February 26th, 2006
On this edition, we're spotlighting Now Can U Feel Me, the latest from TFOXX. Then, we're back with a fabulous five pack of golden listening on our biweekly Back Trax feature. This time out we've included tracks from Count Basic, The Roberts Bros., David Benoit, The David Blamires Group, & Marcos Valle. There's also a couple of pleasant surprises for your listening pleasure from Ric Mandell and Matt Marshak. Expect more from Vince Mai & his new one; tracks form both Brian Simpson and Gregg Karukas that have somehow to this point escaped our attention; a couple of favourites from Gretchen Lieberum and Jason Weber, as well as selections from Marc Antoine, Michael Lington and Marion Meadows, although not always the ones that you might expect!
Now Can U Feel Me - TFOXX:
Coming to us from St. Pete's Florida, Willie J. Thompson III earned his nickname a few years back because of the sly way he plays guitar. As a young man, Thompson entered the US Marine Corps, a gig that proved to be a rather lengthy one as it lasted 20 years or so. Nonetheless, it did allow Thompson to gain valuable performing experience all over the US and in addition, he appeared with Chubby Checker live in Japan. Since then, "The Foxx" has worked at establishing himself on the music scene in the Tampa Bay area. He's opened for a variety of acts, among them George Benson, BB King, Roger Smith, & more recently Brian Culbertson & Patti Austin. Now a veteran performer, Thompson has played professionally for 29 years, and he has four previous cds to his credit.
|Nevertheless, "T" has just launched a brand new phase in his career. Early in 2004, he won a battle of the bands competition sponsored by WSJT, the smooth station in the Tampa area. And, of course you've heard the name TFOXX on our show before. We first spotlighted a couple of tracks by "T" after receiving an ep of his material just over a year ago. Since then TFOXX has had a selection that he co-wrote (Side Steppin') featured on the new release from top producer, now also top guitarist, Paul Brown, and you've also heard that track on our show. That brings us almost completely up to date as TFOXX has just released Now Can U Feel Me.
Photo: Courtesy of
This latest effort was produced in collaboration with our old friend
Allon Sams at Studio A, and naturally there are several selections that
are a welcome fit for our show. In any event, it's with great pleasure
that we place Willie TFOXX Thompson & Now Can U Feel Me in our music
spotlight. From that effort we begin with Vinoy Park the lead track
and a great selection that's musically "frosted" with some cool flugelhorn
courtesy of Mic Smith, who guests on the track. The quartet of players
includes Allon Sams on keys, Ruben Drake on bass, and the sly one himself
who provides some very slick licks on guitar on the selection! Opening
hour 2 is the smooth groove of In The Pocket and finally as we wrap
things up we have the buoyant optimism of If Clouds Could Talk!
CD: Now Can U Feel Me
Label: Den House
Site: TFOXX ; Allon Sams
|Back Trax: Part One
One 4 - Count Basic :
The brain thrust behind Count Basic is Austrian guitarist Peter Legat. Formed back in the early 90s, the band featured the soulful vocals of Kelli Sae and became one of the most popular representatives of the so-called Acid Jazz movement. Nevertheless, it's Legat's fine guitar work & phrasing that most often drew us to the sound of this band. The Count Basic debut release in 1994 led to international exposure and subsequently they scored a pair of #1 hits in the US. They toured Europe from London to Moscow all while delivering a powerful live show that featured an impressive 11 piece "big" band and released four studio projects to go along with one live cd. Perhaps no track better served to showcase Legat's talents than the selection that we've chosen. From the year 2000 and Trust Your Instincts, we have One One 4!
CD: Trust Your Instincts (2000)
Label: Instinct Records
Site: Count Basic
Is The Midnight Sea - David Blamires Group:
Born in England, Blamires emigrated to Canada when he was 11 and grew up in London, Ontario. He relocated to Toronto in the early 80’s and became well known on the city's vibrant session scene as a vocalist and guitarist. His résumé includes projects with Anne Murray, Triumph and Manteca although it's his appearances with Pat Metheny for which he is best known. Blamires handled the wordless vocals on four of Metheny's releases during a decade long period spanning 1987 thru until 1997. Hoping to use that exposure as a springboard, Blamires recorded a solo release with a few fellow Torontonians as The David Blamires Group. Although the tracks for the album were recorded in 1990, the project wasn't issued until a couple of years later. Nonetheless, from that release Deep Is the Midnight Sea became quite a bit hit in the US. Unfortunately, there was little support back here in Canada as the smooth scene was barely in a fledgling stage, if that. Now, well over a dozen years after it's initial release that tune has become one of the more popular pieces to be played as part of our contemporary jazz format!
CD: The David Blamires Group (1992)
Label: NOVA Records
Site: David Blamires
|Back Trax: Part Two
You Said - David Benoit:
Born in Bakersfield, California, Benoit grew up in The South Bay of Los Angeles. Part of his formal training on piano included instruction with the pianist for top maestro Arturo Toscanini. Benoit focused on theory and composition at El Camino College, studied orchestration, and later took film-scoring classes at UCLA. He began as a Musical Director and conductor for Lainie Kazan in 1976 before moving on to similar roles with Ann Margaret and Connie Stevens. A five time Grammy nominee Benoit, began his career as a contemporary jazz pianist began in 1977 and has issued close to 30 recordings, a total that includes a couple of efforts as The Benoit/Freeman Project, a pair of seasonal releases, one Best of and several soundtrack compilations. Some of his early solo efforts rank among the seminal classics in the genre, which came to be known as Smooth Jazz. With a résumé such as that, it's tough to chose just one track to play, yet I feel we did very well indeed with the one that we've selected! Time has served Benoit well as his music has continued to become more refined over the years. As such the track that we're playing (with Marc Antoine on guitar) represents not only one of his finer selections in more recent years, it's also one of his most sterling!
