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Show Notes The Café Jazz Newsletter

January 17th, 2004
Edition #313 Previously Next

Special Presentation - The Café Jazz Best of 2003 - Part 3
Over the past 2 weeks we've played some great tunes that made last year one of the most memorable in recent times. Today we continue our musical review with the third and final part of our Best of 2003 Special Presentation. We have music from Dave Koz, David Sanborn, Jeff Lorber, Richard Elliot, Bob James, & The Rippingtons to name but a few. However, if you tune in regularly, you know that there's more to our show than playing just hits. Our "raison d'être" is to present new artists. For that reason we'll be hearing from Tony Adamo, Doc City, Paula Atherton & many others that you may hear only here and nowhere else. Café Jazz, your soundtrack to a unique and refreshing listening experience.

Nightgroove - Ultrablue :
A new name to smooth jazz fans in 2003, producer John Smatla was the main architect of the Ultrablue sound. Smatla, a classically trained pianist, hooked up with guitarist Dave Stryker and together they recruited some of the leading players on the East Coast. David Mann, Rachel Z and Pete Belasco all contributed to flavour of Ultrablue project with the result being dusk 2 dawn, the debut release under the Ultrablue banner.This is a collection that features a cool & sensual blend of smooth jazz combined with many hip & contemporary grooves.

CD: dusk 2 dawn (2003)
Label: Khaeon

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Wherever You Are - Brian Hughes :
On this, the first new release from Brian in about four years, the former Torontonian is joined by bassist Tim Landers, Neil Wilkinson, a top British session drummer, percussionist Jason Hann, and longtime band member pianist Les Portelli. The chemistry is undeniable as Brian’s music is taken to a new level. Titled Along the Way, the cd is a reference of sorts to Hughes’ relocation from Toronto to LA a few years ago and a bit of a nod to his years of touring and to the experiences that he’s enjoyed along the way. Hughes has found the move to Southern California highly inspirational and this is well reflected by the melodies and performances on the collection.

CD: Along the Way (2003)
Label: A440 Music Group
Site: Brian Hughes

Orchard Walk - Steve Briody :
Undoubtedly one of the brightest new artists to come along in 2003, for Briody it all began when he first picked up the guitar at the age of 10. He learned a few riffs from his older brother and then after high school, attended the State University, where he played classical guitar and also played and wrote for their big band. He got a chance to perform in Europe, went to grad school, and as Steve puts it, was "lucky enough to have made a living as a guitarist for the last 10 years or so." Some of his compositions have been used on TV & radio and the NY Islanders of the NHL chose one of his tunes as their theme music. As well, during this period, Steve did gigs, session work, and taught, but all the while he had it in his mind to record a cd of his own. This more or less brings us to the present as Briody followed through on that dream this past year with the release of his self-titled debut. The cd managed to draw a considerable amount of attention for Steve whose style has been described as fresh, soulful & smooth. In addition, some of the top players on the Contemporary Jazz scene contributed to the project. Eric Marienthal of The Rippingtons, and Joel Rosenblatt from Spyro Gyra both make appearances on the cd which was produced by Bill Heller also of the Rippingtons.

CD: Steve Briody (2003)
Label: 507 Music
Site:Seve Briody

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More Highlights
Portuguese Love - A. Ray Fuller :
For over three decades, Fuller’s considerable talents have graced countless projects. His resume includes contributions to the works of many of the biggest names in pop music such as Quincy Jones, David Foster, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, & Oleta Adams. In the process the native Chicagoan has travelled the world and earned an enviable reputation as a first call musician. In spite of all of these successes and a very satisfying career, Fuller nevertheless felt the need to leave his own personal musical legacy. This desire, together with the sum of his many varied experiences prompted Fuller to release his long over due debut cd as a solo artist. Titled The Weeper, the cd derives it's name from the nickname that Fuller was given by George Duke because of the emotive quality of his playing. The album showcases Ray not only as musician but also as an composer and arranger. This latter quality is well illustrated on Ray’s masterful cover of the Teena Marie composition from 1981 that we’ve selected on this occasion. Portuguese Love is the track, a tune on which Fuller is full measure for his star billing as he tastefully balances all the dynamics and subtleties of the selection.

CD: The Weeper (2003)
Label: A Ray Artists Music
17 Mile Drive - The Rippingtons :
The concept for The Rippingtons can be traced back to about 1987 or so, when a small record label in Japan contacted Russ Freeman. Following the success of Nocturnal Playground, Freeman's debut project, there was a fair degree of interest in having the guitar and synthesizer whiz produce an album. So it came about that Freeman called upon a few friends; David Benoit, Gregg Karukas, Kenny G, Steve Reid, Dave Koz, and Brandon Fields; and asked if they would be interested in playing on the record.

Over the years, the sound and style of The Rippingtons has continued to change as new personnel make their way into the lineup every few years or so. What originally started out as a studio project with a revolving group of musicians evolved into one of the most popular ensembles of the late 80s and into the top selling smooth jazz band of the 90s. Yet the one constant is Freeman himself, who writes all the songs and is largely responsible for the production duties. This has resulted in a musical library that is now over a dozen cds deep with Let it Ripp being their latest & one of their best.

CD: Let It Ripp (2003)
Label: Peak Records
Site:The Rippingtons
Cape Town Love - Spyro Gyra :
The band was founded back in 1974 in Buffalo NY, and remains one of the most well known and influential ensembles in instrumental music. To a large extent this latest project is a reaction of group leader Jay Beckenstein to the fragmenting of the jazz world. Being uncomfortable with a label that would confine their playing, Beckenstein and the other members purposely chose to create songs that would dispel any preconceptions about the music or the group. As their career quickly closes in on the 30-year mark, the unit has always been known for their brilliant blending of soul, jazz, pop, and world beat. Now add to that a sense of mission and discovery, and the result is Original Cinema, a cd that could easily rank among their best.

CD: Original Cinema (2003)
Label: Heads Up International
Site:Spyro Gyra

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