November 19th, 2006
Edition #423 Previously Next
Doc Powell - Doc Powell:
The Doc Powell story begins in Spring Valley, NY where he started playing guitar by the age of six. Powell later studied at the University of Charleston, West Virginia, but for the most part he was self-taught. In his teens, Doc was recording and performing professionally and was barely in his 20s when Wilson Pickett chose him as his music director. The gig served The Doctor well. It prepared him for what lay ahead and led to an affiliation with Luther Vandross that spanned a dozen or so years. Beginning in the early 80s and stretching thru to the mid-90s, Powell's guitar became a part of and was integral to the Vandross sound. Powell performed on many of Luther's most successful albums and was on stage with Vandross during his 1989 history-making 10 days at Wembley Stadium. Playing with Vandross catapulted Powell's musician ship to another level. His session work expanded to include many of the elite, among them Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick in R&B while in jazz the list included Grover Washington, Jr., and Bob James.
|Powell released his solo debut in 1987, while still touring with Vandross. In spite a Grammy-nomination for his cover of What's Going On, the Marvin Gaye classic, it wasn't until his third album, 1994's Inner City Blues that Powell really began to hit his stride. The project was self-funded and was the first release on Powell's own West Coast Records. Powell recalls, "I took all the money I had earned touring with Luther and was ready to sell it door to door." The album was a huge success and spawned Sade's Song, one of the quintessential smooth jazz tracks of the 90s. A couple of years later, Powell enjoyed his biggest commercial success with Laid Back; by year's end, it was rated the #2 jazz record for 1996. It's taken another full ten years but Doc Powell is now poised to celebrate what may be his best release ever and it's our pleasure to place Powell and that album in our spotlight!
Our feature on The Doctor and his self-titled cd begins with Hip Pocket,
a seemingly natural fit for us, being we are the hippest show on radio!
A very nice track too, reminiscent of great moments on the Laid Back cd.
Opening the second half of the show, we have a romantic ballad entitled
Let Go. Powell's playing, although seemingly effortless, creates an absolute
killer of a groove!! Simply put, it's outstanding and rates among Doc's
finest efforts. While in the end, it's the retro vibe of Another Place
& Time that concludes an all too brief review of a project that harkens
back to some of the finest moments in a long and distinguished career!
CD: Doc Powell
Label: Heads Up International
Site: Doc Powell
|Back Trax: Part One
Taken Hearts - Peter Horvath:
Peter Horvath grew up the son of a famous Hungarian singer. He developed an intense love for music and began classical piano lessons at the age of six. After attending the Conservatory in Budapest, he moved to Austria to study further at the Vienna Conservatory. In 1983, Horvath again relocated, this time to the U.S., to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music. He went on to perform a variety of sideman gigs, having released only a single project under his own name, a rather classy affair entitled Foreign Matter issued in 1995. Horvath's talent and diverse background is manifest in both the complexity and clarity of the track we've selected from that effort!
CD: Foreign Matter (1995)
Label: Lake Street Records
Site: Peter Horvath
There - Avenue Blue:
After attending Berklee in Boston, Jeff Golub moved to NYC where he became a top sessionist and sideman backing the likes of Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, & others. Golub joined Rod Stewart's backup band in 1988 while also releasing his own debut. He remained with Stewart for about the next six years, and didn't resume his solo career until 1994. The result was the first of the critically acclaimed Avenue Blue series; today we're revisiting Nightlife, the third and final installment in the "Avenue Blue Trilogy" for one of their finest.
