May 27th, 2007
Edition #444 Previously Next
Diversify - Lao Tizer:
A piano originally purchased for his sister became Lao Tizer's musical rallying point when he was five. After several years of begging for lessons, Tizer's parents relented and he began formal instruction at the age of nine. Always encouraged to pursue his own creativity, early on Tizer learned how to improvise and be adventurous. In 1993 and just in his teens, he cut his first record while by 17, he had released three self-produced cds and sold over 50,000 copies. Four years later, the Boulder Colorado native moved to LA to pursue his musical dreams where he soon caught the ear of guitarist and producer Chieli Minucci. Minucci enlisted the young musician's talents for the '98 Special EFX Masterpiece cd with Tizer providing the piano accompaniment on the track Awakening. With Minucci's mentorship, Tizer released a demo project and formed his own band, all of which led to the release of Golden Soul in 2001. Produced by Minucci, the disc reached Billboard's Top 50 Contemporary Jazz Album chart and garnered Tizer a "Best New Artist" nomination at the 2002 National Smooth Jazz Awards.
|The success of that project laid the groundwork for Tizer's nationwide support in the US while spurring many live concert experiences - so that even several years after its issue, there is much anticipation as Tizer and band return to the studio for their latest project. Produced by long-time friend and guitarist Jeff Kollman, the themes explored on this latest effort well reflect the album title Diversify with Tizer's masterful sampling of hues & textures from a multi-coloured musical palette! Album reviews to this point have been enthusiastic. Music Connection offered, "Lao Tizer is a brilliant keyboardist and composer whose seamless blend of hard and soulful grooves, spirited improvisations, and extreme sense of melody … plays to the adventurous part of the genre's audience." With this as our parting salvo, Diversify and Lao Tizer now take centre stage to bask in the glow of our showcase spotlight!|
The Lao Tizer Band Live with Chieli Minucci
L to R:Christopher Maloney, Chieli Minucci, Lao Tizer,
Drew Megna (on drums), Steve Nieves, & Jeff Kollman
Photo courtesy of LaoTizer.com
Our usual compliment of three tasty tracks has, in this case, been supplemented
by an additional selection that appears a bit later as part of our After
Hours segment.The album excerpts in order include a highly delectable
track entitled Flow, the hip reverie of Rapture, and the joyfully exuberant
Up A Notch. However, as mentioned, we're not quite done with Mr. Tizer
and company having, as an added bonus, reserved the muted elegance of
the previously un-played Autumn Day as part of our post show celebrations!
Undoubtedly, we'll be revisiting Diversify with our end-of the-year wrap
up as one of the finest break thru projects in 2007!.
Label: YSE Records
Site: Lao Tizer
|Back Trax: Part One|
Tickle Me Again - Kim Pensyl:
.As he shares on his web site, Columbus Ohio native Kim Pensyl started his music career the day after watching a TV show that was shot in a bullring, but rather than being about a bullfight, the program featured Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass. Fascinated by the sound of the trumpet, that became Pensyl's first instrument while music became his passion. Later adding electric bass before settling on piano and keys, Pensyl attended Ohio State University, and played in their jazz band. He earned a degree from the Eastman School of Music and attended Cal State before landing a series of LA gigs with the likes of Al Hirt, Hubert Laws, Louie Bellson, and Guy Lombardo. Launching his solo career in 1988 with his Pensyl Sketches #1 release, the following year Pensyl earned recognition as the ASCAP Best New Jazz Writer of the year. He went on to record over a dozen albums; four of them making Billboard's Top 10 on the Contemporary Jazz Chart with the 3rd of his Pensyl Sketches series being honoured as the 1991 N.A.R.M. Jazz Album of the Year. On this occasion, we're returning to 1998 and the Quiet Café release, an album that Pensyl lovingly dedicated to the memory of his mother. From that effort, we have the track Tickle Me Again.
CD: Quiet Café (1998)
Label: Fahrenheit Jazz
Site: Kim Pensyl
- Grover Washington Jr.:
For some twenty-five years, Grover Washington Jr. was among the most beloved instrumentalists of our times while maintaining a middle ground between jazz and R&B. Washington's love of playing began as a child growing up in Buffalo, New York where his mother, a church chorister, and his father, an amateur sax player, bought him his first sax at the age of ten. Creating music was always more than just about selling a few records for Grover as he went on to make his reputation with a series of well-received recordings in the 70s. In 1980, his Winelight release won a pair of Grammy's, vaulting Washington to the forefront of jazz-fusion. Sadly, he passed away on Dec.17 1999, having celebrated his 56th birthday only days earlier. On this occasion, we're paying tribute to Grover with one of his lesser-known selections as we return to Time Out Of Mind, his release from 1989 and funky rhythms of the opening track!
