April 16th, 2006
The vibe on this show is exciting and fresh! In addition to our Fresh Trax feature, we have Marc Antoine, Philippe Saisse, Nick Colionne, Brian Simpson, Paul Hardcastle, Paul Brown, and Brian Culbertson. We've done our homework so you'll hear a fantastic but unnamed track by Steve Cole from his latest release that is "hidden" towards the end of the disc. There are a few blasts from the past by Kenny G, Madeleine Peyroux, Pieces of a Dream, Robert Condon, Julia Fordham, and Fishbelly Black; we have also slipped in a reflective "interlude" from Ian Martin, who has worked with Brian Simpson. They're all on this edition of Café Jazz, your escape from ordinary radio!
MBand - Vince Mai:
Vince Mai has been serving up his unique blend of smooth, Latin, and jazz on Canada's West Coast for several years. The Vancouver-based trumpeter has developed a reputation as a dynamic soloist. He's well known as a member of jazz and funk groups and as a top call studio player throughout the Pacific Northwest, Mai's trumpet has been featured on numerous albums, commercials, films, and on television.
However, it's when performing with his group that Vince enters an element entirely his own. He's had a pair of previous releases but this latest effort entitled MBand shows Vince willing and able to take his music to a new and exciting level. On the album, Vince explores the smooth-grooves of contemporary jazz from a world perspective. These are fuelled by experiences throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas while being filtered thru Mai's jazz perspective.
|Featured guests include such top studio players as Brad Turner on keys, Daryl Jahnke on guitar, Randall Stoll on drums, Pepe Danza on percussion, Russ Klyne on guitar, Raphael Geronimo on percussion, and Marc Rogers on both acoustic and electric bass. Nevertheless, Vince on trumpet, flugelhorn, and programming is the star of his own show. The result in my humble opinion represents his finest effort to date.
| It's an early pick for our
list of top albums for the year while there are several tracks that are
a perfect fit for our show. In any event, it is with the utmost pleasure
that we place MBand & Vince Mai in our spotlight.
We begin with Nuno, an exceptional track with a laid back yet vibrant Latin groove. Opening hour 2 is the moody & reflective world vibe of Montevideo. Meanwhile, it's the grittier & funkier edge of MHouse that's reserved for our closing track. Pepe Danza kindles the percussive groove as trance meet club & smooth. These hybrid sounds generate a unique platform that's highlighted by some creative soloing that shows Vince at his best!
Label: Mai Music
Site: Vince Mai
|Fresh Trax: Part One
Can't Help Myself - Chris Standring :
Born in the U.K., Standring grew up playing classical guitar on a farm just northwest of London. He later studied at the London College of Music and wrote music for the BBC and for several theatrical productions before moving to Los Angeles in 1991. Shortly thereafter, he met Rodney Lee, the two connected and collaborated on the release of Solar System, a project grounded in acid jazz. Subsequent to a stint in Guitars Saxes & More Standring joined Rick Braun's back up band. In turn, this led to a record deal and to the release of Velvet, Standring's solo debut in 1998; Cool Shades from that album was a hit & one of the finer tracks for the year. Flash forward to the present and Chris hopes to match that success with Soul Express, now his fourth & latest release. The album marks Standring's Trippin 'n' Rhythm debut as well as marking the first occasion any of his projects have involved Paul Brown, the hit-maker who has had a hand in more than 40 No. 1 songs. In any event, from Soul Express we have the advance that's already begun its steady climb to the top of the charts!
CD: Soul Express
Label: Trippin 'n' Rhythm
Site: Chris Standring
You're Ready - Ron Boustead :
Ron Boustead is a Pittsburgh native who moved to Los Angeles in 1983. A year later, he released First Light his solo debut. Over the years, Boustead has become known as a vocalist and a lyricist who has long been a writing partner for and been a guest performer with Gregg Karukas. In that regard, their association goes as far back as 1991 and the Key Witness cd. As an interesting side note, Boustead was involved in mastering Gretchen Lieberum's 1999 Three A.M. release, one of our favourites here at The Café. Otherwise, Jonathan Butler, Deniece Williams, George Benson, and the Four Tops (among others) have all covered Boustead's tunes.
