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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

October 21st, 2007
Edition #457 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
On this edition ... it's guitarist Blake Aaron in the spotlight; we've chosen a few favorites from the Desire cd and that's part of our showcase feature. That's followed in the second hour by another exciting Back Trax segment - we're pealing back the calendar pages for music from Brian Simpson and Dave Camp. We'll be hearing the acid jazz band Exodus Quartet out of Washington, DC and the Tony Campbell project known as Nite Flyte while Larry Carlton rounds out the feature with a track that is nothing short of being Smooth Jazz classic. Later that same hour, there's some of the brightest in current music with Nate Harasim, Norman Brown, and Rick Braun & Richard Elliot while sprinkled thruout are Peter White, David Benoit, and Chieli Minucci!
In This Issue:

Desire - Blake Aaron

Red - Exodus Quartet
Smiles & Smiles ... - Larry Carlton
Closer Still - Brian Simpson
The Love I Give - Nite Flyte
Slamdunk - Dave Camp


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Showcase CD
Desire - Blake Aaron:

In the early days of his career, Blake Aaron played rock shows on Hollywood's Sunset Blvd. while touring with The Drifters, The Coasters, and other R&B acts. However, for the better part of the last decade, Aaron has been active on both the LA & national music scenes in a slightly different capacity. In addition to work he's done for TV, he's appeared live and in the studio with many top Smooth Jazz artists of the day including Steve Reid & Bamboo Forest. Aaron's With Every Touch 2001 debut, which featured performances by David Benoit, Eric Marienthal, & Tony Guerrero, drew a fair bit of media attention while building a solid fan with three singles that reached the Top 50 on the Gavin/SmoothJazz.com charts. Meanwhile, billed as a collection of hip originals with Greg Adams & Will Donato as featured performers, Aaron's 2004 Bringin' It Back follow-up yielded an R&R Top 30 and two R&R Top 100 tracks for the year.
Blake Aaron - Desire
Although a single was issued a couple of years later, until just recently, that was the last we had heard from Blake in so far as a full-length project was concerned. In spite of plans to the contrary, the release date for this latest effort just kept getting pushed back - from Aaron's getting married, to buying a new home and then to starting a family, the new album has been three full years in the making! Nevertheless, with the issue of Desire earlier this year, the saying good things come to those who wait has never rung more true. The project easily represents Aaron's most consistent, mature, and refined offering to date - and so it's with great pleasure that we thrust album & author into our showcase spotlight, we've chosen a tasty trio of selections that I know you're gonna love em all. First up is the radio edit of Blake's latest single Bumpin' on the Wes Side and Aaron's tribute to "the genius of Wes Montgomery."
Blake Aaron - Album Insert Blake Aaron - Album Insert
Opening hour 2 is Shine, a track whose title had been the working name for the album and one, which Aaron had originally written for Paul Brown - Brown now contributes some of his production magic to the tune. Featuring the radiant flute work of Jesse J, Shine undoubtedly rates as one of the prettiest selections we've played in quite some time here on the hippest show on radio. Finally, we have the infectious energy of Spin Zone the lead single that was released back in 2005 - although now we have the luxury of offering the extended album version. These three great tracks are merely a small sampling of the wealth of diversity contained on one of the finer projects for 2007!

CD: Desire
Label: Innervision Records
Site: Blake Aaron

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Back Trax: Part One
Exodus Quartet - Way Out There
Red - Exodus Quartet:
The band Exodus Quartet was a project with which Eric Hilton sought to recreate the sound and atmosphere of the Exodus acid jazz club in Washington, DC. The nightspot had been founded by Hilton and Fari Ali in the summer of 1991 and although it was short lived, operating only for a couple of years thru to the summer of 1993, Exodus achieved legendary status for its uniqueness & the diversity of its clientele. Originally, the project was conceived as a four-piece combo but as the album was painstakingly produced over a period of three years, the ensemble grew into a collective that drew widely from the pool of talent within the DC area - finally culminating in 1996 with the issue of Way Out There! Although it was the one and only effort released under the banner of Exodus Quartet, excerpts from the disc have appeared on somewhere around 20 compilations. Hilton later went on to make more of a name for himself after co-founding Thievery Corporation the following year and has had several releases under that name. Nevertheless, in the process of handling bass, loops, and sharing in the production credits, Way Out There contains some of Hilton's finest work. From that effort, we're sampling the sophisticated chill of the track Red!

CD: Way Out There (1996)
Label: Instinct Records
Larry Carlton - Alone/But Never Alone
Smiles and Smiles To Go - Larry Carlton:
Raised in the tiny town of Sardis, nestled on the shores of Lake Sardis in Oklahoma, Larry Carlton began taking lessons when he was six and after hearing Joe Pass on the radio, he was inspired to play jazz and blues with Wes Montgomery and BB King both proving highly influential. In the 60s, Carlton moved to LA where he honed his skills in its studios and clubs while in 1968, he enjoyed a higher profile gig touring with Fifth Dimension. In 1970, Carlton turned to studio work - his early sessions included working with pop acts such as Andy Williams and the Partridge Family. In 1971, he joined the Crusaders and remained with the group until 1976, a period, which encompasses many of band's glory years and their transition from straight-ahead jazz to playing the fusion of the day. In between tours with the Crusaders, Carlton performed on a plethora of sessions, working hundreds of recordings in every genre. His credits include over 100 gold albums and winning a Grammy for his contribution to the theme from Hill Street Blues in 1981.

