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This Week at Café

September 18th, 2005
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Highlights !!
In creating a weekly show, I try very hard to incorporate a variety of elements that will not only complement one another, but will also go well beyond the mundane fair that you may hear elsewhere. Okay, so this is one of those not so rare occasions where all the pieces just seemed to fall into place perfectly!

A fabulous FT feature, a spectacular showcase segment, great pacing, and a near flawless blend of tempos & textures. This one has it all and is one of our best shows yet!

In This Issue:

Temptation - Jeff Golub

Here With You - Brain Simpson
Steppin' Out - Kim Waters
Caught in a Moment - Jay Soto
Wish You Were Here - Jason Parra
Elizabeth - David Pack

Then & Now - Steve Cole

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Showcase CD
Temptation - Jeff Golub:
A native of Akron Ohio, Golub's blend of blues, rock, and jazz has made him one of the most popular guitarists on the contemporary instrumental scene. He attended Berklee in Boston in the 70s, and after relocating to NYC in 1980, Jeff rose to prominence as a top session player and sideman. Golub backed many of the top names of the day, both live & in the studio, a list that included Tina Turner and Vanessa Williams. In 1988, Golub released his solo debut and that same year he connected with Rod Stewart, with whom he enjoyed an 8-year stint. Along the way (1994), Jeff released the first of his Avenue Blue Projects which primarily served as a platform to showcase Golub's somewhat prodigious talents as a guitarist. Three cds were issued under the Avenue Blue banner, each produced by Rick Braun, a fellow ex-Stewart band mate. Five more have followed under Jeff's own name with Temptation the most recent of these.

On this effort, Golub has hooked up with top producer Paul Brown for the first time. This affiliation certainly hasn't hurt Jeff one bit, in fact in my humble opinion, he's never sounded better!! Always possessing great technique & evoking an incredible tone, Golub continues to build on the success that he's enjoyed to this point in his career. Perhaps a bit smoother than some of his previous efforts, Temptation may nevertheless, be his most focused project to date. In any event, it's with great pleasure that we place the album & its author in our music spotlight!

Photo ~ album insert!

We could have started our musical review with any of about a half dozen selections but settled on Have You Heard? It's an easy going & bluesy sort of tune with a cool groove ... great listening for any fan of the man, or a pretty good introduction to those who may be new to his sound. Then kicking off hour 2 is the moody title track and one of our favourites!! There's tone to spare on this one as Jeff's dexterity & subtle touches can't help but impress!! Finally we close with Evolution, a slightly more complex & upbeat piece. It's here that Golub's nuanced approach really sparkles!! Easily one of the finer releases for the year!

CD: Temptation
Label: Narada Jazz
Web Site: Jeff Golub

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Fresh Trax: Part One

Here With You - Brian Simpson:
Now we haven't heard anything new from Simpson for quite some time. True, he was a member of Rhythm Logic, a 4-piece combo that recorded a pair of projects back in the late 90s, but Brian's one & only previous solo effort was released all the way back in 1995. So what's this man been doing? Well for the most part Brian has been a member of Dave Koz's tour band for about ten years and for the past few he's also acted in the capacity of Koz's musical director. That brings us more or less to the present as Simpson just recently issued It's All Good, his long overdue follow-up effort on his old buddy Dave's Rendezvous record label. Well was it worth the wait? You bet it was !! Simpson's work with some of the top players in the genre together with his grounding in straight ahead jazz, have allowed his artistry to develop at a deeper level, a fact that we're very happy to provide proof of, with the track that we've selected !! Some incredible music on this one, something for everyone, and to my tastes at least, it's one of the finest releases of the year!

CD: It's All Good
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
Web Site: Brian Simpson

Steppin' Out - Kim Waters:
During a 16-year career Waters has developed into a trendsetter in contemporary jazz. For Kim it all began with the release of his solo debut in 1989. He scored a modest hit with Sweet & Saxy, the album's title track, and although he released a series of projects over the next few years, things didn't really get into high gear until the issue of Love's Melody in 1998. As a result, Waters has scored ten #1 hits, recorded 13 albums in all and has sold over a million records, placing him among the top 5 best selling instrumentalists in the genre. All for Love is now Kim's sixth CD for Shanachie Entertainment and from it we have Steppin' Out. The track was co-written by Waters & fellow saxman David Mann. It's the first single from the album & definitely whets one's musical appetite in the expectation of what lies in store on the remainder of the album!

