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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

April 1st, 2007
Edition #440 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca: The Quarterly Review: Q.1 - 2007!
Broadcast in three installments, The QR covers the absolute best in new music for the preceding 90-day period. Only 3 months in, and we've already seen new releases from Special EFX, Ken Navarro, Chuck Loeb and Paul Brown. True to form, we have something from each of those. Add to that music from Jim Brickman, Kenny G, and Walter Beasley plus a few other fresh & cool sounds you're likely to hear only here & nowhere else. So for one of the finest collections as well as one of the most diverse, it's now a pleasure to present The QR for Q.1 2007!

Countdown to Program #450!
Just 10 shows to go until we hit a mini-miletone!
In This Issue:

Seaport Village - J. R. Siemion
Don't Want To Be ... - Jonathan Butler
Cool Breeze - Richy Kicklighter
Bay of Hope - Planet Lounge
André's Theme - André Ward
Now - Kyle Eastwood


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Highlights Hour One
Seaport Village - Joel Rodney Siemion:
Hailing from Pleasantville New York, Joel Rodney Siemion graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications & Broadcasting. After working with IBM for 11 years, he moved to Colorado in 1989, working as a smooth jazz DJ and as a television newscast director. Having played guitar since the age of seven, Siemion began studying Jazz in earnest in 1990, while throughout this entire period, he maintained a desire to display his musicality. Finally, his moment a solo artist arrived in 2003 with the release of Epiphany.

The success of that project steered Siemion in a life altering direction as he abandoned broadcasting, and launched his career as a professional musician. Shortly after, he was entertaining on board a cruise ship - some of the songs on Cayman Moon, his latest cd, grew out of those experiences. San Diego was a regular port of call where Siemion would walk down to an area called Seaport Village, sit out on a deck in the sun, and watch what was happening. The track of that name is a rekindling of those fond moments!

CD: Cayman Moon
Label: Independent
Site: JR Siemion

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Don't Want To Be A Fool - Jonathan Butler:
The passing of Luther Vandross on July 1st, 2005 prompted an out-pouring of heartfelt emotion. Within a year, the wheels were in motion for a second tribute to one of the most important R&B male vocalist of the 80s and 90s. Produced by Rex Rideout and Bud Harner, who had worked together in 2004 on the original, Volume II of Forever, for Always, For Luther, revisits more of the vocalist's biggest hits. Highlights include So Amazing by Patti Austin, and The Glow of Love by Wayman Tisdale. Meanwhile one of our favourites features Jonathan Butler on guitar and vocals, with a rather excellent cover of a Vandross classic!

CD: Forever, For Always, For Luther Volume II
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
Site: Jonathan Butler ; Luther Vandross
Cool Breeze - Richy Kicklighter:
Richy Kicklighter returns with his eighth and latest collection, a moody & melodic mix of blues, new age, and smooth jazz. A frequent visitor to Myakka State Park, situated not far from his home in Sarasota, Kicklighter has long drawn inspiration for his music from the park's natural calm and beauty. Having attracted a fair bit of attention back in the 90s with several well-received projects, the Stamford Connecticut native made a somewhat triumphant return with his Moving Skies cd in 2005, his first new release in about 7 years. With a title like Unknown and an album cover that depicts a lush and overgrown tropical scene, from the outset, there is an expectation that the new release will continue in the same vein. Presenting a package that is deep, dark, and mysterious, Unknown does not disappoint. From that effort, we've selected a track that refreshes like a cool breeze in the midst of a hot & humid tropical night!

CD: Unknown
Label: Midnight Pass Music
Site: R.Kicklighter

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Highlights Hour Two
Bay of Hope - Planet Lounge:
Whereas in North America smooth jazz may be near the forefront of the contemporary scene, in several nations thruout Europe, it's Chill and Lounge, which are at the cutting edge - Germany's Planet Lounge being one of the major proponents in that movement. Planet Lounge is a trio consisting of Christoph Spendel on piano, Hakim Ludin on percussion and Naoki Kenji on keys. Spendel for his part is no stranger to the international circuit having played with Special EFX for several years in the 90s before resuming his career in Germany. He's a prototype crossover musician whether as a performer or as professor of pop and jazz music at the University of Frankfurt. Born in Afghanistan, Hakim Ludin is a renowned percussionist having appeared in support of many of Germany's top players in addition to being constantly in demand for film and TV. Meanwhile, rounding out the combo is Japanese-born Naoki Kenji, who began his career deeply influenced by the music of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Kenji has earned his stripes as a producer, composer, DJ, and remixer and has produced various videos for TV.

The secret to the success of Planet Lounge lies in the band's expert fusion of electronica and acoustic grooves. Having released the Electric Bolero debut in 2002, Nazim is their rather excellent follow up project. Although it was released a couple of years back in Germany, it's new here on this side of the water and so it's a pleasure to introduce it to North American listeners. From that project, we have the supremely tasty Bay of Hope, a must for all dedicated collectors of lounge and a track that's certain to earn many avid new fans for the band!

CD: Nadim
Label: 4MPO
Site: Planet Lounge ; C.Spendel ; N.Kenji ; H.Lundin ; Lounge/4MPO
André's Theme - André Ward:
Chicago born and bred, smooth saxman Andre Ward first took a turn on the snare drum before trying trumpet. He eventually settled on the alto sax, earning a scholarship to Boston's renowned Berklee College of Music for his efforts. While based in Boston, Ward had the opportunity to perform internationally, appearing at the Montreux Jazz Festival and a Performing Arts Tour in Nigeria. In addition to being the musical director for Freddie Jackson, his résumé includes touring with Teena Marie, Will Downing, and the legendary Dizzy Gillespie among others. By 2001, Ward had signed a record deal with his debut release reaching #4 on Billboard. Crystal City is now his third and latest and from that effort, we have the excellent advance single!

CD: Crystal City
Label: Orpheus
Now - Kyle Eastwood:
Kyle Eastwood grew up in Carmel California the son of famed actor Clint Eastwood. Among the younger Eastwood's first jazz memories are of his father taking him to the festival in nearby Monterey. As a kid doing his homework, Kyle would hear jazz greats such as Ellington, Basie, and Davis playing thruout the house while he recalls fondly the occasion upon which Clint taught him how to play Boogie Woogie. By 1986, and two years into a film major at USC, Kyle took off what he expected would only be a year to pursue music and in the process discovered it to be his true passion.

After several years of gigging in NYC and LA, Eastwood released his first and critically well-received album in 1998. It wasn't until 2004, that he issued Paris Blue, which he worked on while living in Paris. The album climbed to #1 on the French Jazz charts. With Now, Eastwood tackles his most ambitious project and one whose scope ranges from the post-modern jazz modalities of the title track to a variety of moody electronic grooves. Propelled by the musicianship of a talented ensemble of top players on London's underground scene, Now is a work that explores boundaries within the medium and from that effort, we present the highly rewarding title track!

CD: Now
Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
Site: Kyle Eastwood

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
More smooth grooves from the past 90 days as The Quarterly Review continues! Featured are selections from Jeff Golub, Dave Koz, and Jeff Lorber while also included are tracks by Lao Tizer and Rodney Lee. Moreover, just before we went to production, the latest Keiko Matsui came in - so even though it's new and not officially from previous three-month period, we're including it on this installment of The QR - hopefully we're not about to be called on this obvious breach in protocol. Up and comers such as Talking Book, 813, Kymaera, John Niems, and Mel Davis are all on this installment while we kick things off with the latest from Café Jazz fave Matt Marshak and his Groovosphere release!

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