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This Week at CaféJazz.ca

February 17th, 2008
Edition #471 Previously Next

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This Week at CafeJazz.ca!
Your Café Jazz update! On the next show, we’re spinning tracks from Lake Effect and the Brighter Moments cd as part of the showcase segment. In the second hour, it’s time for golden oldies and the bi-weekly Back Trax feature with more favourites from back in the day. Headlining this edition are the Urban Knights project and Leo Gandelman - also appearing are the band Porcupine while guitarist Robert Condon and flautist Sherry Winston round out the feature. Then later in the hour, there’s a glitzy collection of current favourites – including Blake Aaron, Eric Marienthal, Paul Hardcastle, and Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, while thru out various portions of the show are selections from Euge Groove, Omar Akram, Down to the Bone, Peter White, and Russ Freeman & Craig Chaquico!
In This Issue:

Brighter Moments - Lake Effect

Living on Sand - Leo Gandelman
Morning Star - Sherry Winston
Slider Inside - Porcupine
Would You Fall - Robert Condon
On The Radio - Urban Knights

Then & Now - Jimmy Sommers

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Showcase CD
Brighter Moments - Lake Effect:

Co-created by keyboardist Neil Artwick & guitarist Robert Davis, Chicago's Lake Effect is an exciting collaboration that presents a hybrid blend of Latin, funk, jazz, and R&B activated by flashy rhythms and innovative grooves! For his part Bob Davis was founder of the group Cooly Cool, a band that he originally formed with bassist Darryl Jones of the Rolling Stones and keyboardist/saxophonist Ari Brown of The Elvin Jones' Group. He's worked with Patty Smith and John Waite and, while residing in New York, Davis wrote his own feature column in Guitar World Magazine. Meanwhile, Neil Artwick has operated as a top call sessionist having played, written, or produced hundreds of spots for radio & TV. He's scored for A&E's Biography, several PBS series, and for independent films; in addition, that's Neil's keyboard work on the "Oprah" theme.
Lake Effect - Brighter Moments
Davis and Artwick first collaborated about 10 or so years ago, and thru a variety of projects their arrangements & compositions have continued to develop. An Ocean Away was their 2002 debut as Lake Effect and now with Brighter Moments the duo presents as compelling a collection, as you're likely to hear in the genre.
Bob Davis and Neil Artwick
Bob Davis and Neil Artwick
Courtesy of Smooth Jazz Band.com
It's therefore now a pleasure to thrust Messrs Artwick & Davis into our showcase spotlight as Lake Effect! We begin our feature with the first of three selections chosen specifically for the occasion and a tune that we've previously described as rather liquid in the track called 773! Firing up hour 2 is one of the strongest tunes on the disc with In The Universe wherein Bob and Neil share the stage with Warren Hill's emotive saxwork. Finally, to conclude we're presenting one of the slickest selections to come down the smooth jazz pike in quite some time. True to its title, here's a tune that delivers more of the sounds we crave, matter of fact, it's right around 10% More - as Davis and Artwick reprise one of the finest tracks from their debut!

CD: Brighter Moments
Label: NuGroove Records
Site: Lake Effect ; Lake Effect/NuGroove

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Back Trax: Part One
Leo Gandelman - Brazilian Soul
Living on Sand - Leo Gandelman:
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Leo Gandelman's mother was a concert pianist while his father was a noted conductor. As a youth, Gandelman showed great promise; he studied classically and performed on flute with Brazil's Symphonic Orchestra when he was just 15. At 16, though, he grew tired of the strict regimen, and decided to pursue photography only to return to music about 3 years later - soon after went off to attend Berklee in Boston. Upon graduating, Gandelman returned to Brazil, where he became very active as a sessionist with over 600 record dates in 10 years. For 15 years consecutively, Gandelman was voted Brazil's most popular instrumental artist in a newspaper readers' poll. In addition to composing for film and TV, over the years he's issued over a dozen albums with projects released in both Brazil and the USA; today we're returning to one of his finest!

