Vargas (self-titled cd) - James Vargas:
As a schoolboy,
Vargas was a head chorister. Nevertheless, he developed a disposition
for rock, jazz, & soul. He discovered the clarinet in his youth but
later fell in love with the sax when a friend introduced him to that
instrument. That soon became his course in life.
To gain experience he busked on streets throughout Southern England
and toured much of Europe with just a sax and a suitcase to his name.
Once he arrived in Paris, Vargas thrived. He lived in that city for
a three year period, a time that no doubt contributed greatly to his
sensitivity as a player.
Upon his return to England, James became a regular at the Bourbon Street
Blues Café in London's West End. It was there that he met up with keyboardist
Oliver Silk. Silk & bassist Danny Sugar were about to release a compact
disc as Sugar & Silk and asked Vargas to take part. Working with the
pair gained Vargas some much needed exposure and in the course of events,
led to he release his own self-titled debut.
On the album, Oliver Silk returns the favour. He appears on all
the tracks, shares in the writing credits, and produced the project.
The result is a highly impressive first effort, groove laden and
loaded with catchy melodies, and it has generated a fair bit of
interest for a debut release. For one, it attracted the attention
of Art Good, host of the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival, who
invited Vargas to perform at that festival this past fall.
It also "grabbed me" and prompted its inclusion as the
subject of today's feature. So, as we showcase James Vargas &
his self-titled debut, we begin with One Fine Day. This is a highly
evocative piece where rich soulful playing is brilliantly fused
with jazzy melodies. Lasting Impression, my favourite, kicks off
hour 2 and Speakeasy caps it all.
CD: James Vargas (self-titled cd)
Label: Trippin 'n' Rhythm Records
Web Site: James
|Fresh Trax: Part One
Want You - David Mann:
former member of Tower of Power, Mann enjoyed a three-year stint with
the legendary group in the early 90s and has also played along side
Sting, James Taylor, and Billy Joel. In addition to becoming a veritable
fixture on the smooth scene in NYC, Mann has written for and produced
many top artists in the genre. They're too numerous to mention here
but the list includes Nelson Rangell, Nestor Torres, Steve Cole, Kim
Waters and Wayman Tisdale among many others. He's worked with Chieli
Minucci on several occasions and his unique sax work has been featured
on hits from Club 1600 and Special EFX. David has more or less become
a permanent member of that latter band. Way back in the late 80s, Mann
recorded a pair of projects with another cd that was issued in 2001.
The latest release to showcase his talents is Marvin, Teddy & Luther,
a recent tribute album complied by Shanachie records. From that project
we have David's superb cover of the seductive Marvin Gaye classic!.
CD: Marvin, Teddy & Luther ...
- Jesse Cook:
the release of his first compact disc in 1995, Jesse Cook has taken
"Worldbeat Music" by storm. Canada's ambassador to flamenco & Rumba
has released a string of highly successful albums wherein many diverse
elements from new age, jazz, and pop are masterfully blended into a
tasty exotic dish. Each endeavours to capture the drive and energy of
Cook in concert, which must be seen to be believed. In that regard these
have been quite successful. However, this entire experience has just
been kicked up a notch. After all, what better way to secure it all
than by catching it as it happens with a live recording. Recently released
is Montréal, now Cook's sixth album and first project in a live setting.
It was recorded this past summer during Le Festival International de
Jazz de Montréal at the Metropolis Theater. From that effort we have
the appropriately titled Jumpstart!
Web Site: Jesse
After Hours ~ Exclusive
to our Web Site:
A White New Year ... actually that should be ... A Peter White New Year!
here at last is the program that I have been threatening to make for so
many years. Now if you're a fan of Peter White, and who isn't, that phrase
may have a familiar ring to it. I "borrowed" it from Peter's
first album and turned it around to fit this occasion. The idea for the
project began with the thought of a show and playing Peter's music exclusively.
Using A White Christmas as a title seemed just a bit too obvious a play
on Peter's name. However, with this show just in time to celebrate the
new year, I chose to combine a couple of ideas and came up with A White
New Year! I know, very corny and very typical. I soon discovered that
it was impossible to stop at just a one or two hour program. I had eight
cds to choose from, many of which are included on our indispensable listening
list, plus a long list of guest spots where Peter has done some of his
finest playing. I had to draw the line somewhere as I could have easily
developed this into a four or even five hour show. The result is this
installment showcasing Peter and a total of 39 of his best tracks. Now
don't be surprised! After all, back in the mid 90s I was the guy who drove
over 1700 miles, from Winnipeg all the way to Gresham, Oregon and The
Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz, just to see Peter perform live. So for the
very first time, we have a three part presentation of After Hours featuring
A Peter White New Year !