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Just by looking at the cover of Ed James' new CD, Meet Ed James! , you should pretty much have a solid idea of the type of musical journey you are about to embark upon. Everything about the package: the type face, the layout, the title, just SCREAMS early 60's pop. It's obvious after listening to a couple of the tunes on this CD that Ed James' major influences were the following:
- The Beatles before they went to India
- The theme song to "Friends"
- The band from the Tom Hanks movie "That Thing You Do"
Meet Ed James! is a collection of 13 totally harmless, sickly sweet, good-to-their-mother pop songs - just the antidote for a warm spring day spent down at the corner five-and-dime sharing sodas with your best girl (or guy). Lots of major chords, lots of Beach Boy style harmonies, and lots of silly lyrics ("Green M&Ms - like mistletoe/But I don't need them when I'm with you") is what you'll get with this offering.
However, don't let it's simplicity get in the way of the fact that this is an excellent display of hook-laden pop songs. Ed James has a knack for hitting all the right notes and chords in all the right successions, always leading you as the listener exactly where it is you expect to go. And that makes all the more sense considering that Mr. James plays each and every instrument on the CD himself ensuring that he is in complete control of the sound from beginning to end. He is a virtuoso by no means, but his talents are certainly adequate to bring his songwriting ambitions to fruition.
So in the end, is Ed James someone worth meeting?> Well, he might not be as the cover says "America's Phenomenal Pop Sensation," but Ed James is as close to a "pure pop artist" as I've heard since Crowded House's hey days. Is Meet Ed James adventurous? No! It is good music to wash your car by? Absolutely!
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.