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

May 7th, 2006
Edition #405
Previously Next

Although our space is somewhat limited, I can tell you we have an excellent line-up, which in addition to our regular features includes music from The Rippingtons, Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Joyce Cooling, Peter White, and Spyro Gyra. Suffice it to say, for our inaugural program on CKNS, it's a non-stop highlight reel!

Sunday mornings in Southern Ontario just got a bit smoother!
Tune into 92.9 CKNS FM this Sunday May 7th at 8 AM, as a new era begins for Café Jazz. It's a natural fit, as Canada's Smooth Jazz Connection finds a new and welcome home on Canada's Music Station located right in the heart of Haldimand County. So be sure to spread the word about Café Jazz on CKNS and be prepared to escape ordinary radio!
In This Issue:

Just Getting Started - Eric Darius

Morning Flower - The Jazzy Devils
Embers - José Valentino
Footsteps - Steve Briody
My Columbus Day - Anna Wilson
House Arrest - Pieces Of A Dream

Then & Now - Kevin Toney

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Showcase CD
Just Getting Started - Eric Darius:

Although it's already release #3, the title Just Getting Started couldn't be more appropriate for Eric Darius' latest album. Over the past couple of years, the Tampa-based saxplayer has developed into a sensation. Not that it comes as any surprise; we were among the first to get hip to Darius and his sounds after hearing Cruisin', his independently released solo debut. Eric was still in his mid teens when he recorded that album, albeit it was a few years later that the album was actually promoted. For his follow up effort, Darius landed a major label deal while enlisting the production talents of Ken Navarro, moves that helped catapult the twenty something year old into the upper echelons of young Smooth Jazz stars. It led to an appearance at the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival and The Smooth Jazz News named Darius as their "Debut Artist of the Year"; not to mention that he was among the top five on our own in house 2004 list for "break thru artists"!
Throughout the past year, Eric has performed as a member of Brian Culbertson's band. These experiences have allowed Darius to progress as a songwriter and a player, qualities that the compositions and musicianship on the album well reflect. In addition, the natural chemistry between Culbertson and Darius led to Brian's participation on Just Getting Started; also featured are collaborations with Paul Brown, Euge Groove, and Jeff Lorber. Resultantly, the cd has a little bit of everything, from laid-back ballads, to funk, R&B, soul and more.
Serenading The Sunset
Album Insert
Each track has an entirely different vibe and feel and overall, it represents what Darius feels is his finest work to date. Nevertheless, the thing that seems to excite Eric the most is the prospect of what's ahead and where his music will take him; he remarks "I think that this CD is the beginning of something great" which is an opinion that I incidentally, happen to share!

However, the moment is now as we get set to spotlight and enjoy Just Getting Started. We begin with Right Here, Right Now, co-written by and featuring Paul Brown on percussion and vocals. An absolute top favourite opens hour two, it's Secret Soul, one of a pair of Culbertson contributions to the project. Finally, there's a tune that is somewhat reminiscent of Euge Groove, Eric's label mate who appears elsewhere on the disc. Nevertheless, there does appears to be an influence on Chillin' Out, which provides a great way to cap off a fabulous feature!

CD: Just Getting Started
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Eric Darius

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Morning Flower - The Jazzy Devils :
Peter Cor is the man behind the band; Cor first came to our attention a few years back with Helios however, his resume includes compositions for Earth Wind & Fire and Lee Ritenour. His musical experiences have taken the native New Yorker to three continents. As such, Cor's work reflects many diverse cultures and styles. But, as the name Jazzy Devils suggests, jazz is the corner stone for this Santa Cruz based band. 2 Hott is the sophomore release and from it we have Morning Flower as the unit takes a welcome turn at smooth jazz!

CD: 2 Hott!
Label: Inner Cor Music
Site: The Jazzy Devils
Embers - José Valentino :
José Valentino Ruiz is a brilliant young flute player known for his passionate improvisations. Frequent trips with his family to Puerto Rico infused Valentino with fervour for his Hispanic heritage and excitement for Latin rhythms. Accolades abound for this Tampa-based 18-year old who has earned highly impressive credentials having already played or performed with many international stars, among them Chick Corea, Hubert Laws, and Peter White. As such, it's a treat to share music from Valentino's Flute on Fire debut with you today. The album is another fine product from Allon Sams and Studio A and from it we have a fantastic track called Embers!

