Featuring the Smooth Groove of Today's Jazz!
This Week at CaféJazz.ca

December 13, 2003
Edition #309 Previously Next

Highlights !
Consistent with our policy of playing the absolute best in Smooth Jazz, we've gone halfway around the world and back, with some interesting stops along the way, to come up with today's program. The moody groove of Intimacy by Italian born Sergio Caputo sets the stage for an exhilarating musical experience. Les Sabler, Nura, Richard Elliot, Chris Standring, Eloise Laws, & Will Downing are all on this show. On the FT segment we're including something from the brand new release by Philippe Saisse originally from Marseilles, France. We have music from Ricardo Silveira, one of Brazil's finest guitarists and the man who wrote our theme. We're also introducing several great new artists. Australia's San McNally serves up an exceptional track, we're boppin' to the funky sounds of saxman Jason Weber from San Diego, and we have a tune by NY Louie & his band. We spotlight Party, one of the top releases of '03 on the showcase cd feature. And from the archives, we have Tony Guerrero, Kilauea, Spyro Gyra, Four80East, Bona Fide, Michael Franks, & Allon Sams. Why, we even have some of the best in seasonal music with tracks from Dave Koz, Russ Freeman, and Peter White. The great grooves of Smooth Jazz & nothing but, on Café Jazz!

Showcase CD
Party - Special EFX:
Flash back to NYC and 1982. That was the time when Chieli Minucci & the late George Jinda first met during a series of jam sessions. Soon after, the two began laying the groundwork for what was to become one of contemporary jazz's most endearing projects. In the course of events they recorded 13 cds as Special EFX and played hundreds of concerts over a period of a dozen years or so. (I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been present at one of these and to have witnessed the special chemistry of Special EFX live back in 1995, right when the they were at the height of their creativity.) Throughout it all, the sound of the group stayed vital & fresh as they continued to incorporate a wide variety of contemporary styles & influences into their music. Creative differences eventually led to an amicable parting of the ways for Minucci & Jinda, each setting out to pursue individual projects. Minucci launched his solo career. Jinda meanwhile was involved with several varied undertakings including the release of Here to Stay, the only Special EFX's cd on which Minucci did not appear.

Shortly thereafter, George Jinda suffered an attack of asthma and diabetes that left him with a disabling neurological condition called myoclonic disorder, one from which he never recovered. Nevertheless, it was with the blessings of George and his wife, that Chieli resurrected the Special EFX banner in 1999.

Fast forward to early fall, 2003. With the issue of Party, we now have the 3rd project to be released from the latest incarnation of one of Smooth Jazz's seminal forces. Over the years, Minucci has steadily explored an incredible variety of styles both within the context of the group and as a solo performer. However, I don't know what it is about this man and his recent projects. He's always been a great artist, one of the top musicians and producers in his chosen field. But of late Chieli seems to have definitely kicked things up a notch.
The name of this most recent undertaking is spot on as the cd carries all the flavor and variety of a party from the first few beats right until the final groove driven chords fade. It's a party mood that's saturated with a dance club feel, with interesting musical detours into chill and some slightly more exotic styles along the way. In addition to Chieli’s tantalizing guitar & keyboard work, the cd features David Mann on sax and flute. The magic between the two is undeniable and results in an electric experience of sound and substance with long time Special EFX bassist Jerry Brooks (he's appeared on EFX's records since about 1993 or so) and Emedin Rivera on percussion perfectly filling out the sound of the combo.

So now it's time to Party with Special EFX. This record undoubtedly ranks not only as one of the best to ever be released by Minucci but also as one of the top musical highlights of 2003. Get On Up, the album's opening track opens the showcase cd segment and we've also selected Ladies Man & Mi Amore as tunes that represent some of the finer moments on the album.

CD: Party
Label: Shanachie Entertainment
Site: Chieli Minucci

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Song for Saisse - Philippe Saisse:
The French born multi-instrumentalist studied piano, music theory and composition at the Paris National Conservatory, winning a scholarship to attend Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music. Saisse made his record debut in 1979 backing Al Di Meola but since has branched out into many diverse fields. In addition to work with artists such as David Sanborn & Al Jarreau, he's appeared with The Stones, David Bowie, & a host of others. Known for his lush keyboard work, Philippe has also released a total of five solo cds. Of these My Favorite Songs is his latest, but on this project things have been scaled down a bit with Saisse opting for the sound of an acoustic trio. Although the cd primarily contains jazzy versions of various pop hits, one selection stands out, and that's an original piece that was written for Saisse by a fan. It's called Song for Saisse and we have it for you on this edition.

