of Trains is cd #19 for Ken Navarro and it represents the latest stage in a journey that began with The Meeting Place. That album pointed the way and then the journey continued with The Grace of Summer Light, named the Jazz Times 2008 #1 contemporary album. Now Navarro raises the bar, challenging himself with compositions that tell a story while exploring strong melodic themes. The selections are like chapters in a book or rooms in house - each is linked to the other but can stand on its own. They developed one by one as flowing pieces with different sections that simulate the sensation of cross country travel in a train - there's speed, movement and a continual change of scenery. As well, there's a complex progression within each that's uniquely coupled with an accessibility that's long been a hallmark of Navarro's signature style. Deriving some of its steam from world-class players in the likes of Jay Rowe, Tom Kennedy, and Joel Rosenblatt, Dreaming of Trains is an excursion into Navarro's psyche wherein he expresses concepts that are both meaningful and deep and as such it represents some of his very best work to date!

Ken Navarro - Dreaming of Trains
As such it's now a pleasure to hook up to Ken Navarro's Dreaming of Trains as our spotlight release. We have a crisp assortment of choice selections - so clear the track cuz we're on our way! Initiating that sense of travel is Self-Propelled, a tune that features Navarro's guitar lines and Jay Rowe's acoustic piano - attractive and improvised the interplay was thought thru as to what would provide 'the most dramatic effect to the song as a whole' and what would best compliment the melody and the composition. At the top of the second hour is Shared Air - a floating dreamlike sequence layered on top of two tremolo guitars; while in the end we have a tune upon which Navarro pays tribute to one of his guitar heroes! Clapton & Hendrix were among Navarro's early influences - however after he got into jazz, classical, and other genres, it was the playing of Howard 'Buzzy' Feiten that may have affected him more than any other - The Buzz was inspired by him and that's the closing selection for the regular portion of the show!
Ken Navarro
Ken in concert at Jazz @ Jack's for the Elijah Rainbow Foundation Benefit Concert in Denver, June 1, 2006
Photo Courtesy of
However, we're not done yet. During his podcast on the making of Dreaming of Trains, Navarro shares that he doesn't necessarily put all his strongest compositions up front in any album. In keeping with this philosophy we've reserved one final track and one of his best for when we reprise the spotlight segment on After Hours with The Stars, The Snow, The Fire - a selection which Navarro found particularly challenging in so far as improvising over a swinging 7/4 tempo! From intense to expansive, from expressive to introspective, Ken Navarro's Dreaming of the Trains is simultaneously one of the most complete and most cohesive reflections to have ever have been created for the contemporary genre! Ken Navarro Then & Now on Ed #455 - October 7th, 2007

CD: Dreaming of Trains (2010)
Label: Postive Music

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Back Trax: Part One
Kombo - The Big Blast
Lower Deck - Kombo:
Organist Ron Pedley and guitarist Jon Pondel first met playing in Barry Manilow's back-up band. In 1986, during a lull in Manilow's touring schedule, they and a couple of other Manilow alumni (Marc Levine and Bud Harner) banded together on a jazzy offshoot project called Uncle Festive issuing a string of six releases thru until 1992. In due course, Pedley and Pondel went their separate ways working a variety of gigs only to reconnect a just before the turn of the millennium fronting a group that they dubbed Kombo. Rounding out their sound were brothers Matt and Gregg Bissonette as the rhythm section on bass and drums respectively. They debuted in 1999 with The Big Blast, produced by their old friend Bud Harner, and from it we have the organic and funky blend of the track Lower Deck!

CD: The Big Blast (1999)
Label: GRP Records
Will Sumner - Desde Mi Corazón
Dangerous Ground - Will Sumner :
An accomplished guitarist who is also well-versed on piano and violin, Will Sumner trained at the University of Minnesota, as well as at Berklee in Boston and the Westminster College in Salt Lake City. In the late 90s, Sumner recorded his debut under the name of Tropic Zone with his band and then he followed that a couple of years later with Desde Mi Corazon. Liberally blending Latin grooves and Brazilian flavors with pop and jazz improvisation, here's an album that alternately burns with equatorial heat while soothing like a cool breeze. From that effort, we have chosen a terrific example of the former with Dangerous Ground the album's opening track!

