June 10th, 2007
Edition #446 Previously Next
Stay With Me - Norman Brown:
Although Jimi Hendrix was his first inspiration, Norman Brown steered in the direction of jazz because of his father's love of Wes Montgomery. Brown explains, "He would sit down in the basement and listen to me practice for hours and hours. And he really liked Wes Montgomery … so I learned that style". One of the selections we've chosen for the feature called Pop's Cool Groove was inspired by those times and that will be coming up to start our second hour. After high school, Brown's increasing interest in jazz led him to relocate to Los Angeles and to attend the Musicians Institute where he also taught for a time. In 1992, he signed with the fledgling MoJazz label, delivering three critically acclaimed releases. The close of the 90s saw Brown leap to Warner Bros. where he first connected with ace producer Paul Brown - their second collaboration on Just Chillin' went on to win several Grammys! In spite of the success of that project, older fans still seem to prefer the sound that Brown achieved on After The Storm, his break thru sophomore release.
|This latest album, entitled Stay With Me, sees Brown to some extent return to that form with the album title purposely selected as encouragement to longtime supporters to "stick around". The project is Brown's Peak label debut and seventh overall to go along with a best of project and another release as a member of the smooth jazz supergroup BWB. With a view to all that is soothing and smooth, we've selected three tasty tunes that we feel show this supremely talented guitarist at his best as author and album are jettisoned into our showcase spotlight.|
Photo: CD Insert
the album is far from a reunion project, the venture allows Brown to reunite
with some old friends on several tracks while striking up a few new musical
friendships. A selection that covers both categories, the first for our
feature and a favourite on the disc is Soul Dance. Sparked by the expertise
of ace-producer Paul Brown, Brown's delicious guitar licks are beautifully
enriched by some plush grooves created courtesy of saxman Sam Riney, a
virtuoso from the early days of the genre. The aforementioned Pop's Cool
Groove, with Paul Brown again at the production helm, opens hour 2 while
Brown is joined by former band mates Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun for the
closer - an emphatic track entitled "It Ain't Over BWB"! However, being
unable to resist the rather obvious play on the title of this last track
it ain't over! We've taken the opportunity to include one final selection
previously unplayed on our show, the softly comforting A Quiet Place,
as part of the After Hours segment.
CD: Stay With Me
Label: Peak Records
Site: Norman Brown
|Back Trax: Part One|
Somewhere I Never Travelled - East Bounce:
From the land of the rising came East Bounce, a project led by the noted bassist Yoshio Suzuki. Raised in a family where his mother was a piano teacher and his father a violin manufacturer, it was only natural that Suzuki turn to music - early on he tried his hand at both while a bit later he also took up guitar. During university, Suzuki tickled the ivories as part of the jazz band and might have continued on, had it not been for Sadao Watanabe. It was while studying jazz theory with the famed saxplayer, it was suggested that Yoshio switch to the bass as his main instrument. Accepting the advice, Suzuki ended up joining Watanabe's band in 1969. To further his career, Suzuki relocated to New York City in 1973. Shortly after, his resume grew to include many top jazzers of the day, among them Stan Getz, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, and Chet Baker. At the same time, he formed his own band while continuing to study with courses in composing and arranging taken at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1985, Suzuki returned to Japan, where in time he hit upon the band East Bounce - their 1995 self-titled one-and-only release incorporated many of the finer elements of contemporary jazz within a highly viable pop framework. Among many album highlights Somewhere I Never Travelled, featuring the saxwork of Masahiro Fujioka with piano by Manabu Ohishi, went on to become one of the most popular selections for the year!
CD: East Bounce (self-titled 1995)
Label: One Voice/Satellites Records
Site: East Bounce/Satellites
- Lee Ritenour & Eric Marienthal:
Over the course of his nearly four-decade career, Lee Ritenour has established himself as one of the world's leading jazz musicians. The LA native was only 16 when he took part in his first sessions with The Mamas and The Papas within a couple of years later he was already backing luminaries such as Tony Bennett and Lena Horne. Captain Fingers as became known, was one of the most sought-after sessionist of the mid-70's, and to date has taken part in somewhere around 3000 studio gigs. In 1976 at the age of 24, Ritenour launched his solo career, and to this point, he's recorded over 25 projects under his own name alone, with several best of compilations, a few celebrated collaborations, and four more as a member of the supergroup Fourplay. Along the way, Ritenour has received 17 Grammy nominations plus many other accolades. Therefore, it's with all this as a backdrop that we return to 1997 and the album that was the first in a trilogy of Twist of releases and one of his finest projects ever. From a Twist of Jobim we're featuring the track Favela with Eric Marienthal guesting on sax!
