This time another powerhouse line-up, with some of the finest sounds you'll hear anytime, anywhere! In addition to our regular features, be sure to catch these incredible artists: Turning Point, Paul Taylor, Swing Out Sister, William Woods, Greg Lowe, Shakatak, Vince Mai, Bob Baldwin, Paul Brown, Sam Riney, Wilton Felder and more including Jay Soto, Down to the Bone, Armi Grano, and Kat Hendrix! They're all in a fun-filled action-packed two-hour extravaganza!
Groovosphere - Matt Marshak:
Although Matt Marshak may not yet be a household name, he should be. Marshak is an exciting young artist who's determined to bring contemporary jazz to a new generation of listener while taking it to the next level! Within five short years the Long Island native has laid the groundwork for a highly promising career and with the release of Groovosphere, he appears poised for stardom, all the more surprising given the fact he didn't take up guitar until the age of 17. Initially Marshak was drawn to blues and rock greats such as Hendrix, BB King, and Satriani but upon discovering the contemporary scene, the sounds of Larry Carlton and George Benson provided a new source of inspiration. In fact, after meeting Carlton, Marshak realized guitar and instrumental jazz would be his life and his passion. Then, as if to "make up for lost time", he would practice 10 hours a day and take up to three lessons per week!
|Marshak became involved in the NYC scene and soon was performing regularly as a sideman with some of the city's greatest players. In short order, he recorded his own debut, did oodles of gigs, and most importantly honed his chops to razor sharpness. Matt was in the process of completing his sophomore project, when he submitted some finished tracks to an artist search cosponsored by radio station CD101.9. After entering as one of about a thousand contestants, Marshak appeared among the 12 finalists, eventually winning and earning the Best New Smooth Jazz Artist in New York City Award. Subsequently, he released This Time Around, an album which frankly floored us here at The Café and which received airplay around the world. Several of the tracks on the disc became immediate favourites and by year-end, the cd was among our top ten most played albums for 2004. At the time, we described Marshak's style as fresh & creative; that he exemplified a fantastic new breed of player emerging in contemporary music; and that if this was where the contemporary scene was headed then we could hardly wait until we got there.
Photo Courtesy of Matt's Site
| Flash forward to the present and Marshak
has issued Groovosphere. Judging from the tracks contained therein, the
man has indeed arrived. This one has it all, funky rhythms, hip jazzy
melodies, and unadulterated energy and passion! They're all here and to
illustrate the point we've selected three prime examples! First up is
Montauk Moon featuring the saxwork of David Mann. Big Skye Dream opens
hour two while the get down and get funky sounds of Summerfunk bring things
to a heady climax. Mark the summer of '06 on your events calendar! We're
betting it will be the summer when Matt Marshak breaks thru and becomes
a standard-bearer for a new era in smooth jazz!
Label: Nuance Music Group
Site: Matt Marshak ; Nuance
|Fresh Trax: Part One
City Lights - Nelson Rangell :
The Denver based saxplayer was the fourth born in a musical family.
Brother Andrew is a Boston concert pianist, his other brother Bobby
is a Parisian jazz woodwind player, while his sister Paula, based in
New Orleans, sings professionally. For his part, Nelson didn't begin
in music until the late age of 15 when he took up the flute. He discovered
he had a passion for music and within six months, he was studying classical
music and jazz at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Shortly thereafter,
he started playing the sax. He went on to The New England Conservatory,
and twice won Down Beat's best jazz and best pop/rock instrumental soloist.
He moved to New York in 1984 and spent the next four years paying his
dues and gigging with some of the world's greatest contemporary musicians.
His 1987 solo debut was well received and with it's success and the
critical acclaim his following projects received, Rangell quickly became
known as one of the most exciting and diverse performers in the genre.
He's now released 14 cds in all with Soul To Souls as his latest. From
that effort, we have the urban groove of City Lights, funky and heartfelt!
CD: Soul to Souls
Label: Koch Records
Site: Nelson Rangell
Feeling Good - Steve Oliver:
he'd been involved in music for many years, things didn't really start
coming together for Steve Oliver until about 1995. The San Francisco
born and bred guitarist attended a Rippingtons show, and afterwards
went up to Steve Reid, percussionist for the band, introduced himself
and made a contact. The paths of the two Steves crossed again about
a year later when Oliver opened for Reid and Bamboo Forest. Reid really
enjoyed Oliver's performance and three or so months later Reid phoned
saying, he needed a guitarist for his new cd. Oliver appeared on that
and the next Bamboo Forest project; he penned many of the tunes on both
cds and ended up touring with Reid for three years. In the course of
things, this led to a record deal & the release of First View, Oliver's
solo debut in 1999. The effort was an unqualified success and resulted
in Oliver's selection as Debut Artist of The Year by the Smooth Jazz
News. Excellence has become the norm as subsequent releases have helped
make Steve a star attraction in the Smooth Jazz arena. With Radiant
his latest release Oliver appears poised to continue that upward spiral
and from that effort we have Feeling Good, the opening track and an
Label: Koch Records
Site: Steve Oliver
|Fresh Trax: Part Two
To Suttledown - Jeffery B. Suttles:
is an LA born drummer who's backed many of the best in the business, a
list that includes Bill Withers, Donny Osmond, Teena Marie, Brenda Russell,
and Quincy Jones. Nonetheless, Suttles steady gig has been a 16-year stint
with Taylor Dayne. Finally taking some time to compose and record on his
own, Jeffery has at last made "Time To Suttledown", the play on words
name he chose for his long over due solo debut. The release features Suttle's
signature blend, from funky and jammin', to smooth and seductive, from
percolating to explosive, yet always with an in the pocket rhythm and
groove. From that effort, we have the very hip & cool sounds of the title
CD: Time To Suttledown
Label: Backhouse Records
You With Me - Adrian Conington: The
UK pianist trained classically from the age of seven, but discovered
jazz in his early twenties. After working primarily in a supporting
role for a good portion of his early career, Conington released his
solo debut entitled Sacred Roots in 2004. With the warm reception enjoyed
by that album, Solsonata is now the follow up project with which Conington
continues to expand upon and refine his inviting and fluid approach
to smooth jazz. The confidence gained in the time between releases is
apparent from the opening track. As with the previous album, Solsonata
consists of original compositions, yet the influence of styles that
inspire Conington are evident thruout. The project captures the essence
of smooth, while melting elements of blues, Latin, soul, and R&B into
a welcoming mélange. Nonetheless, it's Conington's gentle touch, his
stylish presentation; his self-assurance and his artistic merit that
make this project a winner. From that release, we have one of its most
delicate and romantic tracks!
