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

September 24th, 2006
Edition #418 Previously Next

One Step Forward .... One Step Back!
Just as we solved a few audio streaming problems, we have to say adios to TO. In the good news department, Firefox, Netscape, Opera, and Mac users can now enjoy the full streaming capabilities of Cafe Jazz. The problem, which originated with our site host, has been rectified. Meanwhile, CKDX in Toronto, our longest running affiliate, has chosen to discontinue carrying Café Jazz. Foxy 88.5 picked up our show in the spring of 2002 (shortly after it was dropped by CJRT) and carried it for the past 4 seasons. Between the two stations, we had been on the air in Toronto virtually uninterrupted since May of 2001. But, so it goes. At this time, I would like to thank publicly the station staff & management for their help and for providing a vehicle whereby we could spread the word. We now begin our search for a new home in TO!
In This Issue:

HeadBoppin - Shilts

Feels So Right - Evan Marks
San Marino - Natural High
Forest Child - John Klemmer
Smile - David Priest
Nite Spice - Ronny Jordan

Then & Now - Chris Standring
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Showcase CD
HeadBoppin - Shilts:

Hailing from London, Paul Weimar has been playing sax since his early teens. At 15, he was asked to join England's National Youth Jazz Orchestra and it was while he was with the NYJO that he originally got a taste for a life in music. Shilts' career has spanned all forms of jazz, soul and pop as he's toured and recorded with international stars such as David Bowie, Mel Torme, and The Temptations, to name but a few. In 1994, he was invited to become a member of the British soul funk band The Brand New Heavies. This began an association, which lasted several years. More recently, Paul's been fronting the Stuart Wade project known as Down To The Bone which has enjoyed huge success in the US. The exposure he gained thru DTTB led to a record deal and to the release of See What Happens, Weimar's solo debut as Shilts; the album earned him a nomination as best new SJ artist for 2001.
Now after a somewhat lengthy absence Weimar is back with HeadBoppin, and under the heading of noteworthy, apart from Rick Braun and Richard Elliot, who have personal interests in ARTizen Music, he is the first artist signed to that label. We had caught up with Paul in his studio back in 2002, shortly after the release of See What Happens. At that time, Shilts kindly answered a few of our questions and we've incorporated some of those; how he connected with Stuart Wade, the story behind his nick-name, and how he would be liked to be remembered as an artist; into the current showcase feature on HeadBoppin.
Photo: Courtesy of
This of course is in addition to our custom of featuring a trio of tasty selections from the disc. The radio single entitled Look What's Happened has already impacted the charts and we begin with it. The smooth and seductive Say Something opens hour 2, while the funky melody of Break the Mold takes us out! So be sure to listen in as we go "behind the scene" with Shilts while sampling some of the album's finer moments. It all makes for a highly entertaining program as we showcase the latest from one of the brightest and most energetic rising sax players on the scene.

CD: HeadBoppin
Label: ARTizen Music
Site: Shilts

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Back Trax: Part One
Feels So Right - Evan Marks:
After backing groups like The Platters and The Drifters, Marks toured with jazz vocalist Billy Eckstine before embarking on a solo career. However, an opportunity to join Fattburger and to fill the guitar chair vacated by Steve Laury came up at much the same time that he issued his own debut. Long Way Home was released in 1995 and enjoyed considerable radio success. Although Three Day Weekend, the 1998 follow up, included a top 5 single, and his 1999 album was a new age hit, we've opted for Long Way Home and a track which creates a mood that lives up to its name!

CD: Long Way Home (1995)
Label: PolyGram Records
Site: Evan Marks
San Marino - Natural High:
Natural High is keyboardist and Down to the Bone alumnus, Tim Best. Best's formal training started at an early age and included piano, theory, and composition. From there he went on to studies in Jazz and Classical while absorbing the styles of Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Some of his early compositions were used in a band called A Way of Life while one of their singles made the UK Top 40. After that grouped dissolved, Best toured with a variety of artists before settling back in the UK; there, a chance meeting resulted in Tim working on the first DTTB album in 1997. He co-wrote and played on the hit Brooklyn Heights, but left prior to Shilts's arrival on the scene. Shortly after, the concept for a new band and Natural High began to take shape but that evolved into a one-man project, culminating in the release of Pacific in 2001. The sound was heavily dance-influenced with San Marino as one several high points in what was fundamentally a non-stop groove. Best handled piano, keys and guitar and to date, the album remains his sole effort as Natural High.

CD: Pacific (2001)
Label: Higher Octave Jazz

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Back Trax: Part Two
Forest Child - John Klemmer:
Early in his career, John Klemmer led a few of his own bands and worked with artists such as Eddie Harris, Harvey Mandel, and James Guercio, producer with the band Chicago. Klemmer made his solo debut in 1967, and moved to LA the following year while performing primarily as a straight-ahead player. For a time through until the early '70s, he led a few fusion projects before studying film composition and branching into production in a variety of genres. In the mid 70s Klemmer took off a full year from recording and performing. He spent the time reading, composing, and re-assessing himself as both a person and artist. He emerged in 1975, with an album called Touch where he explored melodies that were simple yet highly improvised. Barefoot Ballet, released the following year, was quite similar in style and substance and in combination, the two releases featured some of the seminal moments in smooth jazz.
Among these, Forest Child originally appeared on the latter disc. This time, however, we went to Mosaic, a '96 compilation focusing on the aforementioned period in Klemmer's career for a version that although somewhat abbreviated, is nonetheless equally compelling!