CD: A Twist of Jobim (1997)
Label: i.e. music
Site: Lee Ritenour
|Back Trax: Part Two|
Out San Francisco - Craig Chaquico :
Craig Chaquico's career in music was born out of personal tragedy when at the age of twelve, he was struck by a drunk driver. In spite of suffering multiple injuries, Chaquico's desire to play guitar became his motivation for recovery. By age 14, he started playing professionally in nightclubs and only a couple of years later he was recruited as lead guitarist for Jefferson Starship although he was just sixteen at the time. After three decades as a member of one of the most successful bands in history, Chaquico left the fast-paced world of pop, reinvented his sound, and quickly earned award-winning status as an acoustic solo performer. His '93 debut was Billboard's #1 New Age indie album for the year while his '94 follow up reached #1 within the first week of its release and received a Grammy nomination. By the time he recorded his fourth album, Once In A Blue Universe, in 1997, Chaquico was well established as one of the favourites in the format. The album peaked at #6 for the year in no small way buoyed by the popularity of Lights Out San Francisco. With Peter White guesting, the track featuring two of the top guitarists of the day has become a perennial favourite and a quintessential smooth jazz track for the year!
CD: Once In A Blue Universe (1997)
Label: Higher Octave Music
Site: Craig Chaquico
For Shari - Scott Wilkie:
Detroit native Scott Wilkie grew up in the suburbs of the Motor City and from 1985 thru until 1991, he played across the Midwest in an electric-jazz group called Separate Checks. Following the band's demise, Wilkie relocated to Southern California, and in addition to his local gigs, he busily toured throughout the United States and more exotic locals such as Japan, Europe, South America and the Caribbean as a performing artist for the Roland Corporation. In the late 90s, he signed to a record deal and beginning with his solo debut in 1999, he issued a pair of projects within a couple of years. Concurrently, the National Association of Recording Merchants named Wilkie the Best Developing Jazz Artist for '99. Although his second effort earned additional kudos for the talented pianist and keyboard player, Wilkie has been conspicuously absent from the record scene ever since as a project planned for 2003 never fully materialized. However, on a positive note, there is a solo piano cd scheduled for release later this summer, which will no doubt feature more of Wilkie's lush melodies. Until then, from his debut, we have one of his finest - a simply gorgeous piece entitled Song For Shari!
CD: Boundless (1999)
Label: Narada Jazz
Site: Scott Wilkie
- Paul Hanmer:
The combination of a dynamic 90s record label and one of South Africa's foremost jazz musicians helped create an exceptional musical moment early in the new millennium. Originally founded as a dance label, Instinct Records' focus on electronica thru the middle of the past decade brought it closer to the edge of the alternative scene. In addition to pioneering techno in America, the company was well known for its parallel emphasis on the acid jazz movement. Meanwhile Cape Town South Africa native Paul Hanmer, began studying classical piano as a youth in the early 70s. Hanmer enrolled in a three-year program at the University of Cape Town but took a leave of absence to enhance his performance credits. He appeared with Top-40 bands, covered jazz standards, and performed with several original groups. In 1987, Hanmer moved to Johannesburg working with cabaret acts and playing in musicals and theatre productions. A 1994 release as a member of Unofficial Language paved the way for his own critically acclaimed debut album three years later with subsequent projects ably demonstrating Hanmer's continued development as one of South Africa's most accomplished pianists. With a love for musical collaboration, Hanmer recorded with many of South Africa's cream de la cream and in the year 2000, he appeared on the Smooth Africa project spear headed by Dave Love's Heads Up record label.
At pretty well the same time, the release of Playola, Hanmer's third solo effort on Sheer Sound afforded the unique opportunity to connect with Instinct Records. While drawing on the energies of McCoy Mrubata's sax playing, a special Jazzworx remix of Playola appeared on the 2002 This Is Smooth Jazz 5 - Sounds of Africa compilation and masterfully merged the Instinct philosophy with Hanmer's inspired musicianship yielding an incredible house-driven rendition of Playola, the title track!
CD: This Is Smooth Jazz 5 - Sounds of Africa (2002)
Label: Instinct Records
Site: Hanmer/South African Music
|After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :|
Today's line-up includes 14 never before been played on our show selections with featured tracks by Lee Ritenour, Keiko Matsui, Hiroshima and Special EFX. We have the latest from Marcus Johnson and Bill McGee, more from Norman Brown, Nate Harasim, and Dee Brown. There's another Dee that being Dee Lucas; Ed Spargo is on the show, first time for him; and new too are is the down tempo sounds of Germany's Reinmar Henschke. We're checking out saxman Jackiem Joyner while another great track from Jay Soto gets the cool vibe underway!