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

January 15th, 2006
Edition #392 Previously Next

Special Presentation - The Best of 2005 - Part 2
After a short break from our review, we're picking up where we left off a couple of weeks ago as we continue the Café Jazz Best of 2005 with part 2 in our 3 part series of specials. This special edition includes tracks from some of the big names in Smooth Jazz such as Acoustic Alchemy, Hiroshima, Ken Navarro, The Rippingtons, Jonathan Butler, & Marc Antoine, although not always the track that you might expect to hear based on chart action that has in a phrase become "too predictable"! There's more though, as our continuing mission compels us to go where no radio program has gone before! For that reason we have selections from Patrick Yandall, Michael Brandeburg, Marcin Nowakowski, and Mark Kunkel!

In This Issue:

Serene - Paul Hardcastle
The Crossing - Acoustic Alchemy
You Are Everything - Ken Navarro
Into You - The Rippingtons
Saturday Love - Patrick Yandall
Camden Town - Marc Antoine


***Most Played in '05 ***

Highlights Hour One
Serene - Paul Hardcastle:
At The Café we generally march to the beat of our own drummer. Every now & then though, we're in sync with what's happening on the broader smooth jazz scene; that is when they happen to get it right. Such was the case with this selection that found a comfortable spot at the top of several charts for a few weeks running! In fact Serene came in #2 on our own list of most played tracks for the entire year. Nevertheless, in our never ending quest to play the absolute best smooth jazz that we can find, there were a couple of other songs that helped satiate our appetite. Midnight Moon, Straight Ahead and one or two others made Hardcastle 4 our #5 album for '05. Yet the most telling stat and one; Paul Hardcastle was our #1 artist for the year!

CD: Hardcastle 4
Label: trippin 'n' Rhythm Records
Site: Paul Hardcastle

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The Crossing - Acoustic Alchemy:
Acoustic Alchemy has been a perennial favourite on our show since we first took to the airwaves to spread our musical message. Now well into the second incarnation of the band, Greg Carmichael & company continue to reward our good taste. Exhibiting a totally distinctive style, the Alchemy sound has always been grounded in superior musicianship and the willingness to resist being pigeon-holed. This has never been truer than on American/English. The band stretches in new directions and yet provides one its finest & most melodic moments ever in The Crossing, our 4th most played song for the year. Selections such as this only serve to affirm our affinity for this outstanding band and helped push American / English the # 4 album for the year!

CD: American/English
Label: Higher Octave Music
Site: Acoustic Alchemy

You Are Everything - Ken Navarro:
After establishing himself in Los Angeles as a premiere session player, Navarro launched his solo career in 1990 & simultaneously introduced the Positive Music record label. In the time since he's earned a reputation as a leading stylist in the genre with a string of excellent releases. Navarro's name on a project is a virtual guarantee that it's going to be great. The music is melodic, uplifting, and is always delivered with the utmost taste. Qualities such as these have made Navarro a favourite in Smooth Jazz in general & on our show in particular. Over the years, we've spotlighted several of Navarro's cds, a total that is now 16 albums deep, and includes a seasonal release, a best of, as well as a live endeavour. Love Coloured Soul, his latest studio effort, was a winner in '05! The cd found its way to the #9 slot for our most played album and helped push Navarro to our #7 most played artist. Meanwhile, the track that were playing was our #7 most played selection for the year!

CD: Love Coloured Soul
Label: Positive Music
Site: Ken Navarro

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Highlights Hour Two

Into You - The Rippingtons:
A few years back, band leader Russ Freeman helped launch the Peak Records label. That and a revamped line up have allowed this latest incarnation of The Rippingtons to maintain freshness in their sound and style. 1986 saw the release of their debut disc and now almost two decades later, Wild Card is the latest & 16th album overall. As with each of his projects, Freeman pushes the ensemble into new territory, this time enlisting the aid of a pair of Cuban Grammy-winning Latin salsa stars on a couple of tracks. Nonetheless, it's that familiar Rippingtons' sound, now projected nearly 20 years into the future that draws us to this album on this occasion. From Wild Card we have Into You, a superb track that's highlighted by the saxwork of the Eric Marienthal!

CD: Wild Card
Label: Peak Records
Site: The Rippingtons

Saturday Love - Patrick Yandall:
Over the past few years it's been our pleasure to chronicle the evolution of Patrick Yandall's recording career, so right off the hop, I had a really good feeling about this record. Each project has been better than the last and therefore it was with great anticipation that I put the cd on the moment it arrived. By the time I'd completed my first aural inspection of the disc, I became aware of Yandall's master plan. With his chops now honed to razor sharpness, Patrick was indeed intent on conquering the world of smooth jazz. And deep within the recesses of my own mind, I was scheming of ways that I was going to help. As such, now several months later, as accolades continue to poor in from various parts of the planet, back here at The Cafe it's no surprise to find Yandall's name frequently occurring on our year end most played lists. Eyes of Mars #6 was most played album for the year, Yandall was voted #16 most played artist and #3 break thru artist for '05, while Saturday Love, the selection that we're playing on this edition, came in #11. You gotta like those stats!

CD: The Eyes of Mars
Label: Apria Records
Site: Patrick Yandall

Camden Town - Marc Antoine:
From Marc Antoine comes Camden Town, one of our top discoveries for the year! Antoine has been one of the favourite performers in smooth jazz since the mid 90s so how can we be so brazen as to talk about discovering one of his tracks? Well, without playing too free & easy with the term, we see it this way. Who else on radio was playing this selection? If anyone, it would indeed be a short list. Marc has never been reluctant to stretch himself and step outside the limiting confines of what is normally termed as radio friendly music. Sure he's had his fair share of nicely polished & easy to listen to selections. Still, from his very first album he's incorporated diverse elements from his musical palette, from Jazz, Latin and African music, & blended these into his mix. Yet at this point in his career, Marc refuses to play it safe and has taken his music in another new & exciting direction!

For the past 3 years he's lived in Spain, a time during which he became a father. These experiences together with many of his travels have inspired Antoine. As such, for Modern Times, he used electric guitar on some tracks. He also enlisted the aid of David Ferrero, a producer well known in the club world for his dance grooves and pulsating rhythms, a bold move and a new direction but we're as excited as Marc and we're right there with him! Camden Town barely missed our top twenty tracks for the year. Nevertheless, Modern Times was the #18 most played album and Antoine our #2 most played artist for all of '05!

CD: Modern Times
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
Site: Marc Antoine

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site:
Part two in our series of specials continues with an exquisite mix that includes Kenny G, David Sanborn, & Seal. But we also have tracks from Snake Davis, Maysa, Alex Bugnon and others that may not be as familiar, names such as ShelbyBrown & Gail Jhonson. And once again, we're featuring a two part presentation so once you're done listening to hour one please click on the second paw for the second half of a superb After Hours feature.

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