Ron's latest cd is entitled Blend and on the effort, he concocts a tasty mix of styles. Soul Jazz, Latin, and funky Pop are deliciously combined and the entire affair is served fresh & chilled. Helping on the album are some great L.A. musicians; guitarists Grant Geissman, Thom Rotella and Phil Sheeran all lent a hand while Gregg Karukas played piano on a couple of cuts and mixed 11 of 12 tracks. Co-producer on the project was another old friend Paris-based writer-producer-keyboardist-programmer and singer, Michael McGregor; as such, much of the work was done over the internet. In any event, the results sound great with several terrific tracks; in particular, the album opener is outstanding!
Label: Art-Rock Music
Site: Ron Boustead
|Fresh Trax: Part Two
Life - Gene Cannon:
Hailing from Florida's Tampa Bay area, Gene Cannon is firmly entrenched on that city's hot & burgeoning music scene. He appears regularly on his own; he's joined Allon Sams and Les Sabler in concert and in the studio; he's shared the stage with Peter White and Paul Brown; and he also scored a credit on Brown's most recent cd. Recently, Gene has been working toward establishing himself as a front man and he's made a huge step with the release of Soul Dances, his debut. All I can say is thankfully the wait is over because I've personally been anticipating this album for just over a year, ever since I sat in on one of the recording sessions. Nevertheless, it's been worth the wait! Cannon demonstrates his experience and maturity as a musician. Melodies are allowed to grow and unfold; while Gene, well let's just say he's full value for each & every note. As we begin to explore this excellent release, we chose Lovin' Life, just a fabulous, fabulous track that opens the disc. Stay tuned for more from Soul Dances and my man Gene; this is one sweet release!
CD: Soul Dances
Label: CanMan Music
Site: Gene Cannon ; Allon Sams
- Larry Carlton:
After a variety of studio gigs, Carlton joined The Crusaders in 1971 and remained with the group until 1976, a period, which encompasses many of band's glory years and their transition from straight-ahead jazz to playing the fusion of the day. In between tours, he continued to work hundreds of sessions in every genre including over 100 gold albums and winning a Grammy for his contribution to the theme from Hill Street Blues in 1981. In the meantime, Carlton launched his solo career in 1978 while in 1986, he delivered two albums - both reached #1 on Billboard while earning Carlton a second Grammy for his instrumental cover of Minute By Minute. In 1998, Carlton assumed a second musical identity when he joined the band Fourplay all while maintaining his solo career - the project Fire Wire being the most recent of these. From an album where a majority of the tracks live up to the prophecy of the title, we've selected a tune exhibiting a slightly softer side!
CD: Fire Wire
Label: Bluebird/RCA Victor
Site: Larry Carlton
- Gene Dunlap:
Detroit native Gene Dunlap took up drums in high school. Early on, he connected with Earl Klugh and they played a few local clubs. Stints with Grant Green and Roy Ayers followed before Dunlap reunited with Klugh in the mid-'70s. This partnership endured as over the next 20 years, Gene took part in a lengthy series of Klugh releases, his tenure interrupted only by breaks during which he recorded three of his own projects. Meanwhile Dunlap added percussion, guitar, synthesizer, and composing to his repertoire. 1994 saw the issue of Groove with You, but despite the success of that effort, shortly after its release, Dunlap gave up performing to teach in Detroit's inner city. He returned to the music scene in the year 2000 and has since recorded three additional releases; Peaceful Days being the most recent of these.
