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This Week at Café

May 8th, 2005
Edition #362 PreviouslyThis Week at Café - Edition #361 Next

We introduced the Back Trax feature a few weeks ago & due to it's overwhelming popularity the plan is to make this a regular feature on the show. The plan is to alternate between it & our Fresh Trax feature, so for the most part that's what you can expect in the weeks ahead. But of course there's a whole lot more to this show, 24 tracks in all in just two hours! Many of these you'll hear only here and nowhere else. Be sure to catch this edition as we play Lake Effect, Machan, & Bernard Oattes to name a few. Then there's the Rippingtons, 3rd Force & Eric Marienthal. The attempt is provide a nice balance between old and new and between tracks that well known and others that should be better known. We work hard at creating an interesting blend and sincerely hope that we will hit upon something that's just right for you. That's all right here on Café Jazz, where the music is always distinctive and fresh!!

In This Issue:

Got It Goin' On - Chieli Minucci

No Getting Over You - Kilauea
Lydian - Norman Brown
Green Eyes - Marcos Ariel
Sup Poze - Hiroshima
You Make Me Smile - Dave Koz

Then & Now - Jeff Lorber

SPINLIST: Spinlist Ed#362

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Showcase CD
Got It Goin' On - Chieli Minucci:

It was at the age of six, that Minucci was introduced to the piano by his father who also encouraged him to compose. By 8, however, Chieli had fallen in love with the guitar & that became his instrument of choice. He formed his first band when he was 13 and then developed his unique approach to guitar while attending Ithaca College. This was also a period during which he was also exposed to jazz. In 1982, Minucci connected with the late George Jinda & formed Special EFX. The pair recorded extensively and by the mid-90s they were riding a wave of popularity. It was right around then, that Chieli chose to launch his solo career.

Since that time, Minucci has developed into one of the most respected artist in contemporary instrumental music. He resurrected the Special EFX name a few years back and has spearheaded three superb projects since then. Chieli has earned several Emmy nominations for his work on The Guiding Light and actually won an award back in 1998. He's written for and produced various artists, done a variety of session work for the likes of Celine Dion & The Backstreet Boys, and has as well as continued his solo career. In that regard, his latest is fittingly titled Got It Goin' On.

On what is now his sixth release & 23rd album overall, Chieli continues to climb to new creative heights. Okay, so all the qualities that have made Minucci such a familiar name in contemporary jazz are still present. That includes slick phrasing, powerful progressions, & intriguing melodies. Referring to his blend of styles as fusion, Chieli's music frequently takes an unexpected twist or turn here or there. He continues to grow & evolve in his craft and often hurtles headlong into heretofore unexplored musical terrain. Perhaps it's this latter aspect more than any other that makes listening to Minucci particularly rewarding as seemingly diverse elements are blended in a unique & innovative fashion resulting in a totally enjoyable and satisfying experience.

To launch the showcase feature, we're presenting exactly such a piece and one that perfectly incorporates all of the above, a fabulous tune called The Juice on which Chieli has a funky bluesy thing happening that I'm sure you're gonna love. Marion Meadows helps out on soprano sax on the track. Then opening hour two is Love is Always Young, a song that was written by Ulpio Minucci, Chieli's father, who himself had quite a significant career in music having written for Nat King Cole & Bing Crosby. In any event, the elder Minucci wrote the selection when he was already in his 80s and covering the tune is Chieli's way of paying tribute to his dad and saying thanks for the encouragement that he gave Chieli to pursue his passion as a musician.
Photo: Courtesy of

And to conclude the feature we have Stars in Your Eyes, a spunky track that's highlighted by the great the saxwork of Jeff Kashiwa together with Steve Oliver on vocals.

The promo literature accompanying the album closes with the phrase ...and I for one couldn't agree more...." Chieli Minucci most certainly has Got It Goin' On" as he presents his finest effort to date!

CD: Got It Goin' On
Label: Shanachie
Site: Chieli Minucci

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Back Trax: Part One

No Getting Over You - Kilauea:
Kilauea was one of the more popular smooth jazz groups from the early to mid 90s. The brain thrust behind the band was Hawaiian born Daniel Ho. As a youth, Ho learned a variety of instruments before moving to Los Angeles to study composing, arranging and film scoring. In 1990, Daniel launched his music career acting as leader, keyboardist, producer and composer for Kilauea. Utilizing a revolving group of personal, by 1997, the band had achieved six best-selling releases with all but one reaching the R&R top five. On this occasion we present a track that was previously unreleased and appeared on the Diamond Collection cd in 1995. It features Ho on piano accompanied by Greg Vail on sax and was one of their prettiest pieces ever!

CD: Diamond Collection (1995)
Label: Brain Child Records
Site: Daniel Ho

Lydian - Norman Brown:
Brown first became interested in playing guitar when he was eight years old. One of his earliest idols was Jimi Hendrix. However, this all changed when Norman's father introduced him to the music of Wes Montgomery. From then on Brown turned his guitar talents to jazz. His increasing interest in that musical form led him to Los Angeles in the mid-80s where he enrolled at the Musician's Institute in Hollywood. Upon graduating, Norman taught guitar for a while and then shortly after he was signed to a deal with Motown's MoJazz label. Brown released three albums in all on MoJazz including After the Storm, which proved to be his break thru project. Suddenly, critics and listeners alike were comparing the young guitarist to jazz greats such as Benson & Montgomery himself. Now several cds & a Grammy award later, Brown continues to impress. However, we're heading straight back to 1994 and that sophomore release for one of his finest pieces. From After The Storm we have a superb track called Lydian that features the trumpet of veteran sessionist Raymond Brown!

