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

September 17th, 2006
Edition #417 Previously Next

As Greg Adams steps into our showcase spotlight, we've also slotted several excerpts from "In Conversation With". Hour 2 brings another great batch of exciting new-and-never-before-been-played-on-our-show trax on Fresh Trax. Today's line-up is exceptional. Highlights are from The Rippingtons, Will Donato, and Joyce Cooling, as well as the debuts from Everette B Walters and veteran bassman Johnny Menzano. There's plenty more to get excited about including music from Oleta Adams, Marion Meadows, Pieces of a Dream, Chieli Minucci, Steve Cole, and Fourplay and those are all coming up in a great action packed fun filled couple of hours!
In This Issue:

Cool To The Touch - Greg Adams

Blessed And On Top - Johnny Menzano
Bingo Jingo - The Rippingtons
Mildred's Attraction - Joyce Cooling
Dinner 4 2 - Everett B. Walters
Whatcha See Is ... - Will Donato

AFTER HOURS: Summer Grooves

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Showcase CD
Cool To The Touch - Greg Adams:
Over the course of a nearly four-decade career, Greg Adams' contributions to the music scene have become legendary. His 25 years with Tower of Power and his numerous triumphs as an arranger, composer, and performer stand out as signposts in a journey that began in Oakland CA back in the early 70s. He's previously issued 3 solo releases to along with 14 albums that he recorded as a member of TOP. He's done numerous guest spots and studio sessions with TOP and on his own that number in the several hundreds and so it's all this that Adams brings to Cool To The Touch, his fourth and latest release. A short while back, we caught up with Greg and he was kind enough to duck into the studio to answer a few questions for us while providing some background information & a few insights into his career and his music. Some of the topics broached related to the early years, how Greg began on trumpet and his high school years.
In the course of things, we discussed influences, most commercially successful project, most artistically satisfying project, a snapshot comparison between his releases, a bit of background about those TOP years, Greg's ideas as to what makes or doesn't make a great song, and the "label woes" that he experienced between releases. As we neared the end, I asked Greg one of my closing favourites: "If money were no object, what sort of project would you love to realize either musically or otherwise?" You'll want to hear that reply as part of the entire interview, "In Conversation With Greg Adams", available as an audio clip on our site. We also included 7 of the 10 tracks from the disc thruout, so that you can get the full flavour of what Cool To The Touch is all about. I hope you can check that out. Meanwhile, we selected a few comebacks for our weekly program and the showcase feature !

Horn Section for Felix (L to R): Johnnie Bamont, Boney James,
Mindi Abair, Eric Marienthal, Greg, and Richard Elliot.
Photo: Courtesy of GregAdams.com
Listen in, as Greg fields questions relating to the "AAA" sax section on Felix the Cat, and the Herb Alpert sound that he achieved on Bongo Baby. Those selections respectively open and close the proceedings, while the "muted elegance" of Hermosa opens hour 2. This latest chapter in his career, is likely the most exciting yet as, overall, Cool To The Touch represents Adams' finest project to date!

CD: Cool To The Touch / Review:
Label: Ripa
Site: Greg Adams ; Ripa

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Blessed And On Top - Johnny Menzano:
Self-taught on bass since the age of 13 and gigging up to 6 nights a week in the casinos of Atlantic City by 19, John Menzano moved to Hollywood in 1985 to attend Musician's Institute where he honed his chops. After graduating, he gigged with Mary Wells and before going on to a variety of TV and studio work. He was a band member for the comedy Full House and did some touring with Sheena Easton and Three Dog Night, which took him thru the latter part of the 80s to the early 90s.

In 1994, Menzano heard that Peter White needed a bass player, a spot, which Menzano subsequently filled. That opened many doors. Through White, Menzano met and toured with some of the top cats in genre, Rick Braun, Marc Antoine, Dave Koz, and Brian Culbertson to name but a few. This more or less brings us to the present with Menzano now residing in Valencia, CA. A far cry from the South Philadelphia row housing where he grew up, John feels blessed by the many gifts he's been given, saying "life doesn't get better than this". It's this same attitude that's positively reflected in the track that we've selected. From his solo debut, entitled Thumbs Up we have Johnny Menzano with Blessed and On Top!

