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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob James Trio: Expresso

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Bob James wrote “Angela," the theme song to the popular late-1970s/early 1980s television show, Taxi, a feather in the cap that introduced his sound to millions of listeners who might not ever slip a jazz CD into the stereo. For those with an ear and a love of jazz, he is probably most familiar for his work with the group Fourplay and saxophonist David Sanborn, along with a three record, mid-1970s stint with Creed Taylor's CTI Recordings, and three Grammy ...

INTERVIEWS

Bob James: Piano Player

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In a career that spans about five decades, Bob James has made an impact on a variety of musical genres. His roots are in jazz, but he has run the gamut from playing avant-garde jazz on the outer fringes--which he was doing when discovered by Quincy Jones--to composing and arranging for a variety of people in the jazz and pop worlds. He did extensive work for the well known CTI Records and has won Grammys recording with the ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bob James Trio at Nighttown

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Bob James Trio Nighttown Cleveland, Ohio June 22, 2018 Although we keep hearing all the time that by sheer numbers the jazz audience is a small and select crowd, the fact remains that select musicians have crafted the type of following that guarantees crowd interest in all their latest endeavors. This type of pedigree has followed Bob James for many decades now and no doubt Cleveland's Nighttown was betting on the pianist's drawing power when ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note

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Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker Blue Note New York, NY August 16, 2017 As part of a week-long residency at the Blue Note, legendary keyboardist-composer Bob James broke sonic bread with up-and-coming bassist Michael Palazzolo and faithful drummer Billy Kilson. The result of this communion was a head-nodding dive into one of jazz's most hallowed oeuvres. As was clear throughout this performance, central to the bandleader's commercial success--not counting the many times his ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bob James & David Sanborn: San Francisco, June 17, 2013

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Bob James & David Sanborn QuartetSF Jazz Center2013 San Francisco Jazz FestivalSan Francisco, CAJune 17, 2013Now in its 31st year, the San Francisco Jazz Festival has a new home, thanks to the updated digs now available via the SF Jazz Center which opened back in January. Over the course of the festival's 12-day run there would be performances by John Scofield, Gerald Clayton, Gregoire Maret, Kendrick Scott, and the reunion of Bob James ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob James & David Sanborn: Quartette Humaine

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It's much easier to take Quartette Humaine at face value as an organic-and-acoustic outing between two high profile figures known for blurring the pop-jazz line than it is to take it under its marketed premise: a tribute to the famed partnership between pianist Dave Brubeck and saxophonist Paul Desmond. While pianist Bob James and saxophonist David Sanborn recorded this album a mere week after Brubeck's passing in December of 2012, the album isn't haunted by that legend's musical ghost(s); James, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob James / Keiko Matsui: Altair & Vega

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In a culture inundated with movies that go unseen, books that go unread and music that goes unheard, it's easy for worthy art to slip through the cracks. That was the sad and undeserved fate of the 2011 Bob James and Keiko Matsui four-hand piano collaboration, Altair & Vega. Solo recordings are a standard for jazz pianists, and James' and Matsui's training and love of classical music are familiar to their fans, but two musicians playing one piano at the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob James: Angels of Shanghai

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Albums by Bob James come in two flavors. One is polished, professional and predominantly safe smooth jazz featured on most of solo output and all of his collaborations with the “supergroup," Fourplay. This is where James has established his reputation as one of the more reliably radio-friendly musicians in the business.The other side which is consistently more interesting, is his more creative outings which he demonstrates through his straight-ahead trios, Straight Up (Warner Bros., 1995) and ...

INTERVIEWS

Bob James: Following His Heart

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If you've listened to contemporary jazz and its relatives over the last 30-plus years, chances are you've come across pianist Bob James. In fact, you don't have to be a jazz fan to have heard his music. He scored the soundtrack to the television series Taxi, including the hit theme song, “Angela. His career has placed him in the studio and on stage, as both a sideman and bandleader, alongside a virtual Who's Who of modern music. His companions have ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob James: Urban Flamingo

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Bob James has never decided whether he's a jazz musician or an R&B musician. He doesn't have to--he can be both, simultaneously, playing funky, infectious tunes that are melodic and groove hard. Urban Flamingo, his most recent effort, could be written off simply as “lifestyle music," or smooth jazz doomed to become background ambience at wine tastings and on weekend boat trips. But pay more attention to James' compositions and soloing and you'll find there is much more at work ...