CD: Nightlife (1997)
Label: Mesa/Bluemoon Recordings
Site: Jeff Golub
|Back Trax: Part Two
and Everything - Chieli Minucci:
Chieli Minucci's love affair with music has been a life-long adventure. He began studying classical piano at five, switched to guitar at eight, and formed his first band at 13. The native New Yorker attended Ithaca College, where he developed his unique approach to playing and where he became exposed to jazz. After returning to NYC he played various gigs, including a two-year stint with Eartha Kitt and a brief run with Lou Reed's Band. It was during this period that Minucci met Hungarian drummer/percussionist, George Jinda. In 1982, they landed a deal with Holland's Keytone Records as Special Delivery and eventually, GRP picked up their first LP entitled Special EFX for distribution in the US. In the course of events, they recorded 13 albums; their final project being 1995's Body Language. That same year, Minucci released a solo effort, while almost simultaneously creative differences led to Jinda and Minucci's amicable parting of the ways. Whereas Jewels found Minucci balancing various styles in demonstrating his versatility as a player, his 1996 sophomore project was more focused, and presented a smoother and more romantic aspect of his musicality!
CD: Renaissance (1996)
Site: Chieli Minucci
|The Touch - George Duke:
George Duke began on piano at the age of seven and early on, he witnessed first hand at his local Baptist church the emotional impact that music could have. After high school, he attended San Francisco's Conservatory of Music, majoring in trombone and composition, and graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor's degree. It was while Duke was playing the Half Note Club that he connected with Al Jarreau; Jarreau would drop in on Sundays and frequently join Duke on stage for some impromptu scatting. After attaining a Masters, Duke played with fusion great Jean-Luc Ponty (1969). He toured with Cannonball Adderly in the early 70s, sandwiching that gig between a pair of stints with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. In 1974, Duke joined Billy Cobham on the Crosswinds release (over the years he became a frequent Cobham collaborator) before finally launching his solo career in 1976.
In the late 70s, Duke began producing, and it's here that he enjoyed some of his greatest success, winning a few Grammy's including one for 1986's Tutu with Miles Davis. Meanwhile Let's Hear It for the Boy by Deniece Williams in 1984 was a big commercial hit. At the same time, Duke continued to record; a 1981-collaboration with Stan Clarke yielded Sweet Baby, a top 20 hit, while various other projects covered a spectrum of styles. By the 90s, Duke had attained legendary status. Nevertheless, the '98 After Hours release produced a career highlight in The Touch. The rarely used bass flute played by Sheridan Stokes wafts over Duke's Fender Rhodes creating a hypnotic weave and the ultimate in mood music!
*Café Jazz Bus on Tour with George Duke *
CD: After Hours (1998)
Label: Warner Bros.
Site: George Duke
Little Somethin' - Nelson Rangell :
While doing my usual research, I came across the following article. Although it's author was reviewing the album Destiny which Rangell had recorded a few years earlier, the sentiment expressed therein still rang true. As better phrasing escaped me, I decided toi use it verbatim. "While other contemporary jazz reed players grab more headlines and steal more thunder and notoriety, Nelson Rangell has slowly but surely created his own niche as one the genre's most consistent purveyors of spicy horn energy, virtuosic flute pepper, and technical wizardry, all laced with an ear for hip musical trends." Jonathan Widran at AMG
CD: Always (1999)
Site: Nelson Rangell
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
Part 1: New Music
Here's a quick run down of what you'll be hearing; selections from Lee Ritenour, Wayne Jones, and Briza; more from Michael Franks, William Woods, Patrick Yandall, and Jeffrey B. Suttles. We have Perry Joslin and Kohala, first time we're playing either of those. There's something new from Boday and as an added bonus, we have the latest from Dave Koz and Steve Cole. We get right to the grooves with Joyce Cooling and a tune from Revolving Door that comes complete with a chorus of chirping crickets to kick off another far from average edition of Café Jazz After Hours!
Note: As part of our opening set, I play a track from Lee Ritenour's new album and follow that with a tune by Australian bassist Wayne Jones called Written Hour. Sorry to be so blatant.
Part 2: The Café Jazz Top Ten Album Countdown
Something brand new for us here at The Café, as we play selections from each of the top 10 albums for November 13 as compiled by smoothjazz.com. We plan this as a semi-regular feature with this as our premier installment.