CD: Desde Mi Corazón (2000)
Label: FirstSite Records

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Back Trax: Part Two
Larry White - Unsolicited Material
A Quarter to Two (I Guess It's You) - Larry White:
After attending the High School of the Performing Arts in New York City and later studying at UCLA, keyboardist Larry White got a kick-start early in his career touring with The Sandpipers who scored a big hit with Guantanamera in 1966. For a time he was a staff writer with Motown and then later he went on to work with some of the biggest names in the industry including Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, and perhaps most notably Dusty Springfield. In about 1999, White turned to singing and playing his own music. He became a first call musician at some of the finer jazz venues in Las Vegas, and then in 2005, his Unsolicited Material release drew Grammy consideration. From that very effort we present the chic and sophisticated A Quarter to Two (I Guess It's You)!

CD: Unsolicited Material (2004)
Label: Newport Pacific Records
Nighthawks - As The Sun Sets
As The Sun Sets - Nighthawks:
The name of the band was inspired by the famous 1942 painting by Edward Hopper called Nighthawks and in this instance it well cloaks the two principle members in bassist & producer Dal Martino and trumpeter Reiner Winterschladen. For his part, Martino has been active on the German music scene for the past 20 years as a musician and as an in-demand producer of ads and film scores. Meanwhile, Winterschladen too is a veteran of over two decades and has logged stints with a variety of popular bands. The two came together in about 1991 in a project called Trance Groove and they've issued a series of releases under that moniker. At the same time they debuted as Nighthawks in 1998. Using the trumpet as the prominent instrument, their entire presentation is laced with cool hooks & hip grooves, as they skillfully navigate the regions between jazz, hip hop, lounge and pop. 2004 say the issue of As The Sun Sets, their effort as Nighthawks and an endeavor for which they recruited vocalist Pat Appleton who had previously worked with De Phazz. From that effort we have the transcendental and trance-inducing title track!

CD: As The Sun Sets (2004)
Label: Philmo Betta Music
Mark-Almond - Mark-Almond
The City - Mark-Almond :
Although they met up playing in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Jon Mark and Johnny Almond had already well established their credentials on the British scene. Almond had cut his teeth playing with Alan Price and Zoot Money while also leading his own jazz combo band before signing with Mayall in 1969. Meantime, Mark had arranged for and toured with Marianne Faithfull and then later he was part of the band Sweet Thursday. Towards the end of the 60s, he met up with Almond in the Bluesbreakers during a period when Mayall had moved more to jazz. They each appeared on a pair of albums and then left in 1970 to form Mark-Almond, a project characterized by extended jams as they mined the fertile terrain between jazz and the rock of the day. They debuted in 1971 with their eponymously titled release and from that effort we have what remains a classic from the era - the 11-plus minute excursion into the realm of time and space! With Jon Mark on guitars and lead vocals and Johnny Almond on saxes and bass flute, The City is delivered in 3 distinct movements subtitled Grass and Concrete, Taxi to Brooklyn, and Speakeasy It's A Whiskey Scene! It remains a shining example of the incredible richness of a by-gone day!

Addendum: The City was 'partially' covered by ace-producer Paul Brown a few years back on his 2005 cd aptly enough entitled The City. John Mark currently resides in New Zealand where he's lived for the past 20 or so years whereas sadly, Johnny Almond passed away in San Francisco on November 18, 2009.

LP: Mark-Almond (1971)
Label: Blue Thumb Records

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
Fresh Listening: … we've cued 13 lucky and never before been played on the show tracks for an all-new music edition! Floridian guitarist Nate Najar is first and he's followed by Dutch saxlady Candy Dulfer with yet another terrific tune from the Chilled Out half of her double cd. Additionally, there's keyboardist Larry White and the band Wine & Chocolate. At the start of Set #2 it's Joe Taylor - then debuting we have the saxman calling himself Hulon. Also joining us are Gregorie Howard, Michael J Thomas, and Dan Carlin & Friends. Then as we wind down in the final frame there's Artur Bayramgalin from Russia as well as Kim Waters and Klay D-C while in the end it's another track from Ken Navarro's Dreaming of Trains which was the feature cd on the spotlight segment of the show! Playlist for Ed#562

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