Café Jazz Radio - Canada's Smooth Jazz Connection
The Once in a
Blue Moon Special

This Week at Café

September 29th, 2013
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This Week at The Once in a Blue Moon Special!
We're celebrating a brief return with an all-new program. It's over a full year since we last crackled onto the air but the edition you thought would never arrive, well it's finally here - it's The Café Jazz Once in a Blue Moon Special. Included is a stellar line-up from Brian Simpson and Keiko Matsui to Paul Hardcastle and Nils. Also appearing are Four80East and Walle Larsson as well as Bickley Rivera and Cal Harris Jr. So there's a blue moon rising on the Once in a Blue Moon Special and on Café Jazz, your champagne of smooth jazz radio!

In This Issue:

Melodrama - Bleu Orleans
Laws of Groove - Walle Larsson
Nothing is Written - Four80East
Pan Funk - Bickley Rivera
Black Lion - Keiko Matsui
Get What You Give - Duncan Millar

AFTER HOURS: Blue Moon (cont.)
PLAYLIST Playlist: The Once in a Blue Moon Special!

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Highlights Hour One
Melodrama - Bleu Orleans:
Bleu Orleans is a New Orleans based combo led by trumpeter Edward Anderson and pianist Darrell Lavigne. During his formative years, Anderson performed with many local favorites and as a student, he studied under Ellis Marsalis. Anderson has gone on to earn a doctorate in composition and has worked with the likes of the late Grover Washington Jr. & Wynton Marsalis, and in 2000, he connected with Darrell Lavigne to record the Bleu Orleans' eponymously titled debut. For his part, Lavigne's jazz chops didn't materialize until his late teens. His talents developed quickly and he soon became a sought after pianist. In due course, this led to performances with Bill Summers of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters group, Hugh Masekela, Kirk Whalum, and a gospel video with Oleta Adams. Their second CD, Bleu2 received great reviews but was released in 2006 shortly after the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Transformation is now their 3rd effort, and from it we present the pure emotion of Melodrama.

CD: Transformation (2013)
Label: Bleu Orleans

Bleu Orleans - Transformation

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Walle Larsson - One Step Closer
Laws of Groove - Walle Larsson:
We here at The Café have long referred to Walle Larsson as the chief standard bearer for smooth jazz in the Canadian heartland. Walle Larsson & After the Night shwcased on Ed #580 - September 5th, 2010 Larsson had a major coming out party with After the Night, a cd which yielded a pair of Billboard top 20 singles and which earned for the Winnipeg based sax-man a #1 on New York's Music Choice Chart. His new one entitled One Step Closer was issued a short while back and shows that the success of that album wasn't just luck. This latest effort fully lives up to the promise of its title as the veteran musician has got it all going on! For Larsson music comes second only to his spiritual side and in that regard the musical blessings abound. With contributions by Steve Oliver, Jonathan Fritzén, Tom Schuman, and others, Larsson leads us to the promised land - one where melody and groove reign supreme. Make no mistake, with this latest release Walle Larsson isn't just One Step Closer, he's clearly arrived. From a project that ranges from pristine and sensuous to raucous and gritty; Larsson legislates the funky and rhythmic Laws of Groove!

CD: One Step Closer (2013)
Label: Dockside Records
Four80East - Off Duty
Nothing is Written - Four80East:
For the better part of the past 18 months, we've 'drifted along with the tumbling tumbleweeds' in so far as music was concerned - that was until the Off Duty release from Four80East - the musical alter ego for Tony Grace and Rob DeBoar or the Boomtang Boys as they are otherwise known. Now don't let the album title fool you - the Toronto-based combo is on the job from start to finish. Having savoured some of the tracks upwards of forty times, it's pretty evident to this cowboy - Off Duty is one of the best cds to come down the pike in a l-o-n-g time. From what is nothing short of a stellar offering we're featuring Nothing is Written and a track with Jon Stewart on sax and Najwa Tannus on vocals. And in what surely must be considered a major breach in 'production protocol' for one of our specials, we couldn't limit ourselves to just a single selection. So be sure to tune in to the After Hours part of the show for a second peek inside Off Duty and Picking Up the Threads with Bryden Baird on trumpet - electro-chill at its finest!