Now, if the truth be known, I've been a huge Dunlap fan for many years and this latest album certainly does not disappoint. Helping on the disc are several big name talents including Everette Harp, George Duke, and longtime friend Earl Klugh. However, we didn't have to look beyond the album's opening track for a tune that's perfect for our show. We've selected Fairway featuring long time band mates Ray Manzerolle on sax and Perry Hughes on guitar. The tune is dedicated to Tiger Woods and hopefully, without sounding like I'm going too much overboard, this is just one fabulous, fabulous track! The soloing by Manzerolle is exceptional, some gorgeous keyboard work from Charles Scales and an irresistible rhythmic groove generated by the man himself make this track a program highlight!
CD: Peaceful Days
Label: 215 Records
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
|The year 2006, marks the 20th anniversary since Russ Freeman laid the groundwork for what became The Rippingtons. There is a brand new album in the works scheduled for September of this year but until then, we're commemorate this musical milestone with an extended Then & Now feature. On this edition, Russ Freeman and his band take over the spotlight for nearly 70 minutes, as we present a selection from each of The Rippingtons studio projects for 14 trax in all and our most ambitious T&N feature to date. Yes-sir-ee, we continue to ride the crest of the wave in Smooth Jazz entertainment! Then, apart from that we're playing new music, albeit this has been abbreviated due to the length of the Then and Now feature. Nevertheless, we're introducing vocalist Lenny Welch and music from the Passover Lounge, the latest project from Craig Taubman. We have the advance from Steve Briody; there's another track from Jose Valentino, Tampa's 18 year old sensation on flute; while a track from Shanachie records and their latest Streetwize project kicks things off. Kim Waters and Davy D are listed as the brain thrusts behind the record but the selection we've chosen features the guitar of Adam Rogers!
Then & Now Spotlight Feature: The Rippingtons
The Rippingtons: Following the success of Russ Freeman's 1986 Nocturnal Playground debut, there was a fair degree of label interest in having Freeman produce an album. Consequently, Freeman called on some friends, David Benoit, Gregg Karukas, Kenny G, Steve Reid, Dave Koz, Brandon Fields, and a few others, to see if they would be interested in taking part in a project. The resulting release was Moonlighting. That effort and subsequent recordings under The Rippingtons moniker met with great success, fuelled in no small part by the simultaneous appearance of a radio format that primarily featured contemporary jazz. As requests for live performances increased, Freeman eventually assembled a band with a set line-up. What began as a studio project with some of the top players of the day evolved into one of the most popular ensembles of the late 80s and into the top selling smooth jazz band of the 90s. Nevertheless, over the years personnel continued to come and go; band membership has included a few high profile players such as Steve Reid, Mark Portmann, and Jeff Kashiwa. These elements of change, Freeman's propensity to feature top name guests, and influences from the areas that Freeman has resided, have allowed The Rippingtons style to maintain vibrancy and freshness.
Part 2 begins with Weekend in Monaco; from that effort, we have Moka Java with Mark Portmann on keys and Tony Morales on drums. Girl With The Indigo Eyes, Hideaway, and Jewel Thieves follow. Nelson Rangell's sax work is a highlight on that last track; Rangell was a frequent guest when Freeman resided in Colorado. And those bring us to 1997. For the closing set, we had just short of 10 years and five albums to cover. The remaining tracks include Sapphire Island from The Best of The Rippingtons with Dave Kochanski on acoustic piano. Paul Taylor on sax and Bill Heller on keys appear on Temple of the Sun. Eric Marienthal joins in on Club Paradiso, Marienthal officially joined the band on their subsequent album. Next is Bella Luna from Let It Ripp with some excellent Spanish style acoustic work from Freeman; the album also marks the first appearances of Dave Karosony on drums and percussionist Scott Breadman. Finally, we have El Vacilon, a powerful piece that reflects many Cuban influences now that Freeman is enjoying his "Miami period". Karasony and Breadman are standouts as they infuse this track with some incredible rhythms. That, and vocals by Aibita, result in a compelling track which no doubt Fidel himself would enjoy! So there you have it; 14 selections from 14 albums as we chronicle some of the best from Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons!
Site: The Rippingtons