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

March 27th, 2005
Edition #356 Previously

Special Presentation - The Quarterly Review
Where are you going to find all the freshest sounds to this point in 2005? Without any exaggeration, you need look no further! Only three months in and we've already introduced some incredible music from many familiar names in SJ such as Jeff Lorber, 3rd Force, Ken Navarro, Pamela Williams, & Bobby Caldwell. True to form, on this show we have selections from each of those. However, it would be remiss of me not to include a few personal favourites so you'll hear from Janita, Nicolas Bearde, and Queen Latifah. Nevertheless, it's artists such as Marc Kunkel, George Scott, and Steve Barakatt that really set our show apart from the rest !!
In This Issue:

Ask Me Why - 3rd Force
Sensation - Steve Barakatt
Perfect Island Nights - Bobby Caldwell
Hard Times - Queen Latifah
Pacific Coast Highway - Nils
Sweet Saxations - Pamela Williams

More of the Review

Highlights Hour One
Ask Me Why - 3rd Force:
In spite of the tremendous success of previous releases, 3rd Force had since their inception in 1994, operated strictly as a studio project. Their live debut occurred in 2002 at the Jazz Trax Festival. Driving Force is their first record in about 3 years, their seventh album overall, and first for William Aura & Co. since that appearance. At its nucleus, 3rd Force is propelled by the synergy generated by trio of Aura, Craig Dobbin, and Alain Eskinasi. Creating a layered sound that is laden with catchy hooks, the band establishes a platform that allows them to spotlight the talents of various guest artists. In this regard the new album maintains all those same key ingredients that have fueled their popularity. Now boasting an expanded lineup, they give us a fantastic groove driven track that features Eric Darius on sax!

CD: Driving Force
Label: Higher Octave Music

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Sensation - Steve Barakatt:
Hailing from Quebec City, Steve Barakatt was acknowledged as a prodigy in his youth. After all, he was just thirteen when he performed as a soloist with the Symphony Orchestra. He then went on to record his debut album the following year. Steve's versatility as an artist shows no limits. He enjoys exploring a variety of styles from semi-classical compositions to lush orchestral arrangements, from pop flavoured ballads to smooth jazz. The Best Inspirations, his latest release, is a deluxe cd/dvd package. It includes a collection of songs from six previously released albums and thus chronicles much of Steve's career to date. However, it also provides a glimpse into the future as four selections from a forthcoming project are featured. In spite of the success that he's enjoyed to this point in his career, judging from these trax, the best may still lie ahead for this young Canadian sensation !

CD: Les Plus Belles Inspirations ~ The Best Inspirations (cd/dvd)
Label: XXI - 21 Productions
Web Site: Steve Barakatt
Perfect Island Nights - Bobby Caldwell:
Following a brief foray into the world of rock and roll, Caldwell discovered his niche when he turned to jazz and R&B. His breakthrough came in 1978 with What You Won't Do For Love. The success of that hit and his subsequent projects, firmly established Caldwell as a favourite in the SJ format for most of the 80s and 90s and propelled him to super stardom in Japan. For a time, Bobby shifted his focus when he starred as Frank Sinatra in the Las Vegas production of The Rat Pack is Back. This prompted the release of a pair of projects featuring standards from the big band-era. After a hiatus of about six years, the king of pop/jazz flavoured ballads recently issued Perfect Island Nights. From that effort we're spotlighting the samba-flavoured title track. This one is perfect listening for any occasion!!

CD: Perfect Island Nights
Label: The Music Force Media Group
Web Site: Bobby Caldwell

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Highlights Hour Two
Hard Times - Queen Latifah:
On The Dana Owens Album, the former rapper turned actress, covers an unlikely collection of her favourites. The selections range from pop, to blues, to soul and span a 40 year period from the 30s to the 70s. This album is definitely one of the nicest surprises to come along in quite some time. Our favourite? Hard Times, a tune that was first recorded in 1976 by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, and appeared on their self-titled debut during the disco era. Latifah's expression and phrasing on this one are, in a word, phenomenal! This is easily one of the best tracks for the year and one that features Ms. Owens at her finest !!

CD: The Dana Owens Album
Label: Creative Battery
Web Site: Queen Latifah
Pacific Coast Highway - Nils:
For an artist who originally comes to us from Germany, Nils certainly has got this whole smooth jazz thing nailed down cold! True, he has lived in California since the mid-80s and has recorded with artists such as George Benson. A few years back, Nils also did a bit of work with The LA Jazz Syndicate. He appeared on the second release to bear 'syndicate status' and was featured on Summer Nights. In this regard his inspired playing was particularly noteworthy. All of this musical activity attracted the attention of producer Paul Brown, who enlisted Nils' guitar work for releases from Gabriela Anders and Rick Braun. In light of these credentials perhaps Nils' fluency in the genre isn't all that surprising at all. Pacific Coast Highway is his brand new release & one which merits consideration as one of the finer breakthru projects for the year. From that effort we have the superb title track !!

CD: Pacific Coast Highway
Label: Baja/TSR
Web Site: Nils
Sweet Saxations - Pamela Williams:
Have you ever just naturally connected with a person and their music? Well that's the way it is for me and Pamela Williams. The more that I listen to Pamela, the more obvious it becomes that Ms Williams is indeed the first lady of sax. I've long been a fan, but on The Perfect Love, her previous release Pamela took her artistry to a new level. In the process, she presented her most consistent and accomplished work to date. That is until now. Each time I go back to Sweet Saxations, her latest release, I discover something new, exciting and fresh! I've already slotted five selections for our program and can see the possibility of a couple more. None, however, is sweeter than the title track !!

CD: Sweet Saxations
Label: Shanachie Entertainment Corporation
Web Site: Pamela Williams

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site:
On this edition we have more of the smooth grooves of 2005, including music from Steve Cole, Chieli Minucci, & Matt Bianco. Just before we went to production, we had several great cds make their way into our studios. Among them was the first album from Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass since the 70s. I've slotted a song from that as well as tunes from Kenny G and Vanessa Williams that have never before been played on our show. And to get us in just the right frame of mind, is a selection from another recent arrival. From Private Stock, a compilation from Three Keys Music, we have High Flyin' which was a huge hit for Nick Colionne in 2004. However, this time around we've chosen the Basement Remix of that track!

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