CD: Brazilian Soul (1999)
Label: Jazzica Records / Push Records
Site: Leo Gandelman
Sherry Winston - For Lovers Only
Morning Star - Sherry Winston:
Sherry Winston started on flute at the age of 11 and later attended Howard University in the Washington, DC area. One of her first big gigs was touring with a jazz ensemble that featured Roberta Flack; she has since gone on to become a multi-Grammy nominee, an educator, and a performer. For a time Ms Winston moved over to the business side of music as Director of Jazz Promotion for Columbia, Arista, GRP, and Elektra Records where she helped shape careers for Miles Davis, Hubert Laws, Ramsey Lewis, and Kenny G among others. Since releasing her Do It For Love solo debut back in 1986, Winston's arrangements have set her apart as a musical innovator thru out the 80s and 90s. After a few years away from recording, Sherry returned with a pair of projects early in the new millennium. On this occasion, we're returning to 2002 and For Lovers Only, her 5th and most recent release - from that effort, we've selected the motivating rhythms of Morning Star!

CD: For Lovers Only (2002)
Label: Flying Flute Records/Orpheus Records/EMI
Site: Sherry Winston

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Back Trax: Part Two
Porcupine - Porcupine
Slider Inside - Porcupine :
Led by keyboardist Bill Cunliffe and drummer Bernie Dresel, both well-respected members of the jazz community, the band Porcupine released a pair of projects in the late 80s & early 90s. Cunliffe received a Masters degree from the Eastman School of Music, and toured with the Buddy Rich Big Band. He worked with Frank Sinatra, and many of the legends in jazz, including Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, and Freddie Hubbard. He's been an educator and fronted a variety of projects while winning the Thelonious Monk Award for jazz piano in 1989. Meanwhile, Bernie Dresel appeared on Drum Magazine's list of "53 Drummers Who Made a Difference in the 90's" having played with/for Chaka Khan, Maynard Ferguson, David Byrne (Talking Heads), and the Brian Setzer Orchestra among others! With a line-up that included Ron Komie and Thom Rotella splitting guitar duties, and Bob Parr & Dave Carpenter sharing in bass responsibilities, Porcupine brought a welcome degree of sophistication and credibility to an often-maligned genre. From their self-titled debut, we have the album's opening track with Gerald Albright featured on sax on a tune that helped define an era!

CD: Porcupine (1989)
Label: Sonic Atmospheres/Kazu Records
Site: Bill Cunliffe ; Bernie Dresel
Robert Condon - Stirred
Would You Fall - Robert Condon :
Nashville-based Robert Condon picked up the guitar at the age of eight and was performing professionally by the time he was in high school. Enjoying influences from rock and jazz to big band and funk, prepared Condon for the variety of projects that he would later undertake. In addition to session work for Englebert Humperdink, Condon contributed to the body of work used by major motion picture studios as part of the Aircraft music library - as an active pilot, Condon draws inspiration from flying as well as from riding his Harley. An alumnus of Boston's Berklee School of Music, Condon attributes meeting up with keyboardist and fellow producer John Marsden as being pivotal in his career. Condon's 2000 Stirred release came about as a direct result of their collaboration. From that effort, which remains Condon's one and only release, we've selected the Would You Fall, upon which Condon achieves an eclectic dichotomy of effects by brilliantly melding the seductive elegance of the acoustic guitar with dynamic capabilities of the electric guitar!

CD: Stirred (2000)
Label: Warm Records
Urban Knights - Urban Knights
On The Radio - Urban Knights:
Flash to the early 90s and the formation of smooth jazz supergroups was all the vogue a case in point being Urban Knights, the creation of Carl Griffin, GRP's Vice-President of A&R. Griffin had been looking for a new project for Ramsey Lewis, who had been part of the GRP roster for several years. Grover Washington Jr. proved an obvious choice to compliment Lewis's talents as the two had worked together on a couple of occasions and both were considered modern day legends in contemporary instrumentals. Meanwhile drummer Omar Hakim and bassist Philip Bailey were selected for the cohesiveness they brought to the project - they had comprised Weather Report's rhythm section for three years; and at the time, both were backing Madonna on tour. Charged with the duty of bringing the album to fruition fell to Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White. The result was the 1995 self-titled Urban Knights debut and a record that proved to be the first in a series of releases under the Urban Knights banner. Subsequent projects featured Ramsey Lewis as the only hold over, before the collective morphed into largely a showcase for developing talent. For today's feature, however, we're returning to that debut disc for the opening track featuring the immediately recognizable sax work of the late great Grover Washington, Jr.!

