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This Week at Café

October 3rd, 2010
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This Week at
… we've chosen some pretty amazing tunes by keyboardist Brian Simpson. The new one is called South Beach and that's the spotlight cd on the showcase segment. Then for the Back Trax feature in hour 2 we do a bit of time traveling courtesy of our incomparable way back machine - highlighting this edition are Deodato and Traffic. Also appearing are Gil Parris and Michael Fair, while Larry Ellis, Jr. rounds the set. Then trailing the Back Trax is a set of the fresh & new with Alan Hewitt, Walle Larsson, and The Eric Evans Project; while strewn about are selections by The Jazzmasters, Cindy Bradley, and Nils. But breaking the bottle on the bow of this show is a tune from Andrea Razzauti ... all on the radio show that really knows its onions!
In This Issue:

South Beach - Brian Simpson

Midnight Rendezvous - Gil Parris
Southwest Latitude - Larry Ellis, Jr.
Brazilian Sunrise - Michael Fair
The Low Spark ... - Traffic
Crickets Sing For Anamaria - Deodato

AFTER HOURS : This Hour Has 14 Days
PLAYLIST: Playlist for Ed#584

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Showcase CD
South Beach - Brian Simpson:

Keyboardist Brian Simpson continues creating albums that rate a solid 10 on the Café Jazz wow factor! South Beach is a trendy section of Miami Beach, and now it's also the name of Simpson's latest cd - the 4th in his catalogue and likely Brian's most accomplished effort to date. Every night of the week, SoBe becomes a major entertainment destination and that milieu provided the inspiration for the project! Growing up in Gurnee, Illinois, north of Chicago, Simpson was exposed to jazz thru his father's record collection and early on, he became a confirmed jazzman. Picking up piano when he was 10, Oscar Peterson was his first and greatest influence and, after graduating from Northern Illinois University, Simpson moved to LA where he quickly became a part of that city's vibrant jazz scene. However, his musical journey took a detour when in quick succession he found himself touring with Teena Marie, Sheena Easton, and Janet Jackson.

Brian Simpson - South Beach
But to put a new spin on an old saying, you can take the man out of jazz but you can't take the jazz out of the man. In due course, Simpson gravitated to the genre that loves, performing with many of the greats on the contemporary scene, such as George Duke & Larry Carlton. Meanwhile his own record career just naturally veered in that direction. Simpson released his solo debut in 1995, but for over a decade he's been a member of Dave Koz's tour band and for most of that he's also been Koz's musical director. 2005 saw a resurgence in Simpson solo career with It's All Good, an overdue follow-up and one of the finest releases for the year! Then in 2007 we were floored by Above the Clouds, a cd that surged to #3 on our in house list of favourites. Now subsequent to a well-deserved nomination as keyboardist of the year for the upcoming ASJA, comes an album with the full potential to be a chart-buster!
Brian Simpson Brian Simpson - Munich 2009
Photo: Hans-Bernd Hülsmann
Reflecting upon the release Brian shares the following, "While working on South Beach in my studio I often stepped back to a corner of the room and closed my eyes, as if listening for the first time, to see if the music compelled an emotion. I truly hope the listener can feel the love and care that all of the musicians contributed to the recording." Perfectly complementing Simpson's glistening keys is Steve Alaniz on sax - actually Steve appears on each of the three tracks we've selected starting with All I Want Is You. Peter White guests on Never Without You, a gorgeous piece that Brian dedicates to his daughter Shawndra and that's at the top of hour 2. Finally, there's some tasty soloing from Brian, Steve, and Yarone Levy on guitar on the tune Our Love, an outstanding selection! Passionate yet gentle, reflective, and caring, this is one slick cd! Brian Simpson's South Beach is an exhilarating listen that's filled with tender exquisite moments - they really don't come any finer! Brian Simpson Then & Now Spotlight Feature Ed #387 - December 4th, 2005

CD: South Beach (2010)
Label: Shanachie Records

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Back Trax: Part One
Gil Parris - Gil Parris
Midnight Rendezvous - Gil Parris:
After briefly attending Berklee in Boston, Gil Parris toured Europe as part of a musical troupe. Then immersing himself on the New York session scene, he made a name for himself playing with the likes of David Sanborn and Bob James, and in the early 90s he appeared on records by Cissy Houston and Syndicate of Soul. Transcending classification, Parris has issued releases across rock, blues, jazz and pop and he's been Grammy nominated. Additionally, his technique & style have been described as "breathtaking", "mind-boggling", and "an absolute monster of the guitar"! In 1998, Parris' "smashing debut" made inroads on the smooth jazz arena and from it we have the tune that garnered him some great exposure!

