Canada has not been kind to creative artists in general and black artists in particular. Consider the fact that Rick James, Claudja Barry, Eric Mercury and Gino Vanelli all had to leave before the international spotlight shone on them.
Demo Cates’s second solo album Memories and Moments should reverse this situation. The obvious questions is who is Demo Cates and what’s so special about his album Memories and Moments?
Demo wears many hats as a producer, arranger, songwriter, musician and vocalist. He hails from Detroit, a city that he credits for giving him his awareness of a wide spectrum of music. Today he resides in Canada.
His roots are based in Jazz, which can be traced to when his mother gave him a saxophone at age 10. He grew up listening to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Joe Henderson and Eddie Harris. He plays alto, tenor and soprano saxophones as well as the flute.
Demo was an intricate part of the Counts, local legends in Detroit for 12 years and he credits them with drawing him closer to gospel and rhythm ’n’ blues. But, he’s quick to point out, he drew them into jazz. “It was a good marriage,” says Demo.
As a vocalist, Demo’s style can simply be called “smooth”. His vocal influences include Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Lou Rawls.
Demo’s talents have been recognized by some of the giants of black music. In 1974 he was offered a job with Miles Davis. He received a call from his friend Michael Henderson, who has playing bass with Davis at the time. Henderson said “Ya man, Miles heard you on tape and he wants you to come to go to Brazil with us”.
Demo declined because he was going through some changes in his life and didn’t want to deal with the touring end of the business and wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue in music period. Lucky for lovers of good music he didn’t drop out of the business.
Memories and Moments is a potpourri of sophisticated funk, Latin, jazz fusion and easy listening. It showcases Demo’s versatility as a vocalist, musician, songwriter, arranger and producer.
Demo is in the vanguard of helping to shape the sound of Toronto. Memories and Moments bring together people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Says Demo,“I feel that Toronto can develop into quite a musical capital of the North. All the elements are here for a fusion of West Indian, American black music and Canadian music both black and white. There is a new sound coming out of Toronto that is a fusion type of sound.”
Demo wants his music to reach every corner of the earth. “I try to write and arrange my music so it will have an international appeal. Because I love Latin, it will have a Latin feel to it. It will have some rawness from the funk side and of course it’s going to have some jazz, because that’s what comes out of me,” says Demo.
Note: The above posted track is not played in full