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This Week at Café

March 27th, 2011
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This Week at
… now Vegas based, Darren Motamedy's latest is Gruv' Horn and we'll have 3 great tunes, all as part of the showcase segment. In the second half of the show, it's another time traveling adventure on the Vintage Collection - in the spotlight are the band Metro plus there's classic soul from Junior Walker and the All Stars. Alto Reed is on the show, while also appearing are the Bobby Blackston Band and Abe Laboriel. Then right after Vintage Collection it's time to kick it new skool - lined up are Phillip Brooks and Special EFX - also in the set is Steve Cole while Brian Simpson closes the frame. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Chris Standring opens with a real nice read on the John Mayer track Stop This Train - all tracks 'approved by the smooth jazz brass'!
In This Issue:

Gruv' Horn - Darren Motamedy

Cool Breeze - Alto Reed
Fly into the Rainbow - Bobby Blackston
Azul - Metro
What Does It Take ... - Jr. Walker
Holidays - Abe Laboriel

AFTER HOURS : Nightride
PLAYLIST: Playlist for Ed#608

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Showcase CD
Gruv' Horn - Darren Motamedy:

Darren Motamedy was born in Los Angeles but his family moved around quite a bit in his youth. It was while they were living in Taiwan that Darren first realized that he held a strong fascination for music and so, upon moving to Seattle, Motamedy felt moved to join the grade 5 band and learn the clarinet. Soon, school lessons expanded to private lessons. When he hit high school, Darren auditioned for the jazz band but was given the choice to try the sax or to forget about jazz band. He chose the former and in this way he was able to continue studying clarinet thru the symphonic band while simultaneously starting his ventures into jazz. Music soon became his life as Darren also joined a funk-rock band that opened many doors to a new world of music.

After high school, Motamedy attended Central Washington University where he channeled his energies into exploring the possibilities of the sax, clarinet, and flute. He took part in every musical ensemble that he could, from orchestra to pep band, from symphonic wind ensemble to jazz band, super sax ensembles, private lessons, orchestra pit shows, basketball band, and chamber music. In the end he received the music department's prestigious Presser Scholarship!

Darren Motamedy - Gruv' Horn
Since the late 80s, Motamedy has been a mover & shaker on the Sea-Tac music scene. He had a pair of releases in collaboration with Bela Havasreti as Mottoretti before issuing a 1994 solo debut. In the time since, he's worked with John Raymond, Tony Gable & 206, and other notables in the region, while a few years back he also took part in the pH7 project fronted by Dean Krippaehne and Erik Hall. Additionally, Motamedy has played countless gigs with loads of session work as well as recording several more well-received cds. After years of tearing up the Emerald City and its surrounding area, Darren recently relocated to Las Vegas, The City of Lights.
Darren Motamedy Darren Motamedy
Now it appears Motamedy is none the worse for wear from this change in venue - at least judging by Gruv' Horn, his just issued 10th cd overall. So now as a tip of our sombrero, it's a pleasure and privilege to feature Darren Motamedy and Gruv' Horn as the spotlight cd for showcase segment! First up is The Trumpet Song; a great groove plus a series of intriguing shifts in mood and tempo, make this an excellent struttin' song - and featured is Gabriel Burbano on trumpet! The wistful This Love sets a blissful mood at the top of hour 2, while the upscale sounds of Candleglow batten down the set! Many Seattle jazzers are still reeling from Motamedy's move to LV, but as Gruv' Horn continues its steady assault on the charts, Darren may find his well-deserved day in the sun!

CD: Gruv' Horn (2010)
Label: Mashhad Music

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Vintage Collection: Part One
Alto Reed - Cool Breeze
Cool Breeze - Alto Reed:
Born in Detroit Michigan, Alto Reed has for over two decades been a key to the success of the multi million-selling Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. During his years with Seger, Alto gained a deserved reputation for flamboyance and daredevil showmanship. He's soloed hanging over the side of a hot air balloon and soared over audiences suspended by piano wires. In addition, Reed's signature style has made him integral to the sound of the Grammy winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ensemble! Nonetheless, amidst all this Rock & Roll ballyhoo, Reed showed a more refined side to his style with an all-instrumental album called Cool Breeze released in 2001. In spite of a great response from the smooth community and being hailed as a 21st century sax player, the project unfortunately remains Alto's one and only venture into the realm. Even so, laden with a few sweet hooks and some velvety improvisations, we have Alto with the cool & refreshing the title track!

CD: Cool Breeze (2001)
Label: Motor City Records
Bobby Blackston Band - Elevations
Fly into the Rainbow - Bobby Blackston Band:
Reminiscent of many British albums from the 90s, the story of Elevations not surprisingly goes back to 1997. At that time, American keyboardist, composer and bassist Mike McEvoy hooked up with guitarist Bobby Blackston for a few London sessions. For his part, Blackston was a Philadelphia PA native who had honed his chops in US covers bands in the 70s and 80s. In 1991 Blackston hopped across the pond to Europe where for 10 years he busked and jammed while also cutting the disc. The project was in transit back to the USA when the tapes mysteriously disappeared and went missing for nearly 10 years. Just as mysteriously, they re-appeared in a basement in New York City. Subsequently the cd was issued in 2006 as the Bobby Blackston Band. With touches of jazz funk, smooth & acid jazz styles, we have the opening track and a melody that quite literally stands the test of time!

