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

January 2nd, 2005
Edition #344 Previously Next

Special Presentation - The Best of 2004 - Part 1
Happy New Year to one and all! Well the time at last is here for the show that I spent most of last year looking forward to. On this first program in 2005, we take a very fond look back at musical highlights from 2004. The past year provided some incredible listening! We begin our review with the first of what will be a three-part presentation. On this instalment, we have music from Rick Braun, David Lanz, Pieces of a Dream, & Joyce Cooling. We'll also be hearing from Anita Baker, Spyro Gyra, & Gerald Albright. We don't stop there though, as our continuing mission is to go beyond playing just the hits. Style and mood are what we're all about. As such you'll be hearing from James Hollihan, Lynn Cannon, & Michael van Droff out of Germany, as well as many other fresh & cool sounds. So get set to celebrate all that was great in '04 on Café Jazz, your passport to a smooth and relaxing 2005 !

In This Issue:

Good Evening - Matt Marshak
Within the Blue - Grady Nichols
Waltz of the Leaves - James Hollihan
Kal-E-Fornia - David Lanz
How Does it Feel - Anita Baker
4 on the Floor - Gerald Albright


Highlights Hour One
Good Evening - Matt Marshak:

Marshak was in the process of completing his sophomore project, when he submitted some finished tracks to an artist search cosponsored by CD101.9, the SJ station in NYC. After being one of about a thousand entrants Marshak eventually won that contest and was named Best New Smooth Jazz Artist in The Big Apple. Released early in 2004, This Time Around displays Matt's expert blends of jazz, pop, blues, and soul all laced with some very hip grooves and tied together with highly enticing melodies. One of the finer releases that it was my pleasure to have discovered in '04. Thanks for the music Matt and for recording the liners for our show!

CD: This Time Around
Label: Nuance/Kemistre
Web Site: Matt Marshak

Back to Top
Within the Blue - Grady Nichols:
After graduating Nichols moved to Tulsa OK where he quickly became known for his appealing blend of jazz and gospel music. On Sophistication his fourth cd, Nichols definitely kicked things up a notch, having enlisted the aid of Jeff Lorber who produced and co-wrote the album. Chris Botti & Ray Fuller both make guest appearances and Paul Brown the award-winning producer handles all the mixing duties. The completion of the project was spread over a lengthy period and also spanned two major events as Nichols first got married and then became a father. This combination of circumstances and key personnel provided the perfect backdrop & all the right ingredients to make this release a winner! Thanks Grady for helping us "get on board" this project right from the get go.

CD: Sophistication
Label: Grady Nichols Ltd. /Compendia
Site: Grady Nichols

Waltz of the Leaves - James Hollihan:
Now what can I say about a project that's called the Funky Misfit? First off, the title may be a bit of a misnomer. OK! So the dude definitely is funky, but quite frankly to my mind he's no misfit. While countless others toil in vain, Hollihan not only succeeds but indeed excels at a project that's highly creative and totally unique. Could Hollihan be a prodigy of sorts who cleverly disguises his brilliance in the trappings of a humble misfit? That may be close to the truth. Or perhaps the misfit moniker is an allusion to the fact that he's located in Nashville, the country music capitol of the world. Nevertheless, on this his initial solo outing, Hollihan is the proverbial one-man band, having not only composed all the tracks and played each & every instrument, but having also recorded and mixed the entire cd. In a time where much of what we hear is prepackaged and formula driven this one stands out from the rest. From this excellent effort, we'll be experiencing five minutes of sheer musical bliss as Hollihan transports us to special place.

CD: The Funky Misfit

Back to Top
Highlights Hour Two

Kal-E-Fornia - David Lanz:
Over the past 20 years Lanz established himself as one of the most popular artists in what might be termed "new age" music. Nevertheless, the last couple of cds have seen a shift in David's style to one that exhibits a much jazzier approach to playing. The transition began a couple of years ago with the release of Finding Paradise, Lanz's successful foray into smooth jazz. The Good Life, David's recently released follow up project moves even further in that same direction. Lanz has long been known for selections that were either spiritual or romantic and in that regard his music has always been quite reflective in nature. To a large extent, this has not changed on the new release. What has changed however, is the sense of celebration that his music transmits. In fact, that is essentially what the album title was intended to convey.

The Good Life
Label: Decca
Site: David Lanz

How Does It Feel - Anita Baker:
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Baker started singing in church and then later performed in groups throughout the area. In the early 80s she scored a bit of a hit as a member of Chapter 8 before launching her solo career in 1983 with the release of The Songstress. Her big breakthrough came in 1986, when she moved over to Elektra Entertainment and released Rapture. The tremendous success of that album, and the projects that followed resulted in Baker being heralded as one of great stylists of our time. Her warm blend of romantic gospel-flavoured R&B ballads found a huge audience and earned her multi-awards. In the midst of all this success, the eight-time Grammy winner felt the need "to get away, to rest, to ... spend some time with ... my husband and my boys." My Everything released in 2004 is Anita's sixth studio album and her first since 1994's Rhythm of Love.

CD: My Everything
Label: Blue Note Records

4 on the Floor - Gerald Albright:
Already well versed as a sax player, Albright attended the University of Redlands where he earned a degree in Business Management with a minor in Music. While enrolled at Redlands, Gerald also took up bass guitar, an instrument that he thoroughly enjoyed and one which continues to give him a unique dual perspective as a musician. Shortly after graduating, Gerald joined Patrice Rushen's band and soon established himself as a first call sideman. Over the years he's worked with a lengthy list of stars including Anita Baker, Quincy Jones, and Babyface among many others. He recently concluded a tour with Phil Collins and also participated in the Groovin' For Grover Tour along with fellow sax players Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright and Paul Taylor.

In the meantime, Albright also has released nine solo projects with sales in excess of one million units. His self-produced music features him on bass guitar, keyboards, flutes, drum programming, and background vocals. Kickin' It Up is his most recent effort and one that was co-produced by Jeff Lorber, Rex Rideout and Luther "Mano" Hanes. To the Max , the first single from the album, went to #1 on the Smooth Jazz charts, but we've opted for the smooth drive of "4 on the Floor", the opening track.

CD: Kickin' It Up
Label: GRP
Site: Gerald Albright

Back to Top
After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site:
As CJ continues we have more of our Best of 2004 Special. On this instalment, we'll be hearing from some of the hit makers from last year. Wayman Tisdale, Chris Botti, & Mindi Abair all gave us memorable musical moments in '04. We have tracks from each of those. But it would be remiss of me not to include a few artists that are not as well known. For that reason Cabo Frio, Thomas Gardner, & Analysis are on this show. We also have selections from Konstantin Klashtorni, Jeff Friend, Bernard Alcorn & a few others who made their SJ debuts in the last 12 months. Those and Marcus Johnson, Wayne Henderson & the Jazz Crusaders and Down to the Bone are all in this hour.

Back to Top

Listen to Café Jazz Radio Listen to Café Jazz Radio | Show Notes Show Notes / This Week at Café Jazz Archive | Program Profile Program Profile | Contact Information Contact Info
Hot Links to Cool CatsArtist Links | Cool Links Cool Links| This Week This Week@Café Jazz.ca | Music Den The Music Den / Playlists and More | Favourites (Most Played) Café Jazz Favourites
© 2005 Jazz Lynx / Café Jazz Radio