CD: Urban Knights (1995)
Label: GRP Records
Site: Ramsey Lewis ; Urban Knights/GRP

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
This week on the After Hours portion of the show .... Jimmy Sommers enters our spotlight. We’ve gone to each of Sommers 4 solo releases and added a radio single that has never been released – for a 5-pack of tracks as part of our Then & Now feature; that’s coming up roughly 20 minutes into the hour. Otherwise, 9 brand new never before been played on the show selections in what has become something of a tradition. Today’s line-up includes Jim Savitt, Chris Geith, David Crawford, and Lori Andrews. We have the latest from the G-Man, Kenny G, as well as something brand new from Patrick Yandall. New to the show are trumpeter Jeff Oster and keyboardist Mike Levine, while additionally we have a selection from the band East of West - those are all coming up in another great non-stop action-packed fun-filled hour of music!
Then & Now Spotlight Artist: Jimmy Sommers

Jimmy Sommers - James Café James Café
Gemini Records
Jimmy Sommers - 360 Urban Groove 360 Urban Groove
Gemini/Higher Octave
Jimmy Sommers - Lovelife Lovelife
Gemini/Higher Octave
Jimmy Sommers - Fly Me to the Moon (Radio Single) Fly Me To The Moon
Gemini Records
Jimmy Sommers - Sunset Collective Sunset Collective
Gemini Records

Jimmy Sommers: A Mt. Pleasant Illinois native, Jimmy Sommers started on sax in the fourth grade and made his record debut just a few years later as a featured soloist with his school band. When he was 16 and still underage, Sommers would use fake ID to sneak into some of Chicago's hotter nightspots and sometimes wound up sitting in with blues legends such as Buddy Guy. While attending Southern Illinois on an industrial engineering scholarship, he started his own band and among other appearances, he performed for the athletes in Atlanta's Olympic Village in 1996. After graduating, Sommers headed to LA to pursue his dreams in music, but for a time he moonlighted as a model and as an actor before his career took off. Unable to garner much interest among the major labels, Sommers used his own cash to set up Gemini Records, releasing his James Café debut in 1997.

Jimmy Sommers Live!! Courtesy of Jimmy Sommers.com
Shortly after, Sommers' career received a big boost when several of his tracks were included on a sampler issued by JP DeJoria, a hair-care bigwig, who sold the compilation at thousands of his salons around the world. Then with his subsequent release issued a few years later, Sommers scored a major hit covering Boz Scaggs' Lowdown and thus rang his arrival as a smooth jazz star in the new millennium. Although rooted in the blues - Sommers' style stretches to include jazz, soul, R&B, pop, and hip-hop and with the issue of The Sunset Collective, he now has four cds to his credit - that to go along with a 2004 seasonal effort and a 2005 radio single that was never issued to the public.

This all now very nicely sets the stage for a 5-pack Jimmy Sommers Then & Now feature. To begin, we've included the title track from the James Café debut. That's followed by Lowdown - Sommers' big break-thru hit, and then a tune called This Weekend, one of several singles culled from the Lovelife release. That brings us to 2003 and just past the halfway point in the segment and, although A Holiday Wish was issued the following year, we pick up the story in late 2005, with the radio single Fly Me To The Moon featuring Rick Braun. Finally, there are the down-tempo sounds of Out of Nowhere, Sommers' opening selection on Sunset Collective and one of his finest creative efforts to date!

Site: Jimmy Sommers
Also by
Jimmy Sommers
Jimmy Sommers - A Holiday Wish
A Holiday Wish
Gemini Records

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