CD: After The Storm (1994)
Label: MoJazz
Site: Norman Brown

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Back Trax: Part Two

Green Eyes - Marcos Ariel:
In a career that dates back to the 1970s, Ariel has long dedicated himself to promoting the music of his homeland. The Brazilian born keyboardist studied classical music in his youth, and was later drawn to jazz. Although his early recordings received some international recognition, it wasn't until an effort in 1988 that he was projected into the limelight. Throughout the years Marcos has performed regularly in the USA and has continued to enjoy a degree of success with each of his projects. In particular, My Only Passion from 1999, provided one of his most focused performances to date. From that release, we present Green Eyes, a track that features an old friend & fellow countryman, Ricardo Silveira, with some incredible acoustic guitar work. Together they provide us with one of the most exquisite tracks that we've ever played & one that continues to be a personal favourite !!

CD: My Only Passion (1999)
Label: Paras Recording Co.
Site: Marcos Ariel ; Ricardo Silveira

Sup Poze - Hiroshima:
It's now been almost 30 years since the first ensemble to bear the name Hiroshima was formed by East LA native Dan Kuramoto & by June Kuramoto, the only member of the band born in Japan. For the most part it has been June Kuramoto, one of the world's leading koto players, who has developed into the group's guiding creative force. The band's recording career began in 1979 with their self-titled debut, which for the first time presented Hiroshima's blend of musical flavours in a unique & compelling fashion. The band has always stood at the forefront of creating music with cross-cultural connections as East meets West. Throughout the years, they've remained innovative & dynamic. By incorporating many exotic & mystical elements they have in a sense tended to elevate their music to an almost spiritual level. And although they've maintained their popularity with subsequent projects, perhaps no effort better presented these vital characteristics of their style than the 1999 effort titled Between Black and White. From that album, we have a gorgeous tune and one of their best!

CD: Between Black & White (1999)
Label: Windham Hill Jazz
Sites: Hiroshima

You Make Me Smile - Dave Koz:
Koz initially picked up the sax so that he might be able to play in his brother's band. However, this soon became the driving force in Dave's life and it has continued as his lifelong passion. In fact a few years later, after he had earned a degree in communications, Dave decided to try his hand at a career as a professional musician. It wasn't too long afterward, that Koz was recruited for Bobby Caldwell's touring band. During this period, Koz connected with Jeff Lorber, who invited Dave to join him on one of his tours. That was followed by a year long stint with Richard Marx. In the meantime, Koz was lucky enough to land a record deal thanks to a demo that was produced by Lorber. Dave released his self-titled debut in 1990 & thereby launched what has become one of the most successful careers in SJ. However, it's Koz's sophomore effort, the Lucky Man cd from 1993, that we go to on this occasion for the track You Make Me Smile. That selection proved to be a big hit for Koz & helped cement his path to stardom!

CD: Lucky Man (1993)
Label: Capitol Records
Site: Dave Koz

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this installment, we're introducing the music of Black Gold Massive & a great track from their forthcoming release. We have fresh tunes from Acoustic Alchemy, Paul Taylor, and Jonathan Sigel as we explore their latest albums. Jeff Lorber is spotlighted on a special extended version of T&N & I know you won't want to miss that. Then that's followed by the latest installment of a new feature that we started a few weeks back called In The Lounge. We're focusing on some of the great chill based music that has come out in the last short while and on this edition, we'll be hearing from Camiel, the Dutch duo of Adani & Wolf and from Verve Remixed & the 3rd release in that series we have a great mix of a Billie Holiday track! Music that's practically nonstop and two great features in one hour!! Don't miss it!
Then & Now Feature: Jeff Lorber

Worth Waiting For
Verve Forecast

West Side Stories
Verve Forecast

Zebra Records

Kickin' It
Samson Records

Philly Style
Narada Jazz

Narada Jazz

Jeff Lorber: One of the true pioneers of contemporary instrumental music, Jeff’s love of jazz began while he attended the Berklee College of Music. In the late 70s, the Philadelphia native formed The Jeff Lorber Fusion, a group that combined elements from funk, R&B, rock and electric jazz. For a time, it also featured Kenny G, who was then a little-known sax player. The unit quickly became one of the most popular acts of the day, but was disbanded at the height of their popularity by Lorber, who chose instead to focus on production and session work. In the course of events, Jeff returned to recording his own music in the early 90s and quickly resumed his position as one of the most influential players on the scene. Now several cds into this phase of his career, like a fine wine, Lorber seems to just keep getting better with age and in the process has created a remarkable catalogue of music. We take this opportunity to share a few of these musical highlights with you in a special extended installment of Then & Now. Featured are Worth Waiting For, Point Venus, Watching the Sun Set, Gigabyte, When She Smiles, & Santa Monica Triangle in chronological order.

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