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Jazz In AZ Party Features Guitarist Bob Shimizu with New Hit CD

By Joel R. Goldenthal

Guitarist Bob Schimizu will perform at the monthly Jazz in AZ party on Sunday, Jan. 15. from 3-5 p.m. at Kazimierz World Wine Bar. The performance will feature tunes from Shimizu’s new CD, “First and Monroe,” which is receiving extensive airplay throughout the nation.

Shimizu’s band for the JiA party will feature the dynamic Gaines brothers, Lamar on keys and Will on bass, along with another exceptional musician, Buddy Banks on drums. Kazimierz World Wine Bar is located at 7137 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, 480-946-3004. Admission for the public is $15 (FREE if you join Jazz in AZ at the party). JiA member rates apply.

Bob Shimizu has played the guitar since the age of 12. He began his involvement with music through his fascination with the sound of the guitar. Shimizu studied with John Shacklett, an early contemporary of Wes Montgomery,Bob Shimizu - First & Monroe both in Madison, Wis., and later at Norfolk State College in Hampton, VA. Shimizu later performed in the University of Maryland Jazz Ensemble, where he majored in performance and composition.

After school, Shimizu was a founder of Come Out Swinging, an avant-garde jazz band in Washington, D.C. The band performed to critical acclaim at the Cellar Door, Blues Alley, The Wax Museum, One Step Down and Carter Barron Amphitheater.

In 2008, after a long sabbatical from performing, Shimizu decision to focus on music once again has yielded a remarkable ascent. "Years of playing at music coupled with a long break led to my decision to give my music an opportunity it never had before,” he explained “I asked myself ‘What would happen if I put all my resources into the endeavor?’ " Shimizu said.

This new beginning saw the birth of the band Signal Strength, and Shimizu’s first original and self-produced recording, "Cuchillero." The CD fared quite well on college radio, and achieved top-ten status in nearly 20 markets. Shimizu and the band performed at several Phoenix-area venues, including Voce and Skye, and at Raven in Prescott.

A meeting with Arizona-based club owner and jazz manager Mike Florio (Nelson Rangell, Joey DeFrancesco, Marion Meadows and others) led to more new ventures. Teaming with noted producer, Clarke Rigsby (Tower of Power, Jimmy Smith, Joey DeFrancesco) and Todd Chuba (Stevie Nicks, Glen Campbell, Annie Sellick), the three set a course to rework a book of original material and plan a contemporary jazz recording in which the musicians actually played live together in the session, rather than recording separate parts.

The result is Bob Shimizu's "First & Monroe", with 11 original compositions rooted in the jazz tradition that are influenced by a lifetime of the love of all great music. Appearing on the CD are pioneers of the genre including Eric Marienthal (saxophones), David Garfield (keyboards) and Lenny Castro (percussion), as well as the legendary Joey DeFrancesco (organ), young lion Dominick Farinacci (flugelhorn) and other talented players. The result is an "intersection" of memorable melodies, interesting harmonies and inspiring performances in a true fusion of jazz, Latin and pop.

More Info at jazzinaz.org