October 8th, 2006
|Fresh Trax: Part One
|True Love - Urban Jazz Coalition:
Urban Jazz Coalition, a seven-piece ensemble based in Columbus Ohio, is quickly turning into one of the most exciting "big bands" in contemporary jazz. Within the past eight years, "The Coalition" has performed over 750 live dates opening for some of the biggest names in the biz. They first broke onto the Smooth Jazz scene with the release of Into the Night, their sophomore album, a few years back. The project presented a fresh mix of styles that made many new fans for the group on both the national level in the U.S. and internationally. Down To Get Up is the latest and fifth album overall. From that effort, we're pleased to present True Love, a great track that was co-written by smooth jazz guitarist NILS and bassist Phil Raney. Since March of this past year, the UJC rhythm section has been backing NILS on his mid-western U.S. Now NILS returns the favour by guesting on the selection!
CD: Down To Get Up (2006)
Label: Major 6th
Site: Urban Jazz Coalition
|The Total Experience - Boney James:
He was born James Allen Oppenheim but today he's known to millions as Boney James. For a time early in his career Boney was having difficulty making ends meet; so rather than spending his per diem on meals, he saved it to pay the rent. Times have changed as with 4 gold records, Boney is one of the most popular artists in the genre but the nickname has stuck. Now well into his career the latest release is titled Shine, it's his eight album, tenth overall if you consider his seasonal album and the cd that he recorded with Rick Braun, a few years back. In any event, from Shine we have The Total Experience the first single featuring George Duke!
CD: Shine (2006)
Site: Boney James
|Fresh Trax: Part Two
|Splashdown - Briza:
The project Briza unites David Arkenstone and Nicholas Gunn, two top names in the world of new age music. Hailing from Chicago, Arkenstone moved to California at age ten where he immersed himself in music. He played keyboards and guitar in a variety of bands and for a time after college, he criss-crossed the country playing the pop sounds of the day. As the synergy between computers and instruments increased, Arkenstone turned to creating his own sound, bringing together influences from World music, classical rock, and new age while incorporating many of the best elements from the "electronic world". Arkenstone has recorded nearly 20 albums and recently, his music was described as "Cinematic new age rock".
For his part, the British-born Gunn was classically trained, having studied at the prestigious Royal School of Music. His family relocated to Southern California when Gunn was in his teens and it was there that he played flute in concert bands and wind ensembles while learning drums and percussion for the marching band. Gunn's debut record released in the early 90s, proved a bestseller with many subsequent releases reaching the Top Ten on Billboard's New Age charts. Reputed to be one of the world's best selling flutists, Gunn has now recorded over a dozen albums and heads the Gemini Sun Records label. From Ambient Café, their debut as Briza, we have David Arkenstone & Nicholas Gunn and the soothing sounds of Splashdown!
CD: Ambient Café (2006)
Label: Gemini Sun
Site: Arkenstone ; Gunn
|The End of Summer
- Jay Rowe:
Keyboardist Jay Rowe hails from Milford Connecticut. For the past 10 years, he's recorded or appeared with many top smooth jazzers such as Marion Meadows, Chieli Minucci, and Nelson Rangell, while also playing with his own band. He's performed at a variety of festivals and opened for the likes of David Benoit, The Rippingtons, and Jeff Lorber. Well regarded as a soloist in his own right, Rowe has three previous releases to his credit upon which he's demonstrated many creative flashes. Noted for the melodic nature of his phrasing, Rowe has taken his music to a new level with his latest cd produced by Ken Navarro; over the years, the two have frequently worked together on Navarro's projects as well as on Rowe's own 1997 Jay Walking release. Entitled Red, Hot and Smooth, Rowe's originality is always at the forefront. From that release, we have a tune to which Navarro contributes some of his always-tasty guitar playing. The End of Summer is a pretty piece and an album highlight!
CD: Red, Hot & Smooth (2006)
Site: Jay Rowe
- Lee Ritenour :
Lee Ritenour's latest cd was inspired by a trip to South Africa in 2005, where he performed five concerts at festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Ever the innovator, the new release is unlike any other in the legendary guitarist's three decade, nearly 40-album career. Ritenour explains, "The concept for the album came from a lot of different sources, all of which coalesced with my trip to South Africa. I'd been getting letters for years asking me to come and perform there. I did a lot of touring throughout the U.S., Asia, and Europe during 2005, and everything timed nicely for me to play in Cape Town and Johannesburg in late August after my Western European dates. While the festivals there included some American acts, I was more excited by the native African players and some of the most intoxicating percussion and rhythm guitar playing I'd ever heard. Over the years, I have become more and more attracted to African music, and this trip solidified that connection for me."
On the record, Ritenour worked with musicians from around the world, from South Africa, Cameroon-West Africa, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and India, while also joining him are some of America's top jazz musicians. An album highlight is Motherland, a fusion-flavoured track that, although it takes a more polyrhythmic approach, harkens back to some of Ritenour's finest earlier efforts!
CD: Smoke 'n' Mirrors (2006)
Label: Peak Records.
Site: Lee Ritenour
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
|On this edition, we've limited our new-never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks to just a handful as the rest of the segment is devoted to Fourplay. We have some of their sounds past & present, 9 selections and nearly 50 minutes of uninterrupted music, as the four who play step into the spotlight on Then & Now. So, if you're a fan of one of the few super-groups in smooth jazz, you'll want to stay with us for that and that's coming up about 15 minutes into the segment. To take us thru, our opening set has more from Patrick Yandall and Vince Madison; new to the show is David Wells while Gil Parris launches the smooth grooves!
Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Fourplay
Fourplay: It was back in 1990, during the recording of Bob James' Grand Piano Canyon album that James reunited with an old friend, drummer Harvey Mason and first worked with guitarist Lee Ritenour and bassist Nathan East. These sessions proved to be the genesis of Fourplay. Their debut album recorded the following year, spent an unprecedented 33 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. Subsequent releases also faired well, but after three albums and a best of release, Ritenour chose to leave, as he couldn't juggle the time requirements of a solo career, establishing his own record label, and being a fulltime band member. This could easily have spelled the end for the band that had become the most successful group in contemporary jazz had it not been for Larry Carlton!