CD: Flute On Fire

Label: JVR Music Works
Site: José Valentino ; Allon Sams

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Footsteps - Steve Briody:
In 2003, Steve Briody was our pick as one of the brightest new stars to come along in quite some time. Flash back to that time; we were into the sounds of Steve's self-titled debut. With a style that was described as fresh, soulful & smooth, that album gained considerable airplay and laid the groundwork for Keep On Talkin', Briody's follow up effort which has just been issued. Steve's experience and heightened awareness as a musician make this project a definite winner. From that release, we have Footsteps with Greg Adams guesting on the track. That's just one of several outstanding selections on the disc and we'll be heading back to it often!

CD: Keep On Talkin'
Label: 215 Records
Site: Steve Briody
My Columbus Day - Anna Wilson:
Wilson was raised in Chester Springs, Penn and credits her mother, a talented pianist with an affection for show tunes, as being a major influence in shaping her own musical tastes. Wilson's debut in 2003 introduced her distinctive voice & style and paved the way for a flurry of dates. Now based in Nashville, Ms Wilson combines nostalgic sounds with contemporary pop and jazz influenced vocals resulting in a unique and mature sound. From her upcoming release, we have My Columbus Day, an outstanding track!

CD: The Court
Label: Transfer Records
Site: Anna Wilson
House Arrest - Pieces Of A Dream:
It's now 30 years since James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon started playing together; the two were in their early teens and got their first break when Grover Washington, Jr. moved to Philly and signed them to a production company he'd just started. Now three decades later, Pillow Talk is their latest release and from that effort we have House Arrest featuring the sax work of Eddie Baccus!

CD: Pillow Talk
Label: Heads Up
Site: Pieces Jazz

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition, we're presenting Kevin Toney on an extended Then and Now. We have a selection from each of Kevin's solo releases; that's exclusive of Special K, his debut issued back in 1982 as an LP. That gives us a nice assortment of six tasty selections. To take us through, there's new music from Nelson Rangell, Ultrablue, Paul Shilts Weimar, Simply Red, and the Chris Morgans project Black Gold Massive. We have more from Gene Dunlap, Gene Cannon, Wilton Felder, Maysa, and our favourite lady of sax Pamela Williams. New to our show are Annette and Otis Hayes III, while Bona Fide provide a track from Soul Lounge that we had missed during our earlier explorations of the album. As such, that gives a total of 14- never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks!
Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Kevin Toney


Pastel Mood

Extra Sensual Perception


Sweet Spot

110° and Rising

Kevin Toney: Kevin Toney was born & raised in Detroit and got his start working with Donald Byrd back in the early 70s; Byrd was an instructor at Howard University where Toney attended. The two connected and Toney took part in Byrd's 1972 release; subsequently he went on to work with The Blackbyrds, a jazz-funk unit created by Byrd that consisted of some the students that he taught. Toney took part in seven projects through until 1981, including three gold albums, which he co-produced, and several hits, among them Walking in Rhythm, the #1 smash.

Photo: Sweet Spot Insert

Toney released his solo debut the following year but for the rest of the 80s, he demonstrated his artistry in a variety of settings. He recorded or performed as a sideman with Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Barry White, Seal, and Annie Lennox. He acted as musical conductor for Patti Austin and Michael McDonald and was the musical director for a variety of productions including "Ain't Misbehavin". In any event, in 1994 Toney's solo career took off with the release of Lovescape, which yielded a major hit in "Kings". Now with seven releases to his credit, the accolades continue to pour in. "Kevin Toney's touch on the piano is divine, soulful, and hypnotic," writes Urban Network critic, Scott Galloway. "Toney's piano skills and ear for melody set him apart from the pack and make him enjoyable and engaging" appeared in Billboard magazine; while the noted reviewer Jonathan Widran described Toney as "the master of elegant funk".

In any event, I'm certain you'll discover Kevin Toney's music embodies all of these elements and perhaps just a little bit more. We begin the first of three sets with A Deeper Shade of Love and Celebration. Extra Sensual Perception and Passion Dance with Ronnie Laws follow. Finally, Better Than Ever and 110° and Rising cap off the feature and over 30 minutes of imaginative and intricate harmonies from one of the great keyboardists of the day!

Site: Kevin Toney

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