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This Week at Café

April 10th, 2011
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This Week at the Café: Timeline Series - Wayback in '95!
… it's a special edition and the second in the timeline series. On this segment we defy the laws of physics and time with a feature called Wayback in '95 courtesy of our time travelling Wayback machine. We've set the controls and appearing on the screen up ahead are the likes of 3rd Force, Fantasy Band, Rick Braun, and Brian Culbertson while also included are The Jazzmasters and Gregg Karukas plus Tom Scott and Paul Taylor - as we hurtle Wayback to '95 !
In This Issue:

Blue Light - Fantasy Band
Two Hearts Make One - Gregg Karukas
Vital Connection - 3rd Force
Groovis - Rick Braun
Midnight Sun - Brian Culbertson
Catina - Tony Gable & 206

AFTER HOURS: Wayback (contd)
PLAYLIST: Playlist for Ed#610

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Highlights Hour One
Blue Light - Fantasy Band:
The inspiration for the Fantasy Band came about by pure happenstance when a last minute cancellation for an NYC concert promoter in the summer of 1988 sent him scrambling to fill the slot. He was able to gather a handful of solo artists who were performing for him on other dates and who later became the all-star collective known as The Fantasy Band. The core of the group was comprised of Chuck Loeb, Dave Samuels, Marion Meadows and John Lee with George Jinda acting as the unofficial leader until he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1997. From the second of their three releases, we have the Chuck Loeb composition Blue Light!

CD: Sweet Dreams (1995)
Label: DMP

Fantasy Band - Sweet Dreams

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Gregg Karukas - You'll Know It's Me
Two Hearts Make One - Gregg Karukas:
Gregg Karukas is one the brightest talents operating in the smooth genre. He's played piano since the age of six, and had his interest in jazz ignited while he was in his teens. After working the clubs and studios in the Baltimore/DC area, Karukas relocated to LA in 1983 where he became a cog in the local pop jazz scene. Performing with the likes of Patti Austin, Richard Elliot, and Grant Geissman, Karukas ventured onto the solo front with his debut in 1987 and later that same year, he became an original member of The Rippingtons. Early efforts later in the 80s and 90s included Dave Koz and Boney James, who at the time were largely undiscovered sax talents. Additionally, Karukas gained extensive experience in Brazilian music playing with Ricardo Silveira, while he also working freelance as a producer and sideman for Peter White and a host of others! Already well into a significant career by the mid 90s, Gregg gives us one of his prettiest ballads in Two Hearts Make One, written for his wife Yvonne and featuring Boney James! Gregg Karukas Then & Now - Ed#395 Feb.19th, 2006

CD: You'll Know It's Me (1995)
Label: Fahrenheit.
3rd Force - Force of Nature
Vital Connection - 3rd Force:
On the most creative and unique bands to appear as part of the 90s music scene was the combo known as 3rd Force. At its nucleus, was the trio of William Aura, Craig Dobbin, and Alain Eskinasi. Aura, who was the group's producer and main writer, had enjoyed a significant solo career thru the 80s and early 90s. Meanwhile Dobbin was classically trained on piano, while Eskinasi had studied African drums in Gambia for 6 years. Propelled by their synergy, 3rd Force emerged with their debut in 1994 and with frequent appearances by varied guest musicians known to the smooth jazz genre they made an unprecedented impact on the genre and one that has near really been equaled. Presenting an eclectic amalgam from New Age & smooth jazz to dance beats & African rhythms, 3rd Force straddles a multitude of styles with the vibrant Vital Connection!

CD: Force of Nature (1995)
Label: Higher Octave

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Highlights Hour Two
Rick Braun - Beat Street
Groovis - Rick Braun:
Rick Braun toured with the group War in the mid-80s and wrote the pop hit Here With Me for REO Speedwagon before setting out on an 18-month stint with Rod Stewart and backing Sade on her "Love Deluxe" tour. After these brushes with greatness, Braun found his niche on the smooth jazz circuit. The charismatic horn player issued a string of chart toppers and for a time, he was ubiquitous at festivals and in the studio as a producer and guest musician. From Beat Street, Braun's 3rd effort and a time when his popularity was already beginning to snowball, we have the steady but loose flow of the album's opening track!

CD: Beat Street (1995)
Label: Mesa/Bluemoon
Brian Culbertson - Modern Life
Midnight Sun - Brian Culbertson:
Before he became the smooth jazz icon that he is, Brian Culbertson broke onto the scene as one of the most promising performers in a decade filled with promise! He more or less single-handedly recorded his debut album, Long Night Out, in the bedroom of a Chicago apartment and scored a huge hit with the track Alone With You, which lingered in the top five for ten solid weeks! At the same time, Culbertson's subsequent commercial successes have tended to overshadow the more progressive aspects of his music, particularly of many of his earliest efforts. A case in point is the phenomenally avant-garde Midnight Sun featuring the soprano sax of Mark Colby!

CD: Modern Life (1995)
Label: Bluemoon
Tony Gable & 206 - Seven Hills
Catina - Tony Gable & 206:
Inspired to take up percussion after seeing Santana's performance in the movie Woodstock, Tony Gable bought a pair of plastic bongos and taught himself how to play. Moving to nearby Seattle, Gable joined the band Cold, Bold & Together which also featured the future #1 instrumentalist in Kenny G. When the sound of the 'The G-man' broke around the world, Gable became part of G's touring band but in time he was moved to record on his own. Gathering an assembly of many the Emerald City's finest players, the group took its name for the area code from whence they hailed, and so it was that Tony Gable & 206 came into being. Their debut in 1993 brought their soulful sound out from the Pacific Northwest and to the top of charts nationwide. From the Seven Hills sophomore release, the title being a reference to the seven hills upon which Seattle is built we have the very pretty Catina, written by guitarist John Raymond and dedicated to their wives, Cathy Raymond and Gina Gable!

CD: Seven Hills (1995)
Label: Heads Up International

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
Wayback in '95 Continues: … travelling thru time continues with Brian Simpson, Boney James, George Jinda, Toledo, Val Gardena, Ray Obiedo, Greg Vail, Urban Knights, The Rippingtons, and Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg - all as part of a 12 track set that helped define 1995 as a golden year for smooth jazz … and to begin there's a flash back from the original configuration of Fourplay with Lee Ritenour in the guitar chair! Playlist for Ed#610

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