CD: My Favorite Songs
Label: 441 Records
Site: Philippe Saisse
Louie's Groove - NY Louie & Friends:
Included in today's batch of fresh listening is music from veteran keyboardist Louie Guzman who records as NY Louie. While growing up in the Bronx, Guzman inherited a love of Latin rhythms from his grandmother. So it was, that years later, after he had learned to play piano and percussion, Louie gravitated to that style of music. Louie continued to play with his own group after he joined the Air Force, a gig that lasted 21 years. He returned to college, and after earning a degree in Vocational Education & Training, he relocated to Albuquerque in 1997. Just out is Follow Me, Follow My Groove, Guzman's debut release as NY Louie. From that effort we'll be hearing Louie's Groove a tune on which Jeff Kashiwa, ex of the Rippingtons, guests.

CD: Follow Me, Follow My Groove
Label: Rhythm Works

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Lua No Mar (Moon on the Sea) - Ricardo Silveira:
Over the past fifteen years or so, Silveira has earned a reputation as one of Brazil's most admired and respected international musicians. Born in Rio, Ricardo grew up listening to Bossa Nova, Samba and the steamy rhythms of Carnaval. He began seriously studying guitar at age sixteen and then continued his training at Berklee in Boston. During this same period, Ricardo frequently played the clubs of Boston and also often traveled to New York to record and perform. He eventually relocated to NYC and joined Herbie Mann's band, touring with him for several years. After returning to Brazil, Ricardo became one of Rio's most requested studio players. He recorded with a lengthy list of Brazil's finest artists and toured the world. His first solo album was released in 1985 but his North American debut didn't come until 1988. Several fine projects followed each receiving a fair degree of both commercial success & critical acclaim. Rave reviews of Ricardo's style & tone have always ranked him among the world's best guitarists. On a personal note, I had the very good fortune to see Silveira live a few years back so I can readily attest to the veracity of these statements. Just out is Noite Clara, Ricardo's first release in North America in about 8 years and a cd that was previously released in Brazil a couple of years ago. From that recording the exquisite Lua No Mar is the tune that we've selected.

CD: Noite Clara
Label: Adventure Music
Site: Ricardo Silveira

J Street - Jason Weber:
Picking up the sax at the age of nine, Weber has now been playing for over 20 years. After graduating from the U of Wisconsin in 1994 with a degree in music performance, Weber led an award-winning contemporary jazz group. His first solo cd achieved national recognition in the US by making it to the final round in Musician Magazine's Best Unsigned Band Contest for 1997. That same year, Jason relocated to Southern California where the gifted young musician soon made his presence well known. In the relatively short time that he's been on the music scene Weber has attained some notoriety not only as a versatile performer but one that's capable of moving his audiences with his passion. Something Blue is Weber's sophomore effort. Although it was released in 2002, it sometimes takes some time for a new artist to catch on in the highly competitive music business. In that regard the cd is really starting to make waves for Weber as interest and enthusiasm continue to build for this latest project - highly innovative and very hip!

CD: Something Blue
Label: Jason Weber Music
Site: Jason Weber

Jubilation - Sam McNally:
McNally is well known as one of Australia's finest & most experienced piano and keyboard players. He's worked at the forefront of that country's music scene for over 20 years and established an enviable reputation as a consummate musician. A few years back Sam was named Studio Keyboard Player of the Year by Music Week magazine and included in his resume is work with Dave Koz and Louie Shelton as well as several years spent playing with fellow Australian, guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel. In fact it's Tommy who guests and contributes some of his incomparable guitar work to the track that we've chosen for today. From the most recent of his 5 cds, Jubilation, we're featuring the fabulous title track. The combination of McNally on piano together with Emmanuel on acoustic guitar, is quite simply sublime!

CD: Jubilation
Label: Songfirst Music
Site: Sam McNnally

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New Release
Available from Michael Franks exclusively on Michael's web site:

Smooth Jazz in Canada, eh!
Coming up on February 24th of 2004 are the Canadian National Jazz Awards. For the first time in its history, the NJA is presenting a Smooth Jazz category. All voting takes place in the on line voting booth. Show your support and help determine the top Canadian Smooth Jazz artist for 2003. The nominees are: Eddie Bullen, Demo Cates, Warren Hill, Brian Hughes, & Nura.

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