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This Week at Café

March 15th, 2009
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On this edition, it's Mark Barrios in the spotlight with West Tampa Style - we've selected three great tracks from that release and have those cued and ready as part of the showcase segment. Following in hour 2 it'll be time for Back Trax as we dust off a 5-pack from back in the day - highlights on this installment are courtesy of Mezzoforte and War - also appearing are Inner Swing, Michael Sims, and Michael White. Then a bit later, we have some of the brightest and best in current music with Pete Gitlin and Michael Lington, as well as Oli Silk; while featured thru-out are Tim Bowman, Pieces of a Dream, Peter White, and Kim Waters!
In This Issue:

West Tampa Style - Mark Barrios

Honey In The Soul - Inner Swing
Playing For Time - Mezzoforte
Room With A Groove - Michael Sims
One More Time - Michael White
Smile Happy - War

SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
West Tampa Style - Mark Barrios:

Now you may have guessed Mark Barrios is based in Florida's Tampa Bay area and he first realized that music was his calling in life after hearing Santana's Abraxas many years ago. He's been playing lead and rhythm guitar for some 25 years and in addition to Santana, some of his influences include Eric Clapton and Larry Carlton. For the last few years, Barrios has been performing as a founding member of Off the Cuff - billed as the hottest band in town, Off the Cuff has appeared regularly at "The Fox", one of Tampa's finer jazz venues and the locale where the band was formed. Additionally, over the years Barrios has done a variety of gigs in and around town from ads & jingles to studio work while just recently he completed his solo debut. A long time dream come true, the cd was produced in conjunction with our good friend Allon Sams out of Studio A, one of the main cogs in the Tampa smooth scene. Suitably entitled West Tampa Style, the project includes splashes of Latin, funk, blues, and soul and provides a tasty platform for Barrios and his talents!

Mark Barrios - West Tampa Style
Mark Barrios - CD InsertMark Barrios - CD Insert
It's therefore with pleasure that we now pause to present Mark Barrios and West Tampa Style as the subject for the showcase segment. To that end, we're featuring a trio of fine selections contained therein beginning with MacFarlane Park. With Ruben Drake on bass and Allon Sams chipping in on keys, Barrios takes us on a brief but rejuvenating jaunt thru the park.

Easy & rhythmic and slightly reminiscent of Santana, Spanish Morning dawns at the start of hour 2 - while in the end Bouncin' Back puts a bit of spring into things with this smooth yet sprightly treatment. Diverse and somewhat familiar while remaining focused and fresh, Mark Barrios does indeed serve it with style, with West Tampa Style that is, on this exciting debut!

CD: West Tampa Style (2008)
Label: Independent Release
Site: Mark Barrios ; Allon Sams

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Back Trax: Part One
Inner Swing  - Get In The Swing
Honey In The Soul - Inner Swing:
The concept for Inner Swing originated with keyboardist Stephen Alpert. Alpert was influenced by Blues greats such as John Lee Hooker and by his all-time favourite jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. In the late 70s, Alpert co-led a band called Spireti while also committing a few of his sounds to disc. Following an extended 8-month tour of Venezuela, he returned to the UK only to see a record deal fall apart. In the mid to late 90s, Alpert connected with Hubbub Records and released Get In The Swing by Inner Swing, a cd that featured several vocal tracks by Sharon Musgrave and compiled much of his material from a ten period. From that effort, we have an instrumental track called Honey In The Soul featuring the slide trombone of Pete Thomas!

CD: Get In The Swing (1998)
Label: Hubbub Records
Mezzoforte - Playing For Time
Playing For Time - Mezzoforte :
Formed in 1977, Mezzoforte brought together four teenage friends who shared an enthusiasm for fusion & funk. They released their self-titled debut in 1979, and a few years later, they scored an international hit with the track Garden Party, the first band from Iceland to have achieved that distinction. Now 30 years, 11 albums and over a thousand concerts later, they're still touring regularly with all four original members sometimes appearing as part of 6 to 10 piece band. On this occasion, we're zipping back to 1990 and Playing For Time for the title track and a tune, which gained favourable airplay on smooth jazz radio back in the day!

CD: Playing For Time (1990)
Label: Novus
Site: Mezzoforte ; MezzoSpace

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Back Trax: Part Two
Michael Sims - Room With A Groove
Room With A Groove - Michael Sims :
His talents have been equally in demand from hip hop to smooth jazz and seen him play with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube as well as Pamela Williams, Richard Elliot, Peter White, and George Benson. Born in San Francisco, early on Michael Sims gained inspiration from the likes of Hendrix and Clapton, but after discovering the sounds of John McLaughlin and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, he began to explore the roots of jazz. Moving to LA, he played any session that he could get and thru a series of events, he became entrenched with Ruthless Records as part of the West Coast scene. After ten years working with a variety of artists familiar to the top 10 of the R&B charts, Sims made the slide to smooth. The 2003 release of Room With A Groove was the second from Sims and from it, we have the superb title track with Gerald Albright on sax!

CD: Room With A Groove (2003)
Label: Liquid 8 Records & Entertainment
Site: Michael Sims
Michael White - So Far Away
One More Time - Michael White ft Brian Simpson:
Drummer Michael White grew up in Chicago and began playing when he was four. Influenced by that city's scene and inspired by legends such as Buddy Rich, White earned a scholarship to the American Conservatory of Music. From playing local gigs with the likes of Ramsey Lewis, word spread and soon the demands on his time grew to the extent that he was obliged to relinquish his scholastic ambitions. He toured with Denise Williams, Lou Rawls, and Curtis Mayfield before making his way to LA in 1982. There he embarked on a career with studio work, movie scores, and jingle dates - as well as extensive touring. He debuted as a front man with So Far Away in 1994 and from that effort, we've selected the track One More Time featuring Brian Simpson on a track that Simpson wrote and later reprised a few years later for a disc of his own. Moreover, as a bit of a side-note, with White on drums, Simpson on keys, and Dwayne "Smitty" Smith on bass, the track is highlighted by the appearance of ¾ of the future Rhythm Logic combo!

CD: So Far Away (1994)
Label: Noteworthy Records
Site: Michael White ; MW/Space
War - Why Can't We Be Friends?
Smile Happy - War:
The roots for the band War extend back to an R&B cover group called the Creators formed in 1962 in the Compton area of LA County. They went thru a variety of configurations and name changes before connecting with Eric Burdon, the former the lead singer with The Animals. Burdon took charge of the group, changed their name, and in 1970 they released the album Eric Burdon Declares War. After that and a follow-up, War recorded on their own scoring several major hits from the early thru to the mid 70s. From 1975 and Why Can't We Be Friends we've selected one of our favourites from the era - an extended seven minute jam entitled Smile Happy!

CD: Why Can't We Be Friends? (1975)
Label: Avenue Records
Site: Lowrider Band

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
New Music ... the focus once again falls on fresh listening with 14 tracks totally new to the show. Here's what we have lined up for today's edition. We're starting with the new single from Nils and follow that with selections by Norman Connors, BK Jackson, The Bahama Soul Club, and Jim Peterik's Lifeforce. Chris Standring kicks off set #2 while also featured are Cecil Ramirez and a collaboration from Peter Kater and Dominic Miller - as well, there's a track from Jeff Kashiwa's new one. Then in our final set, we've cued keyboardist Alzie Ramsey and Patrick Yandall. We're introducing saxlady Ava Lemert - Galaxy Lounge will be in there and finally there's the latest single from Dave Koz. That features Jeff Golub on the track and that'll be today's closing selection!

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