CD: Time Out Of Mind (1989)
|Back Trax: Part Two|
Da Livin Is EZ - Soul Ballet :
The man behind the sonic-craft of Soul Ballet is multi-instrumentalist, Rick 'RK' Kelly - early in his teens Kelly began playing the club scene in spite of being underage, often using the back door in order to sneak in. He went on to record with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Robert Palmer, The London Symphony Orchestra, Madonna, & Chicago. However, it's as Soul Ballet that he achieved two number one albums as well as scoring a pair of number one tracks. Operating as a sound design architect if you will, Kelly also doubles as project producer, arranger, & programmer. Elements of classical music, rock, and new age are coupled with pulsating rhythms and presented in a "down tempo" style making Soul Ballet a hybrid blend that crosses many genres. In addition, Kelly has directed a few short films and done some guest spots for TV - these may well translate to the cinematic quality of the music. With a half-dozen albums under the Soul Ballet moniker, we now return to the one that initiated the string, the 1997 self-titled debut release for And Da Livin is EZ, complete with vocal fills courtesy of Billy Valentine.
CD: Soul Ballet (self-titled 1997)
Eyes - Brandon Fields:
A versatile and talented performer who took up the sax at the age of 10, Orange County native Brandon Fields began freelancing as a teen and made his first studio appearance in 1976. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1982 and since, has done hundreds of record dates with artists as diverse as Nancy Wilson, Stanley Clark, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Luther Vandross, Quincy Jones, Alphonse Mouzon, Al Jarreau, Robben Ford, David Benoit, Michael McDonald, Lionel Richie, and Harry Connick Jr. In addition to his movie soundtrack work, Fields toured with George Benson and The Rippingtons in the 80s, with Tower of Power and Earth Wind & Fire in the 90s, while since 1998, his steady gig has been as a member of the Dave Weckl Band. On the solo front, he recorded his debut back in 1986; in all Fields has had seven cds to go along with a seasonal release. On this occasion, we've gone to his 1995 self-titled album for the dreamy romance & hushed elegance of Quiet Eyes!
CD: Brandon Fields (self-titled 1995)
Label: Positive Music
Site: Brandon Fields
Thought Of You - Thom Rotella:
A highly skilled studio player, Thom Rotella emerged as a lead artist in the late 80s and developed into a star performer in the early days of Smooth Jazz. Growing up in Niagara Falls NY in a musical family, Rotella started playing his grandfather's guitar at the age of six just for the fun of it - but, by the time he'd turned eight, he had already set his sights on a career in music. At ten, Rotella began taking lessons and in high school, he jammed with rock bands before discovering jazz thru the recordings of Wes Montgomery. Enrolling as a Radio & TV major at Ithaca College in NY State, Rotella later transferred to Boston's Berklee College of Music where he frequently worked with Gary Burton. However, after attending Berklee from1970 thru until 1972, he left to tour the US with a lounge band. Upon moving to LA, Rotella was befriended by Tommy Tedesco, a fellow Niagarian and reputedly the most-recorded guitarist in history. With Tedesco's guidance, Rotella flourished as a sessionist.
Later he moved back to New York where he continued studio work while assuming an active role on the NYC club circuit. Looking for a creative outlet, Rotella launched his solo career in the late 80s, releasing the self-titled Thom Rotella Band in 1987 - two additional albums recorded under his own name alone followed by 1990. Those initial efforts established Rotella as a favourite in the emerging format. However, as he was unable to land a record deal for a good portion of the 90s, Rotella eventually became involved in the jingle business and moved back to L.A. Fortunately he not only resurfaced, in 1996, but within a two-year period, he also released two outstanding albums. These studio efforts were the first to reflect accurately the dynamics of Rotella in a live setting. From '97 and Can't Stop, probably his best overall project and arguably one of the finest releases ever in the Smooth jazz format, we've selected the sensational The Thought Of You with Rick Braun guesting on flugelhorn on the track!
CD: Can't Stop (1997)
Site: Thom Rotella
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :|
Today's focus is music that's brand new to our show with 14-new-and-tasty-trax. Here's a quick run down of our line up - selections from Euge Groove, EW&F, and Hiroshima. There's more from the new ones by Jay Soto and DTTB. We'll be hearing from Four80East and as well as the most recent Dan Siegel single. Guitarist Keith Andrew is on the show, even though the track is from 2001, it's the first time for him and we're also introducing the down tempo sounds of Stardelay out of Germany. In the meatime, we're checking out the albums from Norman Brown, Jeff Lorber, Ken Navarro, and Andrew Neu. And as an added bonus we have another track from Lao Tizer and Diversify that we've never played - until now! They're all here!