CD: Elevations (2006)
Label: Rezzonator Music
Links: Bobby Blackston Band: Mike McEvoy: CD:

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Vintage Collection: Part Two
Metro - Grapevine
Azul - Metro:
The band Metro was formed in 1994 by Chuck Loeb and Mitchel Forman, who had dreamed of a group project since they worked together for Stan Getz in the early 80s. Recruiting drummer Wolfgang Haffner, the quartet was complete with the addition of bassist Anthony Jackson. Following a tour, Metro recorded their self-titled debut in Bonn Germany. The members continued to record on their own, but for a time they would reform annually to tour in Europe and explore avenues of fusion that lay outside the parameters of their normal careers. Victor Bailey replaced Jackson as bassist in 1995, and by the time the ensemble recorded Grapevine in 2002, their 5th offering, Bailey had been succeeded by Mel Brown. Metro has continued to push the envelope with innovative concepts while maintaining a funky edge. Their latest configuration features bassman Will Lee, but for now we're checking out Grapevine, their next to most recent cd, for the pretty Azul meaning 'blue' in Portuguese and Spanish.

CD: Grapevine (2002)
Label: Hip Bop Records
Links: Loeb: Forman: Haffner: Lee:
Jr. Walker and the All Stars - Home Cookin'
What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)? - Jr. Walker:
Junior Walker was born in 1931 in Blytheville Arkansas, but there are differing accounts as to his birth name. Some sources list it as Autry DeWalt Jr. or as Autry De Walt Mixon, the name that actually appears on the marker for his final resting place. Others yet still give his name as Oscar G. Mixon. Regardless, Walker learned the sax by playing along with records while he was in high school in South Bend Indiana. It wasn't too long afterward that he started to perform in the local clubs and venues whereupon he adopted his stage name. By the late 50s, he was fronting his own combo billed as Jr. Walker & The All Stars and, after lining up a gig at a nightclub called the El Grotto, the entire band moved to Battle Creek Michigan. After being 'discovered', Walker signed his first record deal in 1961 and released three singles prior to the label folding due to money problems.
That proved a blessing in disguise as, in 1963, the company was purchased by Berry Gordy's Motown Records, with Walker's contract going along as part of the sale. Junior's Motown debut failed to make an impact but it was back at the El Grotto that Walker found the inspiration for the single Shotgun that proved to be his breakout track! Shotgun topped the R&B charts, went Top Five on the pop charts, and signaled Walker's arrival. Subsequently he appeared on Shindig, Hullabaloo, and American Bandstand with a steady stream of hits following. However, it was in 1969 that Walker arguably reached the peak of his career with What Does It Take (To Win Your Love), his second # 1 R&B single and his biggest on the pop charts since Shotgun. However, it was in 1969 that Jr. Walker arguably reached the peak of his career with What Does It Take (To Win Your Love), his second # 1 R&B single and his biggest on the pop charts since Shotgun. The track originally appeared on 1969's Homecookin' LP and has since been included in every Jr. Walker compilation of note. Additionally, it remains Walker's most covered recording!
Jr. Walker continued to record into the early mid 80s and toured right up until the time of his death due to cancer in 1995. The following is taken directly from the Michigan Rock And Roll Legends page devoted to him. "Despite being an inspiration to legions of sax players, charting 26 R&B hits, and placing 21 singles in the Hot 100, Junior Walker & The All Stars have yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." Recognition that many agree is long overdue!

LP: Home Cookin' (1969)
Label: Motown
Jr. Walker and the All Stars - The Millennium Collection Millennium Collection
Abraham Laboriel - Dear Friends
Holidays - Abe Laboriel:
With a resume that includes over 4000 credits, Abe Laboriel Sr. is one of the most widely used session bassist of our time. Originally a classically trained guitarist, Laboriel was born and raised in Mexico City where he received his earliest musical training from his father. His first recording was at age 10 and after performing in Mexico thru his teen years, he moved to Boston where transitioned to four strings at the Berklee School of Music. During his time at Berklee, he recorded with faculty member and famed vibraphonist Gary Burton. While working with Henry Mancini, Abe was convinced to move to Los Angeles in 1976 and since then, his career blossomed. He has performed and recorded with many of the legends including Stevie Wonder, Joe Zawinul, George Benson, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, Joe Sample, Dori Caymmi, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, The Crusaders, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, John Klemmer, Joe Pass, Sara Vaughan, and countless others. Additionally he was also a founding member of the internationally acclaimed fusion groups Friendship and Koinonia while his solo albums gathered many of the top talents from across the music industry. From 1993 and the Dear Friends release, we take a bit of time off to party with a piece called Holidays!

CD: Dear Friends (1993)
Label: Rhino / Wea

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
Nightride: It's chapter 3 in a 7-part feature! We've selected just over 80 tunes - each use the word night as part of their title - so be it the likes of London Nights or Stockholm Nights you'll likely find them as part of this series. And included on this 3rd installment are Dancing Fantasy and Dancing on a Summernight with You as well as Don't let Me Be Lonely Tonight by David Benoit. We have 13 such selections all as part of a show subtitled Nightride after a tune by The VIP Club. And as we get ready for lift-off we start with Fly by Night from George Benson! Playlist for Ed#608

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