Label: Independent Release
My Style - Marion Meadows:
Now this guy's on a roll! Although Marion Meadows
has been a part of the contemporary scene for many years, it's only
on his last few albums that he's really begun to swing with the heavy
hitters. Meadows has always had a sound entirely his own. Armed either
with the soprano, his primary instrument, or with the tenor or alto,
Meadows has charmed many a listener with his savoury sax work. However,
sometimes it just takes time for a style to develop fully or for key
factors to properly align. In retrospect, a shift to the Heads Up record
label in the late 90s may have signalled the start of a new era. Then
enter keyboardist/producer Michael Broening on the 2002 In Deep project.
Instantly Meadows music entered a new realm. The follow up release served
only to ripen the fruits of their collaboration. And now with the latest
release entitled Dressed to Chill, it's apparent that Messrs Meadows
and Broenig share the sort of creative compatibility may come along
just once in a lifetime if at all! Regardless, Marion Meadows is fully
within the prime of his career!
CD: Dressed to Chill
Label: Heads Up
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
|On this edition, we're going with another Then & Now double bill. First up is Eric Darius with 3 selections, one from each of their releases. The feature on Peter Cor follows shortly thereafter, and once again, we have a series of tracks representing some of the best from his three albums. Apart from that, fresh sounds take over as all but one of our remaining selections are new never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks, 13 in all. Our line-up includes more from Pamela Williams, Steve Briody, and Steve Oliver; the latest from Wayman Tisdale, Everette Harp, Turning Point, and J. Thompson; and new to the show are Keefe Marzell, Voodoo Funk Project, and Skii, a swinging vocalist coming to us from Australia. Pieces of a Dream and Wilton Felder are with us; there's something as well from Matt Marshak and his new one called Groovosphere. Matter of fact we're starting with a track from that very release. It features Steve Oliver on sax and is our pick to be one of the hottest tracks for the summer!
|Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Eric Darius
Eric Darius: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 onboard the Darius express after hearing Cruisin', his independently released solo debut that he recorded while still in his mid teens. Inspired by the music at his church, Darius was ten when he first showed an interest in playing sax. He took a few lessons & before too long he was performing publicly. He excelled in academics, athletics, and in music, and played a major NYC festival as a member of his high school Jazz Ensemble.
The chemistry enjoyed by Culbertson and Darius led to Brian's participation on the project while collaborations with Paul Brown, Euge Groove, and Jeff Lorber are also featured. In any event, the cd shows a bit more polish than Eric's previous work, Darius's own playing displays increased confidence and maturity, while each track has a unique vibe and feel from laid-back ballads, to funk, R&B, soul and more. Nevertheless, it's our pleasure to present a track from each of Darius's three releases. In order, they are Moonlight, Eric's superb cover of the Al Green classic, Let's Stay Together and finally Back At Cha as we musically chronicle the career of Eric Darius, one of the brightest rising stars in smooth jazz!
|Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Peter Cor
Peter Cor with Helios and The Jazzy Devils: Peter Cor's musical experiences have taken the native New Yorker to three continents. As such, his compositions are a reflection of many diverse cultures and styles. Cor successfully blends his jazz and classical training with Latin, funk, hip hop, world music and influences from many parts of the world.
Jazz clearly formed the corner stone of their music while, not surprisingly, their sound & style also intertwined a wide variety of influences. Originally recording as a quartet, the line-up expanded for the follow-up project and now in addition to Cor, band members include Gary Regina on saxes, on bass Roxy McDaniel, percussionist Renato Annicchiarico, and Chris Miller a hold over from the days of Helios, rounds out the combo. In any event, it's our pleasure to trace some of the highpoints in Peter Cor's musical career as we feature music from both of his bands. First up is Conversations, the first track that Cor & Carpenter wrote for the Helios project. Next is Gone Funkin' and finally Morning Flower as The Jazzy Devils take a welcome turn at smooth jazz. A nicely varied and interesting set of Cor classics!
Site: The Jazzy Devils ; Inner Cor