CD: Off Duty (2012)
Label: Boomtang Records

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Highlights Hour Two
Bickley Rivera - Chillin' After Five
Pan Funk - Bickley Rivera:
Occasionally, the train leaves and we are left waiting at the station … so it was with the queen of the steel pans Ms Bickley Rivera. We first came across Bickley's music just as we were finishing our run here at The Café back in late 2011 - early 2012. Even though her Chillin' After Five cd was issued back in 2010, in the world of smooth jazz word can sometimes travel slowly as there is no mass marketing vehicle to promote up and coming performers. Such was the case in this instance. Rivera began her recording career in 1985 and branched into the Latin and Caribbean genre when she helped form the group Cuba Libre in 1992 and where she was keyboardist and lead singer. In due course and in collaboration with Greg Minnick, Bickley eased into that region between genres best described as Nujazz and Chill. Based in the Tampa-St Pete's area of the sunshine state, Rivera performs regularly at many of its upscale venues. The release of Chillin' After Five has given Ms Rivera worldwide exposure and that now includes our own hip but humble show. From a project that adds a new dimension to the traditional rhythms of the Caribbean we have Pan Funk - a standout track highlighted by the sax and flute of Praful!

CD: Chillin' After Five (2010)
Label: Levelblu Records
Keiko Matsui - Soul Quest
Black Lion - Keiko Matsui:
After her US record debut in 1987, Keiko Matsui has in one way or another held the music world captive with a series of projects that stretch well beyond the normal confines that have been established by 'the smooth jazz brass'. "In the words of Duke Ellington, Keiko Matsui is 'beyond category'."* Success has followed success and accolades abound from fans, critics, and from musicians themselves. In fact, a few years back when I was in conversation with Spyro Gyra's Tom Schuman, certainly no slouch on keys, I can recall a genuine sense of enthusiastic anticipation when we breached the topic of a new Matsui cd. I can only imagine Tom's reaction to Ms Matsui's latest offering!

With the recent issue of Soul Quest, the pianist with a flair for the profound celebrates 25 years of US record making on a project rife with talent. Featured prominently on the disc are savvy performers such as Chuck Loeb, Kirk Whalum, and Narada Michael Walden. Yet comfortably perched atop a mountain of major musicianship is our diminutive dynamo! In various interviews, Keiko shares the creation of the album was in many ways a search for self, hence the title is rather apropos. From "a recording plush with commercial value, saturated with well-written and well produced songs"** we present the lead single, a catchy and rhythmic selection inspired during an Eastern European tour by a restaurant that was suitably enough called 'Black Lion'!

* Courtesy of iRock Jazz
** Courtesy of LA Jazz

CD: Soul Quest (2013)
Label: Shanachie Entertainment
Duncan Millar - Fresh Air
Get What You Give - Duncan Millar:
It's been several years since British keyboardist Duncan Millar last caused a stir in the world of smooth. Two previous solo releases, Dream Your Dream and Good To Go issued in '98 and '01 respectively, racked up high scores and now it's great to see Duncan return to the scene with Fresh Air. The new album lives up to its title as Millar spins a in a new direction with grooves and moods often inspired by his travels. From a project that was self-produced and self-recorded, we've selected the cd's final track, one that is reminiscent of Duncan's days on the dance club circuit and one that we've adopted as an informal anthem for this show. Lots of 'grit & groove' in this tune, love the bass and the 'frosted trumpet', some excellent solos in the middle plus some great trade off riffs! So it's with a twist on the title of the piece, that we now 'give what we get' - that being the selection Get What You Give!

CD: Fresh Air (2013)
Label: Warmday Records

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
The Once in a Blue Moon Special (contd): We're shinin' on with a monumental mix highlighted by friends old and new from Four80East and Gabriel to Dreaming in Colour and Jacques Mignault. We'll hear from Scott Allman and Brian Auger, while also appearing are Jeff Golub, Steve Oliver, Rocco Altamura, Roger 'Rahj' Keay, and Patrick Yandall - it's our night to howl - on the Once in a Blue Moon Special and on Café Jazz and the After Hours part of the show! Spin selections for our 11th Annual The Very Best of!

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