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

October 30th, 2005
Edition #382 Previously Next

Highlights !
So what do we have for you this time that's exciting and fresh? Our two hour celebration of all the best in Smooth Jazz includes some great current favourites from Jeff Golub, Boz Scaggs, Paul Brown, & Kem. But be sure to be 'on the listen' for some real gems that lie sprinkled here & there thruout the show. We've included a few classic tracks from Steve Laury, Roger Smith, Walter Beasley, Thom Rotella, and Danny McCollim! This one is sure to cure your musical blahs!

Bus on Tour with Jeff Lorber !
The latest installment of the bus on tour with host Terry Love has been uploaded to the features page. On a sad & personal note, Terry's sister, Cynthia Diane Sprewer, recently passed away. Terry dedicates this tour to her memory.

In This Issue:

It's All Good - Brian Simpson

Groovette - Shady Grady
Wey U - Kirk Whalum
Love's Theme - Rick Braun
Everglades - Richy Kicklighter
Cha Cha Cool - Steve Raybine

Then & Now - Paul Taylor

SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
It's All Good - Brian Simpson:
Simpson has been playing piano since he turned ten. He inherited a love of jazz from his father and although he was initially drawn to the sounds of guitarists such as Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery, Oscar Peterson turned out to be his biggest influence. Simpson formalized his studies at Northern Illinois University and as a member of that school's big band he performed all over the world. Brian moved to LA in 1985 and quickly became a part of that city's vibrant jazz scene. However, for a period his journey in jazz took a bit of a detour when, in quick succession, he took part in world tours with Teena Marie, Sheena Easton, and Janet Jackson. Nevertheless, Simpson's heart has always gravitated to jazz. He's performed with many of the contemporary greats, among them George Duke, Stanley Clarke, & Larry Carlton. In addition, his own record career has just naturally veered in that direction.

Now we haven't heard anything new from Simpson for quite some time. True, he was a member of Rhythm Logic, a four-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 eight 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 ample proof of, by placing that album and it's author in our musical spotlight !
Photo ~ Courtesy of Brian's site!

There's definitely no shortage of exceptional music on this one! Nonetheless, for our purposes, I've been able to narrow things down to three selections that perfectly fit the mood and vibe of our show. We begin with Here With You, a gorgeous piece that's laid back & romantic and is an aural treat from start to finish. The ultra moody Twilight kicks off hour two, as Simpson shares the spotlight with guitarist Allen Hinds & Ron King on trumpet. The result, an incredible track that riveted my attention to the extent I almost forgot to breath! Finally, to complete the feature there's It Could Happen, a selection that's easy, melodic, & very hip. Suffice it to say, this track puts just the right sheen on one of our finest show case features to date!

CD: It's All Good (2005)
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
Site: Brian Simpson

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Groovette - Shady Grady:
Shady Grady is keyboardist Velbert Lewis, a veteran musician with over thirty-five years as a performer. Lewis began his career in 1965 as a soprano with the Philadelphia All Boys Choir. He trained on piano & concert flute and in the 70s he made his record debut as a member of The Futures. Straight out of high school, he joined the ranks as a studio player resulting in a resume that includes work with The Delfonics, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Al Green, & Isaac Hayes. In the 80s he was a member of The Life Group and in the 90s he co-wrote and co-produced three albums for Tom Borton, one of the more prominent players from that period. With Borton, he also co-produced some original music for Super Bowl commercials featuring Tina Turner. In addition he's worked on Dionne Warwick's World Tour and continues to do that today. Now Lewis has discovered a way to reinvent himself as Shady Grady. From his smooth jazz debut, Shady Grady gives us the suave & rhythmic Groovette. Groove on Shady, groove on !

CD: All Wound Up (2005)
Label: Celebrity Status Entertainment
Wey U - Kirk Whalum:
Whalum is one of the most highly regarded saxplayers on the contemporary scene. Since his father was a pastor, it's not surprising to learn that that Kirk's love of music found life in the Baptist church. Whalum picked up his first sax in junior high, but by the time he graduated he had become proficient enough to win a scholarship at Texas Southern in Houston. There, he built a strong following as a sideman and in the course of events started his own band. Whalum's reputation in that regard grew so that he soon became the main opening act for jazz shows coming thru the area. So it was that in 1983 he opened for Bob James and within a couple of weeks the native of Memphis found himself in New York City, soloing on James's new album. He joined Bob and his touring band and eventually signed a deal that resulted in the release of his 1985 solo debut.

A couple of years later, Kirk received a call from Larry Carlton and was soon headed to LA to record with him. It was during that session that Whalum decided to relocate to the glitter capitol. He quickly rose in prominence as player as he took part in a variety of gigs with a slew of biggies, a list that included Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, and Whitney Houston. In fact he toured with Houston until 1997 and seven years in all. On the solo front, Whalum's career really started to take off about two years earlier when he scored his first #1 album. In the period since he's had several top releases, in the areas of both Smooth Jazz and gospel music, and he's earned seven Grammy Nominations. His latest effort that's been out for a short while is entitled The Babyface Songbook and with that as its title, there seems to be little need to go into further detail as to what the album entails. Suffice it to say we've selected a great track called Wey U that features Gabriela Anders on vocals !