CD: All For Love
Label: Shanachie Records
Web Site: Kim Waters

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Fresh Trax: Part Two

Caught in a Moment - Jay Soto:
Soto is an accomplished composer, arranger and producer. He's been a church choir director, he's written for TV and has opened for many acts in the Phoenix area where he resides. In 2004, Jay entered Guitar Center's "Guitarmageddon Competition". He not only won the local, district and regional portions, he also made it as far as the finals. Out of a field of over 3000 guitarists nationwide, Soto appeared as one of six competitors at Eric Clapton's Guitar Festival in Dallas, where he played for an audience of 15,000 plus. Hot on the heals of that experience, Jay has just issued Long Time Coming, his debut. Check out any of several tracks and it should become obvious, why Soto faired as well as he did. The music is upbeat and melodic, and encompasses a variety of styles & moods. And as for Soto, well this man possesses loads of tone, a fact that he repeated demonstrates as his fingers literally fly over the strings. Being the sap that I am, I'm drawn to the pieces that are for me at least, emotionally evocative. The stuff that tugs at my heart. I've already slotted three incredible tracks for this & future shows and I'm certain there will be more. A highly commendable first effort and one that ranks among the finer breakthru releases for the year!

CD: Long Time Coming
Label: SotoPop

Wish You Were Here - Jason Parra & The X Factor:
Parra's resume includes the McDonalds All-American Jazz Band, and winning the soloist competition at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. An accomplished studio player and singer/songwriter, he's performed and toured with over a dozen Grammy Award Winners and shared the stage with countless other artists. He's played professionally throughout the United States and abroad and currently resides in Boise Idaho. Although Boise may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering hotbeds of the contemporary scene, nevertheless it's here that Parra seemed poised to create a huge impact with his debut release. Teaming up up with several like minded musicians, Jason has just issued Two Reasons, his debut. Very creative stuff too as Parra isn't afraid to display his technique in a variety of progressive settings!! From that effort we're featuring Wish You Were Here, an outstanding track and one that will undoubtedly be included in our end of the year best of '05 series of specials!

CD: Two Reasons
Label: Independent Release

Elizabeth - David Pack:
For many years Pack's voice & song writing provided the heart behind the group Ambrosia, a mainstay in soft rock from the mid-'70s thru to the early '80s. Pack released a solo album back in 1985 but for the most part he's spent the past two decades behind the scenes producing and writing for other artists. He returned to performing in 2004 & has now issued his second effort in as many years with The Secret of Moving On as he travels the comeback trail. Included are new takes on a couple of classic from the past and a few heavy weights (namely Russ Freeman, David Benoit, and Eric Marienthal) help out on a few others. Nevertheless, I've selected one of two tracks that close the album that Pack dedicates to his two daughters. On this occasion, it's Elizabeth, a beautifully melodic piece that sweeps you away as it unfolds!! The tune is highlighted by the fabulous percussion of Luis Conte, but it's David himself who shines on the track as he handles guitar, piano, & vocals!

CD: The Secret Of Movin' On
Label: Peak Records
Web Sites: David Pack

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this installment, we're continuing the fine tradition that we've established over the past few weeks, we spare no effort in delivering music that's distinctive & fresh!! Steve Cole is in the spotlight on T&N, we're delving ever more deeply into recent efforts from 3D, Walter Beasley, & Jay Soto. There's more from Gregg Karukas, Jay Soto, and Marc Antoine. We're introducing Robin Avery, and just as a we going to production in came new releases from Joe McBride & Bona Fide so we'll have something from those as well!
Then & Now Feature: Steve Cole

Stay Awhile Atlantic/Bluemoon
Between Us
Warner Bros.
Narada Jazz

Steve Cole: A native of the Windy City, Steve Cole grew up the son of a clarinet & sax player. It was Steve's father, who first exposed his son to Jazz in its many varied forms. The two would often sit around listening to various programs on NPR radio and enjoy playing 'name that player'. Following his father's example, Cole took some classical training on clarinet before switching to the sax. He studied the instrument throughout high school and then attended Northwestern University to polish his technical skills. He studied in Amsterdam for a bit and even got to perform with the Chicago Symphony when he won one of their annual competitions.

Photo courtesy of
Steve's Site!
However, not being entirely sure about a career path, Cole for a time abandoned his musical training. He enrolled in a course of studies leading to a BA in economics. He spent a few years in the world of high finance, and was actually in the process of acquiring an MBA, before he finally realized that his heart gravitated to music, not business. At about the same time, his focus changed when he discovered Spyro Gyra & Grover Washington.

Steve began to gig on the club scene and also did some commercial work for radio and TV. He toured with Bob Mamet for a bit and early on, he hooked up with fellow Chicagoan, Brian Culbertson. Cole played on 3 of Brian's albums although he's listed as Steve Finckle (his real name) in the credits. In the course of events, this led to the release of Stay Awhile, Steve's own highly successful solo debut in 1998, for which he was recognized as Best New Artist at the 2000 Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards. His follow-up efforts have been winners and now with the release of Spin, his fourth & latest effort, the timing seemed just right for Steve and our Then & Now feature!

In any event, the tracks that I've selected include When I Think of You, From The Start, Missing You, and Thursday in that order & from the above albums respectively!

Web Site: Steve Cole

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