CD: Thumbs Up
Label: Independent.
Site: Johnny Menzano
Bingo Jingo - The Rippingtons:
This year 2006, marks 20 years since Russ Freeman first assembled a new group calling it The Rippingtons. The band's debut album in 1987, caused a mini "coup d'état" in contemporary jazz as many of the roots in the smooth movement can be traced back to that record. The ensemble has weathered numerous changes. In fact, apart from the 'jazz cat' logo, Freeman remains the only constant. To commemorate a milestone event, Freeman has invited many past members in creating The Rippingtons 20th Anniversary album, a deluxe cd/dvd package. Look for familiar names such as Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Reid, and Tony Morales as they once again take a turn in what remains as one of the most popular acts in the genre. Also contributing are many of the original crew, among them David Benoit, Gregg Karukas and Brandon Fields, with the latter two appearing on the track we've selected. From 20th Anniversary, we have the first single to radio called Bingo Jingo!

CD: 20th Anniversary
Label: Peak Records
Site: The Rippingtons

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
Mildred's Attraction - Joyce Cooling:
Revolving Door is the name of the new album from Joyce Cooling, her sixth over all, the album title being a reference to what happens when a person is trapped in a cycle, where the beginning and the end blur into one. More specifically, there's an allusion to what transpires when a person suffers from a mental illness. It's in this context that the name assumes a much deeper and more personal connotation. Cooling has felt first hand the impact that mental illness can have on a family as her brother was stricken with schizophrenia at the age of 19. Since then, the effects have been devastating. I quote: "The entrance and exit of the mental hospital melded into one door - a revolving door - with the patients going in and out and then back in and back out, again and again, over and over. This has been and continues to be my brother's story."

In recognition of the ongoing struggle that her brother and others endure on a daily basis, Cooling plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from sales directly to The National Alliance on Mental Illness. While the subject is a serious issue, the record itself is far from being a collection of depressing songs a case in point being Mildred's Attraction. Cooling nicely dispels the gloom with her familiar optimism on this the first single to radio.

CD: Revolving Door
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Joyce Cooling
Dinner 4 2 - Everett B. Walters:
Everett B Walters is a clever amalgam for the brother team of Michael Everett Brown and Harold Walter Brown III. The Brown Brothers come to us from the south side of Chicago via Las Vegas bringing with them many varied influences from Jazz, R&B, and funk. Theirs is a fresh flavour in the world of smooth entertainment. They've performed with many of the big name of the day including The Rippingtons, Joe Sample, & Rick Braun while some time ago, they had one of their songs, And the Story Goes, included on a highly popular compilation put out by Jazz FM in the UK. More recently, Brian Simpson covered the track and he now also guests on their new album. We played a couple of selections from the advance that we received back in early '04. Several years in the making, their debut has finally just been released and from it we have Dinner 4 2!

CD: Always High Reaching
Label: Petey-Pete Entertainment LLC
Site: Everett B. Walters
Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - Will Donato:
Will Donato is an exciting young musician who made our in house most played list just last year with his Will Power cd. There seems to be no rest for the wicked, in this case, for the wickedly good as Donato has just issued the radio single Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get. Originally released back in 1971 by The Dramatics, the track peaked at #3 on the R&B charts. It's been covered often but Will's version rates as one of the finest!

CD: (Radio Single)
Label: Generation Records Inc.
Site: Will Donato

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition, we continue the tradition featuring new-and-never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks, 13 in all, all from the summer '06. If you're at all adventurous and enjoy hearing music that's a bit different from what you'll elsewhere, or if exploring new sounds is where you're coming from, then go no further. You may have found your perfect vehicle! Today's line-up includes more from Alan Hewitt, Patrick Yandall, Torcuato Mariano, Shilts, Jeffery B Suttles, Doc Powell, Fourplay and David Benoit; the latest from Vince Madison and Urban Jazz Coalition; there's something new from Jay Rowe while brand new to the program are the sounds of Bob Brazill!

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