CD: The Babyface Songbook (2005)
Label: Shanachie Records
Site: Kirk Whalum

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Love's Theme - Rick Braun :
Over the past few years Braun has become firmly entrenched as one of the most popular players in Smooth Jazz. It wasn't always that way though. The native of Allentown Pennsylvania studied at the Eastman School of Music & was a member of Auracle (see our write-up on Steve Raybine) before making his way to LA in 1977. There he enjoyed a variety of experiences. In the mid-80s he toured with the group War. He wrote the hit Here With Me for REO Speedwagon and also enjoyed a stint as a member of Rod Stewart's band. It was in 1993 that he issued his solo debut and shortly thereafter he got a gig as the touring trumpeter for Sade on her "Love Deluxe" tour. That proved to a pivotal point in his career. He's now released nine solo cds with Yours Truly as his new one. This latest release takes the form of a musical letter from Braun to his fans as he traces some the tracks have been personal touchstones over the course of his career. From that release we selected Love's Theme, the Barry White classic and a track that Braun heard repeatedly during his drive across the US back in '77. A killer job on this one and one of our favourites from the album!

CD: Yours Truly (2005)
Label: ARTizen Music Group
Site: Rick Braun
Everglades - Richy Kicklighter:
With a title like Everglades, you're probably thinking that this track has something to do with Florida. If so, you're right. Kicklighter is a Sarasota based guitarist who issued a series of albums from the mid-80s thru until the late 90s. Although he's continued to perform locally he's been conspicuously silent on the record front for quite some time. Moving Skies is his recently issued seventh release and first since 1998. The music follows more or less the same course as his previous albums, moody & melodic, with much of it being inspired by the Myakka River which as part of its course runs thru the similarly named State Park not far from Kicklighter's home base. Richy often frequents its banks in order to relax and get rejuvenated and his music has long showed an affinity for its natural rhythms. Indeed, the title of Kicklighter's 1994 cd was Myakka. In any event, Everglades seems to perfectly reflect the feeling of a winding restful sojourn on that river !

CD: Moving Skies (2005)
Label: Midnight Sneaker Music
Site: Richy Kicklighter
Cha Cha Cool - Steve Raybine:
Considered as a bit of a virtuoso, Raybine received degrees from the Eastman School of Music and from universities in both Wisconsin and Iowa. As cofounder of the progressive jazz ensemble Auracle, (see Rick Braun above), Raybine (he spelled his name Rehbein at the time) toured the US and Europe and took part in a pair of albums during his eight-year tenure with the band. In the mid-70s, he appeared as an LA studio musician. He played on TV soundtracks for several studios and enjoyed a variety of freelance projects. For the past 10 years he's conducted numerous clinics and taught jazz studies & percussion at several universities all across the States. Further to this educational aspect of his career, Raybine has presented several research papers to the International Association of Jazz Educators and as well, his works have been published on a number of occasions. In addition Steve & his band have a busy schedule as they perform a variety of Steve's original contemporary compositions. Bad Kat Karma is now Raybine's second release and from that album we're featuring one very hip track titled Cha Cha Cool !

CD: Bad Kat Karma (2005)
Label: Bad Kat Records
Site: Steve Raybine

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition we're spotlighting music from Paul Taylor as part of our T&N feature. Then, there's more from Jason Parra, Gregg Karukas, & Camiel as we further explore each of their releases. We're introducing RC & The Groovediggers out of Massanutten, Virginia. We've also thrown into the mix a couple of favourites from Will Donato & Chieli Minucci. And we have something brand new from Jason Weber, the exciting saxman based in San Diego, that will be our closing track and I hope you can stay with us for that because I assure you it'll be well worth your wait. But to get things going, we're heading to the latest from George Benson !
Then & Now Feature : Paul Taylor

On The Horn
Countdown Records

Pleasure Seeker
Countdown Records


Peak Records

Steppin' Out
Peak Records

Peak Records

Paul Taylor: Taylor started playing the sax at seven, but didn't consider a career in music until he was already in high school. The Denver CO native won a scholarship to the University of Nevada and would often commute to LA in the hope of building a resumé beyond the lounge gigs that marked his early years. Among other experiences, Taylor took part in a session at Jeff Lorber's home studio. This set the stage for Taylor to accompany Lorber at the Jazz Trax Festival a couple of years later. As luck would have it, in attendance at the festival were Keiko Matsui and her husband & producer Kazu. As a result of that performance, the Matsuis offered Taylor an audition, and consequently he ended up recording and touring with Keiko for a couple of years. Meanwhile it was Kazu who produced Taylor's 1995 debut release On The Horn and its #1 hit 'Till We Meet Again'.

Photo courtesy of
Paul's Site!
Taylor's quick rise to popularity was followed by Pleasure Seeker and another #1 hit with its title track. Although subsequent projects also faired very well and made Paul one of the most popular live performers in the genre, he didn't hesitate when Russ Freeman invited him to tour with The Rippingtons. Following a brief stint with the band, Paul resumed his solo career with the release of Steppin' Out issued on Freeman's Peak Records. The album made the Billboard Top Ten for 2004 & the title track was the third most played selection for the entire year. Taylor then joined the all-star "Groovin' For Grover" tour, which boasted a lineup that included his old friend Jeff Lorber as well as two other prominent saxplayers in the likes of Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright. Paul also made his acting debut on One Life To Live that same year. With his career firing on all cylinders and in anticipation of celebrating his tenth year as a solo performer, in 2005 Taylor released Nightlife, his 6th project overall and one that seems poised to become Taylor's biggest success to date.

So it's with great pleasure that we now feature Paul Taylor & a track from each of those six releases as the focus for our Then & Now segment. We're starting with Paul's first two #1 hits, 'Til We Meet Again & Pleasure Seeker. That's followed by Aerial, Pendulum and Cantina. Finally we close with East Bay Bounce and his latest single. Those are taken from the above albums respectively!

Site: Paul Taylor

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