Nuggets & Gems!
This Week at Café

March 4th, 2012
Edition #647 Previously Next

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This Week at Cafe A 15 Season Retrospective (Part 2):
… the second in a four part series sparkles with musical treasure from our 15 seasons. We've dubbed this chapter Nuggets & Gems and featured are Dancing Fantasy, Joe Sample, and Steve Oliver; also adding some luster to the show are the band Windows and Andreas Vollenweider, there's music by Herb Alpert, Espirito, and Allon Sams - while other dazzlers are courtesy of Ray Obiedo, Michael Franks, Paprika Soul, and Terry Disley. But the first bit of sheen comes courtesy of Norman Brown - saxman Sam Riney chips in on this one - it's called Soul Dance - on Café Jazz, your smooth jazz diamond in the rough!
In This Issue:

Riviera - Philippe Saisse
Hang Loose - Dancing Fantasy
Beyond - Herb Alpert
Festevo - Steve Oliver
Espirito - Espirito
Born to be Bad - Joe Sample

AFTER HOURS: More Nuggets
SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Highlights Hour One
Riviera - Philippe Saisse:
The son of a staff producer for CBS/Sony in France, Philippe Saisse was born in Marseille and studied at the National Conservatory in Paris. He won a scholarship to Berklee in Boston and while there, he became the protégé of famed vibist Gary Burton. After a stint wherein he backed Narada Michael Walden, Saisse made his record debut in the 80s with Al Di Meola and in addition to working with David Sanborn & Al Jarreau, he's backed The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, & a host of others. On the solo front, 1988 saw the issue of Saisse's initial release but on this occasion, we're revisiting Next Voyage from 1997 for the track Riviera. Accompanied by his dear friend and fellow countryman Marc Antoine, the combination of top-notch talents provides a selection laden with golden moments throughout - an all-time favorite!

CD: Next Voyage (1997)
Label: Verve Forecast

Philippe Saisse - Next Voyage

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Dancing Fantasy - Worldwide
Hang Loose - Dancing Fantasy:
For a period in the 90s thru until the new millennium, the German based duo of Curtis McLaw & Chris W. Williams recorded a series of popular album inspired by the beach scene in Southern California. For his part, McLaw was well known for his keyboard wizardry & his production expertise - in addition to the Dancing Fantasy collaboration with Williams, McLaw was also co-leader of Blue Knights (with Jay Heye) & Colors in Motion (with Peter Sefkow). In any event, it was in about 1990 that McLaw & Williams were overheard jamming in McLaw's studio. They were offered a record deal and they went on to record a total of nine albums thru until 2001. From the 1993 Worldwide release, and what was already the 4th in the DF catalogue, we've dusted off a musical nugget entitled Hang Loose with guitar by Bill Joseph Flynn (also of Blue Knights)!

CD: Worldwide (1993)
Label: Innovative Communication
Herb Alpert - Beyond
Beyond - Herb Alpert:
As one of the most successful instrumentalists of all time, trumpeter Herb Alpert enjoyed a varied career with many high points - after a stint in the Army, Alpert tried his hand at acting before turning to music. He helped composed Wonderful World which became a huge hit for Sam Cooke before he came up with The Tijuana Brass concept. From that point on, Alpert's rise has been well documented, both as an entertainer and as the entrepreneur co-founder of A&M Records. The Lonely Bull became a Top Ten hit for 1963 and in all Alpert released 15 albums with TJB through until 1972. By the mid-70s The Brass had run their course but in 1979, Alpert staged a major comeback - his album Rise reached the Top Ten while the title track became the biggest hit of his career. Meanwhile, the 1980 follow-up entitled Beyond was a Top 40 success while its title track proved an avant-garde gem!

CD: Beyond (1980)
Label: A&M Records

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Highlights Hour Two
Steve Oliver - Positive Energy
Festevo - Steve Oliver:
For a feature back in November of 2004, we wrote "Steve Oliver's combination of talent and energy is indeed a rare commodity in music". We pick up the Steve Oliver story in 1995 in San Francisco, where Oliver was born and raised. Shortly after making contact with Steve Reid (ex of The Rippingtons), Reid asked Oliver to join him on Mysteries, the third of his Bamboo Forest projects. Oliver performed on that and the following release and ended up touring with Reid for three years, all of which led to the release of his own debut and Oliver's subsequent selection as Debut Artist of The Year by the Smooth Jazz News! It took Oliver about 3 years to complete Positive Energy, his follow-up cd whose vibe and title perfectly captured what he was all about as a musician! The release garnered loads of rave reviews including our own endorsement as one of the finest cds of 2002. From that effort we present Festevo, a real crowd pleaser and a 24-karat delight!

CD: Positive Energy (2002)
Label: Native Language
Espirito - Peace of Mind
Espirito - Espirito:
Espirito was a one-off project produced in the year 2000 by keyboardist Bill Sharpe and guitarist Fridrik Karlsson. Well known for his many years as a founding member of the group Shakatak, Sharpe has also worked with Gary Numan, Don Grusin and many others. For his part, Karlsson had enjoyed his first taste of success with the Icelandic band Mezzoforte as a 16 year-old. The pair connected in about 1996 after Karlsson relocated to the UK - the Shak bunch were on the look out for a fill in when original guitarist Keith Winter left due to illness - Karlsson sat in for several cds. In 2006, we featured Espirito and the track Rainbow on what was the Back Trax segment of the show. At that time it was noted that, "given a slightly freer radio climate, the cd would easily have been one of the year's best. Still, that makes our task all the more relevant; if everyone was onto great music such as this, our efforts would be redundant to say the least." Now a few years later, little has changed in our mission as we present Espirito with another jewel in their eponymously titled track!

CD: Peace of Mind (2000)
Label: Instinct Records/Passion Jazz
Joe Sample - Ashes to Ashes

Born to be Bad - Joe Sample :
For nearly 30 years Joe Sample's story remained inextricably intertwined with that of the legendary band The Crusaders. It was in Houston Texas in 1954 that Sample started playing with Wilton Felder & Stix Hooper, a couple of high school buddies. They formed a combo and called themselves the Modern Jazz Sextet. In 1961 and after a few personnel changes, the group moved to LA where they attracted immediate attention for their gritty style of hard bop as The Jazz Crusaders. But about a decade later, the group dropped jazz from their name and shifted to a more R&B-oriented style. With the 1975 release of Those Southern Knights, The Crusaders reached unprecedented heights of popularity. All the while Sample continued to play with the band right thru until about 1991 while concurrently nurturing a highly successful solo career. With approximately 20 projects to his credit, several of Sample's releases still rate as treasure-troves for us here at The Café - from one of those, the 1990 Ashes to Ashes release, we've selected a genuine sparkler!

CD: Ashes to Ashes (1990)
Label: Warner Bros.

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site and Select Affiliates:
More Nuggets: The continuation of part 2 sees more Nuggets & Gems with The Sax Pack, Althea Rene, and Brian Bromberg. There's music by Cliff deMarks, Dave McMurray, and Nate Harasim; also appearing are Cindy Bradley, Richard Elliot, and Matt Marshak. Bob James and Earl Klugh team on a tune, while rounding it out are Tony Vattimo and Turning Point! Spinlist

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