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This Week at Café

June 6th, 2010
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American Smooth Jazz Awards!
In this our 13th year of hosting Café Jazz, we have the honor of being nominated at the inaugural ASJA as internet broadcaster for the year. Make no mistake, this is GARGANTUAN news for the program that we luv to refer to as the biggest little show on radio. To say the least, we are in select company and all the nominees are worthy of recognition. Voting is open to the public, so if you are a fan of this genre, you are cordially encouraged to get involved! We're conveniently linked to the Awards site, so that you can support all your favourites. Needless to mention, without your support what we do rings just a bit hollow.

This Week at
… on this edition it's Philadelphia keyboardist Tomazz - we have a triplet of tracks from the new one called Lucid Dream - all as part of the showcase segment. The second hour brings Fresh Trax with a 5-pack of the latest & best in new music. Headlining are Chieli Minucci & Special EFX, as well we have Paul Hardcastle and The Jazzmasters; there's new music from Jeff Lorber while debuting are Freddy V, the saxman from the Average White Band, as well as Professor RJ Ross and The University of Soul. Then right after the new, is a swank set of the tried and true with selections by Jim Savitt, Boney James, Richard Smith, and Allon Sams - on the radio program hosted by the shaman of smooth!
In This Issue:

Lucid Dream - Tomazz

Touch and Go - Jazzmasters
Lakeside - Minucci / EFX
Chinese Medicinal Herbs - Jeff Lorber
Do It Again - RJ Ross
Rush - Freddy V

AFTER HOURS : Step A Little Closer
PLAYLIST: Playlist for Ed#574

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Showcase CD
Lucid Dream - Tomazz:

Staring off as a recording engineer in Philadelphia, Thomas James Ackley has been a part of the music business for the past 20 years. Initially he worked with independent artists before becoming the keyboard tech for the likes of Boyz to Men and Grover Washington, Jr. After moving to New York in the mid 90s, he joined the Hit Factory Studio and while he was there for only a short time he had the chance to engineer for Celine Dion, Will Smith, and others.

By the turn of the millennium, Ackley's focus had begun to shift to remixing and to his own work. Debuting under the pseudonym of Tomazz in 2007, Lucid Dream is now his 2nd smooth release and 3rd over all. Now by way of explanation, when something is lucid, it's completely comprehensible. So with a mix of jazzy piano together with an urban vibe, Lucid Dream profiles a vision that's easily understood in the context of, and one that nicely connects to, today's music scene!

Tomazz - Lucid Dream
In keeping with which, it's the occasion to direct the beam of the spotlight at Tomazz and that very release as part of the showcase feature! We've queued a dynamite blend … beginning with the arioso tones of Coconut Bay. The leisurely bliss of the tune Escape follows at the top of hour 2 while the haut monde vibe of Way They Talk About You seals the segment. With a sampling of his talents as a vocalist and on piano, drums, & percussion, on Lucid Dream Tomazz creates an anthem for the glitterati and for those who are hip to the music scene!

CD: Lucid Dream (2010)
Label: Blue Claw Music

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Jazzmasters - Jazzmasters VI
Touch and Go - Jazzmasters:
One of the men who has helped in charting the course for smooth jazz since the 90s is back with his latest release with volume VI in the highly successful Jazzmasters series. It's been nearly 20 years since Paul Hardcastle issued The Jazzmasters, a project that signaled a meteoric rise not only in his own career but for the genre in general. As he closes his second full decade as a standard bearer for smooth, the 2008 Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year as voted by Billboard Magazine shows he hasn't lost a stride. From the forthcoming Jazzmasters VI we have the lead single in Touch and Go - a phrase that implies an extremely uncertain or risky outcome. No disrespect intended to the author, but when it comes to smooth, there's little else closer to a sure thing than a Paul Hardcastle musical venture! Paul Hardcastle Then & Now Spotlight Feature - Ed#380 October 16th, 2005