CD: Mozaic - The Best of John Klemmer (1996)
Label: GRP Records
Site: John Klemmer
Barefoot Ballet
Smile (And Touch My Heart) - David Priest:
Originally hailing from Stratford, Ontario, David Priest relocated to Vancouver in 1989 and soon became involved in the jazz scene, in particular striking up a friendship with Linton Garner, one that city's jazz icons. In 1991, Priest helped form Top Hat, a jazz quartet inspired by the dance stylings of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. He remained a member for many years. In the late 90s, Priest began laying the groundwork for a solo project, which although it took several years to come to full fruition, was eventually released late in 2002. Several of Vancouver's top jazzers contributed to the disc. From that album entitled Smile we're featuring the outstanding original composition Smile and Touch My Heart!

CD: Smile (2002)
Label: Independent
Nite Spice - Ronny Jordan:
Ronny Jordan was raised the second eldest of seven children and grew up in London, England. His mother was a church minister and his father a deacon, so it's understandable that the music he heard at church became integral in his musical formation. He picked up a four-string ukulele at the age of four, and taught himself how to play while being exposed to the vibrant music scene of the 60s, that included The Beatles, British Pop, Hendrix, Clapton, Motown, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Memphis, Cat Stevens, and many others too numerous to name. However, it was thru Gospel music, that Ronny learned the intricacies of melody & harmony as well as the most difficult lesson, when playing fewer notes was in fact more. Thruout the 80s Jordan paid his dues, playing in a variety of clubs while exploring various musical avenues. His talents first received broad recognition in 1992 with the release of The Antidote, his debut cd. Never being afraid to experiment, the album fused Rap with Smooth. Now regarded as an acid jazz classic, from this groundbreaking release, we're featuring one of Ronny's finest tracks!

CD: The Antidote (1992)
Label: 4th & B'way
Site: Ronny Jordan

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition, a few new-and-never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks as well as music past & present from Chris Standring on Then & Now. We've taken a selection from each of the Standring's four North American releases, included a track from his work as Solar System, that predates his solo projects and also have a tune that appears exclusively on a UK release. That makes for a total of 6 tasty musical treats from Mr. Standring and that will be coming up in about 15 or so minutes. Otherwise, new music rules. We have the new one from George Benson & Al Jarreau as they team, the latest from Tommy Emmanuel, more from Alan Hewitt, Torcuato Mariano, Vince Madison, and Doc Powell. Fans of Mindi Abair will want to stay tuned, we have her track that's been near the top of most of the Smooth Jazz charts and that will be the final selection. Meanwhile there's something new from David Arkenstone as he teams with Nicolas Gunn as Briza!
Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Chris Standring

Solar System
Sonic Images
Instinct Jazz
Hip Sway
Instinct Jazz
Shades of Cool
Passion Jazz
Soul Express
Trippin 'n' Rhythm

Chris Standring: Standring is a classically trained guitarist who grew up playing on a farm just northwest of London, while later attending the London College of Music. Early in his career, Chris composed for the BBC and for several theatrical productions. In the mid 90s, he moved to Los Angeles & shortly after teamed with keyboardist Rodney Lee for the release of Solar System. This was followed by a stint in Guitars Saxes & More; subsequently Standring joined Rick Braun as part of 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. The album spawned Cool Shades one of the biggest hits for the year and thus firmly launched Chris's career as a solo performer. Several albums followed with his most recent Soul Express as Standring's Trippin 'n' Rhythm debut. This of course gave us all the reason we needed, if indeed we needed any, to thrust Chris Standring into the spotlight as the focus for a Then & Now feature!

Photo: Courtesy of ChrisStandring.com

To begin we're zipping back to the first album that Standring released in 1996 as a member of Solar System, for a track that fuses rap and smooth under the guise of acid jazz. Don't get thrown off, we're not changing the name of the show to Café Rap but rather attempting to provide a more complete picture as to where Standring's coming from as an artist. This one features longtime friend and collaborator Rodney Lee on keys on this their first project together while C.R.A.S.H. is the featured rapper with some highly imaginative lyrics on What If? Standring's biggest hit to date called Cool Shades from his solo debut follows; by the way, that's the trumpet of Chris's old boss, Rick Braun, that's featured on the track. Up next is Good Medicine, a tune that could and maybe should have been every bit as big a hit as Cool Shades. In 2001, Passion Jazz released Shades of Cool exclusively in the UK.

The album was for the most part a compilation of Standring's first two North American releases, but did include a pair of previously unreleased tracks. We treat you right here on Café Jazz, so from Shades of Cool we've included London Lowdown, and perhaps this is one of the few times this track has been played on this side of the pond! We'll skip ahead to the final track in the set, that being Thru the Looking Glass. The tune was initially released in 2002 on the Instinct compilation Smooth Operators Great Smooth Jazz Moments without ever having been issued on one of Standring's own albums. Due to licensing difficulties, Standring was unable to issue it himself until those problems got ironed out and it now appears on Soul Express his most recent cd; so that accounts for the order in which we've presented these selections. In addition, from Groovalicious we have Snowfall, which was virtually neglected by promotion and radio. Very unfortunate as it's right up there among Chris's finest efforts; the trumpet of another Chris that being Chris Botti is outstanding on the piece! And that wraps up a full 30 minutes of exceptional uninterrupted music and our 6-track feature on Chris Standring!

Site: Chris Standring ; Rodney Lee

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