CD: Gil Parris (1998)
Label: RCA Victor
Larry Ellis, Jr. - Impressions
Southwest Latitude - Larry Ellis, Jr.:
With a grandfather who was a musician, Larry Ellis began taking piano lessons when he was six. He learned chords and theory, and from there on in, it was jazz all the way. Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, and others of the day, were early favourites and highly influential, so that in time Ellis felt moved to record on his own. His initial effort in 1996 proved a learning experience but it did enable Larry to begin opening for major acts. A couple of years later Ellis recorded again, this time it was a cd called Impressions that received national airplay. More recently, that album was re-issued together with a current effort. Now on this occasion, we're turning back the hands of time and revisiting Impressions for Southwest Latitude, the opening track on the disc. A rhythmic & catchy melody, this is one is further enhanced by a sweet refrain featuring Larry on keys and Ed Simentel on sax! In recognition of these efforts, in June of this year, Larry received BMA "Sounds Of Soul" Music Awards for Best Jazz Musician and Best Jazz Band!

CD: Impressions (1999)
Label: Ivory Market Records

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Back Trax: Part Two
Michael Fair - How Close Are We?
Brazilian Sunrise - Michael Fair:
Based in Nashville TN, trumpet & flugelhorn player Michael Fair might be considered a bit of an anomaly. Fair took up the trumpet at the age of 12 and began playing along to the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass records that his parents were listening to. He earned a Bachelors of Music from Middle Tennessee State University in 1979 and, in addition to his session work, backed many of the top performers appearing in Music City USA. Over the past 20 years, the Nashville native has been playing and recording smooth jazz in a city that's much better known for its country and Christian music scene. Back in 1995, Fair connected with Brandon Barnes, a recipient of numerous songwriting awards and over the years they've collaborated on 3 well-received projects. From How Close are We and the second of these, we have the mellifluous tones of Brazilian Sunrise! This is the quintessence of smooth jazz and definitely a project and artist deserving of much broader recognition!

CD: How Close Are We? (2004)
Label: Captain Flugel
Traffic - The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - Traffic:
Steve Winwood had already enjoyed success as a 15 year old front man for the Spencer Davis Group when he connected with Jim Capaldi, Dave Mason, and Chris Wood to form the band Traffic in 1967. Although Traffic emerged during the heyday of psychedelic rock, the four man combo incorporated unusual instrumentation, improvisation, and elements of jazz. A creative but stormy relationship ended with Mason eventually leaving and the remaining members disbanding in 1969 before making any further records. For a time Winwood joined the super group Blind Faith before enlisting the aid of Capaldi and Wood for a solo project - in due course that effort, John Barleycorn Must Die, was issued as a Traffic reunion cd. An expanded line up appeared on the follow up in The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys released in 1971. Supplementing the sound of the core Traffic trio were Jim Gordon, Rick Grech, and Rebop Kwaku Baah; the latter two passed in 1990 and 1983 respectively. From that effort we present a 12-minute anthem of the era in the kaleidoscopic title track!

CD: The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (1971)
Label: Island
Deodato - Summer Samba: Eumir Deodato plays Marcos Valle
Os Grilos (Crickets Sing For Anamaria) - Deodato :
Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Eumir Deodato was musically self-taught. He learned quickly; he started on accordion when he was 12 and then moved on to piano - by 17 he had taken part in his first record session while also developing his skills as an arranger. Playing Rio's Bossa Nova scene, in the late 50s and early 60s, he worked with many of Brazil's finest - including Marcos Valle. With Valle as the composer and with Deodato playing various keys and arranging, they formed a creative tour de force! Deodato's credentials were already well established when he relocated to the US in 1967 during the military dictatorship in his country and it's there that his career sky-rocketed. He wrote for Frank Sinatra, Roberta Flack and many others but his best known project was Prelude his initial US release in 1973 that contained a funky arrangement of Also Sprach Zarathustra the Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey for which he won a Grammy. Since that time, Deodato has been much in demand as a producer and arranger - he's worked on over 500 albums with 15 of them reaching platinum status. This time we return to a period early in his career. From the compilation Summer Samba: Eumir Deodato plays Marcos Valle we had the tune Crickets Sing For Anamaria first issued way back in 1965!

LP: Ataque (1965)
CD: Summer Samba: Eumir Deodato plays Marcos Valle (2002)

Label: Irma Casa Di Primord

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Site and Select Affiliates :
This Hour Has 14 Days: … on tap for this edition are 14 tracks - each has a day of the week in its title on a feature called, This Hour Has 14 Days. For some reason, the week days don't seem to be quite as well represented as the weekend - so over half the show is devoted to just those two days alone. Artists appearing include: Everette Harp, The Rippingtons, Tim Bowman, Steve Cole, David Wells, Patrick Yandall, Joe McBride, & Jay Soto as well as 6 others! Playlist for Ed#584

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