CD: Professional Dreamer (1999)
Site: David Benoit
Or Later - The Roberts Bros.:
Jimmy and Peter are The Roberts Bros. Jimmy is the sax playing half of the duo best known perhaps for a stint with Rod Stewart. For a time he resided in Canada and later moved to LA where he developed into a highly sought after session musician. Meanwhile, Peter is a classically trained guitarist as well as a producer and songwriter who has recorded several highly acclaimed albums of his own material. While living in Europe he too became highly regarded as a session player. The two originally met during a recording session in Paris and hoped to some day work on a project together. When they reconnected a short time later, they said it felt like they were brothers, so much so that it seemed only right to dub their project with the only name that felt right, that being The Roberts Bros. In 2000, they issued Sugar & Spice, which unfortunately remains their only release to date. From that effort we're featuring a track that's quite simply sensational!
CD: Sugar & Spice (2000)
Label: BDM Records
Site: Jimmey Roberts ; Jimmy R/My Space
Ingles - Marcos Valle:
Born in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Marcos Valle took piano and theory lessons as a child. As he grew older, he developed a taste for live music and would often frequent clubs and bars that featured jazz. When he was nineteen, he was named Brazil's leading composer. This led to a record contract and the release of his debut album in 1964. The following year Valle accompanied Sergio Mendes & Brazil '65 to America and in 1966, Walter Wanderley took Valle's So Nice (Summer Samba), to the Top 40 in the U.S. This helped open the door for Valle and his own contract and a pair of albums followed.
In the 70s Valle moved his music to a rock-influenced sound. He scored a string of hits back in Brazil before moving to the US in 1975 where he assumed writing and arranging for artists such as Deodato, Airto, and Chicago. In the 80s, Valle shifted his focus to pop while continuing to churn out one smash hit after another as part of the so-called "second wave" of bossa nova players. In the late 80s and early 90s some of Valle's older & overlooked selections, that featured a freewheeling dance-driven style, found a welcome spot on the dance floors of Europe and helped spawn drum 'n' bossa, an off-shoot of the drum 'n' bass movement that was running at a fever pitch.
In 1998, Valle returned with Nova Bossa Nova, his first release since the 80s and his first to be available worldwide since the 60s. In spite of all of this, Valle's reputation has never quite compared to that of some of his contemporaries. Nonetheless Marcos Valle has been hailed as one his country's most influential musician. No wonder either when you hear the track that we've selected. It's quite an incredible piece and should completely dispel any myth that smooth jazz is nothing but elevator music!
CD: Nova Bossa Nova (1998)
Label: Far Out Recordings
Site: Valle/Far Out ; Valle/MySpace
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
|Well this time out we have a very special edition of after hours as apart from the initial set, the remainder of the program is devoted to one artist that being Richard Elliot. So this time out we're featuring 10 different tracks from 10 different albums as the focus for our T&N feature. Apart from that we're up to our usual standard of playing new music & nothing but new music, albeit that's been somewhat abbreviated. Nevertheless, look for something new from the latest Bob James release, more from Spyro Gyra and Althea René, and for all fans of the original Iron Butterfly & Rhinoceros we have a track from Danny Weis and what is surprisingly his first solo release!
Then & Now Feature: Richard Elliot
Richard Elliot: Richard Elliot's career has been well documented by us and by others. When he was just three, his family moved from Glasgow to Los Angeles and it was while he was in junior high that Elliot first took up the sax. However, he didn't entertain any thoughts of a career in music until a couple of years later when it turned out that his high school music instructor did some moonlighting as a studio musician. In any event, when he was just 17 & still in school, Richard landed his first professional gig touring with Natalie Cole and The Pointer Sisters. For a time he played in the fusion band called Kittyhawk, and followed that by taking part in a few sessions with legendary Motown artists, among them Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, and The Temptations. Elliot toured & recorded with The Yellowjackets and between those dates, there was still more touring this time with Melissa Manchester.
In any event, we pick up the story, at least in a musical fashion, as we begin our explorations of the Richard Elliot's discography with 1990's What's Inside and what was already his 5th album. From that effort, we have Just Me and You, one of our all-time favourites, which launches the feature. In all, we've split this presentation of Then & Now into three sets. Following Just Me and You, we have Stiletto Heels, Sweat, and After Dark. Set two literally explodes with Down Hill Run! In The Groove and Like Butter, both follow; the former features Peter White while White & Tim Heintz each lend their talents to the latter tune. Although that puts a little more than halfway into the feature, 7/10ths to be exact, the best may well be yet to come since there's a tasty trio of more recent selections that we've conveniently grouped for our finale. Be sure to check this out for the sweet sounds of Still Sweet On You and Seven Sacred Pools followed by the energetic dance club rhythms of Maxi's!
Site: Richard Elliot