CD: Jazzmasters VI (2010)
Label: Trippin 'n' Rhythm Records
Links: Fan Sites:
Chieli Minucci & Special EFX - Without You
Lakeside - Chieli Minucci & Special EFX:
It was back in 1982, when Chieli Minucci first met the late George Jinda during a series of NYC jam sessions. The two hit it off and soon after they began laying the groundwork for Special EFX and what was to become one of the most endearing projects in contemporary jazz. In the course of events they recorded 13 albums before creative differences led to an amicable parting of the ways. Jinda recorded one additional project as leader of Special EFX before being struck with a debilitating neurological condition, one from which he sadly never recovered. In 1999, Minucci resurrected the Special EFX banner while dedicating the project to his long-time friend and former partner. He's since released an additional 3 Special EFX albums - all of which now all brings us directly to the present and the 2010 issue of Without You. A double cd which commemorates 25years since the release of the Special EFX debut, the current project features several members of the original Special EFX line-up - among them drummer Lionel Cordew, bassist Jerry Brooks, and keyboardist Jay Rowe, while adding to the musical milieu are special guests in the likes of Jeff Lorber, Karen Briggs, and Lao Tizer. Chieli & company rise to the occasion by offering an eclectic blend with elements from jazz-fusion & world rhythms to pop and rock. From the new one, we have a tune destined to be the latest in a string of classics. It's called Lakeside and features some outstanding instrumental harmonizing from Minucci on electric guitar and Karen Briggs on electric violin! Special EFX Then & Now Spotlight Feature Ed #466 - January 13th, 2008 Chieli Minucci Then & Now Spotlight Feature Ed #391 - January 8th, 2006

CD: Without You (2010)
Label: ChieliMusic

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Jeff Lorber Fusion - Now Is The Time
Chinese Medicinal Herbs - Jeff Lorber Fusion:
Thru a series of highly popular releases in the late 70s, keyboardist and composer Jeff Lorber established himself as a prominent figure in the movement known as jazz fusion. Now 30-plus years into his career, Lorber revisits some of the material that he released earlier on. Resurrecting the Jeff Lorber Fusion banner, Now Is The Time is his latest cd and a project which for Lorber signifies the time to get back to where he started from. Jimmy Haslip, Eric Marienthal, Paul Jackson Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, and Randy Brecker all contribute to re-constituted combo and from that effort Lorber covers himself on Chinese Medicinal Herbs, a tune that appeared on his debut back in 1977! Jeff Lorber Then & Now Spotlight Feature Ed #362 - May 8th, 2005

CD: Now Is The Time (2010)
Label: Heads Up International
Professor RJ Ross - Face to Face
Do It Again - RJ Ross:
As a founding member of the funk band Brainstorm, Professor RJ Ross's musical journey began in Detroit. He then moved to Oakland CA where as the resident keyboardist for Fantasy Studios he worked with Jeffrey Osborne, Eddie Money, Huey Lewis, and others. Then nine years ago, Ross was diagnosed with what was thought to be an incurable cancer just as he was getting ready to record his own debut. Setting out to prove the doctors wrong, RJ fought a courageous battle and underwent a risky surgery - its success gave him a new lease on life and the determination to see that project come to fruition. Aided by the University of Soul, with a faculty that includes bass man Freddie Washington, B3 organist Neil Larsen, and saxman Ernie Watts, in 2008 Ross released Face to Face - and from that effort we have the Professor's terrific take on a Steely Dan classic!

CD: Face to Face (2008)
Label: Lantana Records
Freddy V - Easier Than It Looks
Rush - Freddy V:
Honing his chops in the venues of New York City, saxman Freddy Vigdor worked as a sideman to touring stars while also fronting a few combos. His growing reputation led to a gig with Bob Baldwin and then when the Average White Band's original saxophonist left the group, it was Freddy V who was recommended to fill the saxchair. So began a decade long association with the group that performs almost nonstop. Even so, Freddy still found a bit of time for some jamming and guesting in a variety of clubs from NYC to London and Atlanta, where he now resides. The Summer of 2004 saw Vigdor backing Michael McDonald on the Rock & Soul Revue Tour and then playing on Michael's Motown II release. The following year, Freddy started on a solo effort, which due to his ongoing commitment to the AWB, saw sometimes only sporadic attention and so the project stretched into a 3-year affair. In the end, Easier Than It Looks perhaps wasn't as easy as the title suggests to realize as a finished product. But for the most part, the mix of tracks steeped in the traditions of jazz/funk and soul, find willing and easy listening particularly on our choice for the occasion in the tune Rush!

CD: Easier Than It Looks (2008)
Label: Watersign Records

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
Step A Little Closer: … we're tip toeing thru the tracks with a playlist that includes A Step Along the Way, Saul Steps Out, and Footsteps - on a 13-track edition wherein all the selections are connected to the Marion Meadows tune Step A Little Closer! Playlist for Ed#574

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