However, it was while with the Crusaders that Carlton refined the rhythmic, often bluesy style for he is now noted. Carlton launched his solo career with a self-titled debut in 1978 and in 1986, he delivered two albums that both reached #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. He won a second Grammy for his instrumental cover of Minute by Minute on Discovery, the second of these, while Alone/But Never Alone yielded one of the most positive and instantly recognizable Smooth Jazz tracks from that era in Smiles and Smiles to Go.

CD: Alone/But Never Alone (1986)
Label: MCA
Site: Larry Carlton

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Back Trax: Part Two
Brian Simpson - Closer Still
Closer Still - Brian Simpson :
Brian Simpson is a studio musician, musical director, and touring keyboardist whose meteoric rise to the top of the Smooth Jazz charts in 2005 with It's All Good well belies the fact he'd been honing his craft for years. In addition to projects released under his own name, Simpson took part in a pair of projects as a member of the four-piece combo Rhythm Logic - but for the better part of a decade, he's been the musical director for Dave Koz and his band. A jazzer nearly from birth, Simpson inherited his love for the form from his father and began on piano when he turned ten. Although initially drawn to guitarists such as Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery, Oscar Peterson was not only his first but also proved to be his greatest influence on piano. From Gurnee, Illinois, a small town north of Chicago where he grew up, Simpson went on to study at Northern Illinois University. As a member of the school's big band, he performed all over the world. Graduation saw Simpson relocate to LA where he became immersed in the jazz scene.

For a time, his path took a worldly detour that found Simpson touring with Teena Marie, Sheena Easton, and Janet Jackson while in 1991 he co-wrote the #1 hit The First Time by Surface. Subsequently, Brian returned "to his roots", and for the first time captured flashes of his impending stardom to disc with Closer Still, his solo debut in 1995. Several tracks from the cd garnered considerable airplay, albeit different songs in different markets, so without a "single", none of the songs "charted" on national radio airplay charts - nevertheless, some of his fans still consider it Brian's best work. From that effort, we've selected the infectious title track!

CD: Closer Still (1995)
Label: Noteworthy Records
Site: Brian Simpson
Nite Flyte - Ascension
The Love I Give - Nite Flyte:
The story behind the Nite Flyte originates in the mid 90s with Tony Campbell and the band Act Of Faith. Campbell had been seasoning his chops on the UK music scene for about a dozen years or so before joining Act Of Faith in 1992 as guitarist, songwriter, and producer. The band featured a lite R&B-Smooth Jazz blend and enjoyed some chart action with Lost On A Breeze - clips of which are readily available on various internet sites by simply Googling Lost on a Breeze. In any event, when the lead singer for Act of Faith left to pursue a solo career, Campbell corralled a few top players such as guitarist Mark Jaimes from Simply Red and sax/flutist Phil Brown to create Nite Flyte. The group's debut was released by Passion Jazz as 30.000 ft in the summer of 1997, and after a deal was secured with Instinct Records it appeared on this side of the water as Ascension early in 1999 yielding a modest hit in Open Your Heart. Subsequently, Nite Flyte 2 and U-Turn followed on Passion Jazz the latter being issued in 2003 was featured on edition #327 of our show - both are now available as imports. However, on this occasion, we're sampling that lead off project - from Ascension, we have the starry-eyed romanticism of The Love I Give!

CD: Ascension (1999)
Label: Instinct Records
Dave Camp - Torrid Rain
Slamdunk - Dave Camp:
Monterey, CA native Dave Camp started testing his talents at the age of eight - initially he tried flute, added the sax a few years later, and by his teens, he was performing regularly at the famed Monterey Jazz Festival with an All-Star High School Jazz Band. Grover Washington, Jr., Michael Brecker, and David Sanborn were among his biggest influences and even during those early years in his career, Camp landed tour dates with luminaries such as Chuck Mangione and Doc Severinsen. Rather than hitting the road following high school, Camp opted to attend San Francisco State but after a couple of years, he switched to Berklee in Boston majoring in saxophone performance. Upon graduating, he landed a concert gig with Buddy Rich and briefly toured Japan with his own band before returning to California where he connected with Al "The Year of the Cat" Stewart, appearing on a disc or two and touring with him for over a decade. It was while with Stewart that Camp befriended Peter White - Dave appeared on each of White's first three releases in the early 90s, they both performed with Skipper Wise on a couple of Windows projects, and more recently, Camp was featured on White's #1 Smooth Jazz hit, Mr. Magic.

In addition, Camp's credits include writing for Baywatch and The Untouchables as well as issuing a pair of solo projects - the first of these was Torrid Rain released in 1996. The album was produced by Skipper Wise while Dave's old friend Peter White co-engineered it, co-wrote many of the tunes, and lent his guitar work to a majority of the tracks. The disc spawned a moderate hit with the title track but we've opted for the sure-fire showpiece called Slamdunk showcasing the artistry of Messrs Camp and White, and featuring the flugelhorn of Rick Braun!

CD: Torrid Rain (1996)
Label: Blue Orchid
Site: Dave Camp

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
On this edition, 13 tracks that are fresh to Café Jazz. Here's a quick summary of what we're playing - there's new music from Soul Ballet, Keiko Matsui, Dave Sereny, and Brian Simpson. New to the show are Omar Akram, Under the Lake, and the Jeanette Harris Band. There's a bit more from Marc Antoine, Machan, Spyro Gyra, and Four80East as we explore each of their recent releases. Meanwhile we have the latest as well from Main Gazane and José Feliciano - the latter provides the closing track while the former is in the opening set!

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