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Double Vision Revisited: Bob James, David Sanborn, and Marcus Miller at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium

Read "Double Vision Revisited: Bob James, David Sanborn, and Marcus Miller at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Double Vision Revisited: Bob James, David Sanborn, and Marcus Miller Lakewood Civic Auditorium Lakewood, Ohio August 17, 2019 By the mid '80s, there started to be a major shift in the quality and focus of the music termed as jazz fusion. The genre had started in the late '60s with rockier strains popularized by groups like Tony Williams' Emergency and subsequently the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Eventually the rougher and more substantial strains of this style would ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bob James Trio: Expresso

Read "Expresso" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

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

Read "Bob James: Piano Player" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

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 ...

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Bob James Trio at Nighttown

Read "Bob James Trio at Nighttown" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

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

Read "Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note" reviewed by Tyran Grillo

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bob James & David Sanborn: Quartette Humaine

Read "Quartette Humaine" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

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, ...

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Bob James / Keiko Matsui: Altair & Vega

Read "Altair & Vega" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

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 ...

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Bob James: Angels of Shanghai

Read "Angels of Shanghai" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

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

Read "Bob James: Following His Heart" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

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 ...

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Bob James: Urban Flamingo

Read "Urban Flamingo" reviewed by Tracey Nolan

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bob James Trio: Take It From the Top

Read "Take It From the Top" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Bob James, one of the most popular jazz artists of all time, has over the course of the past 35 years elected to treat his older fans with an album of all acoustic songs from the Great American Songbook, tunes that are associated with jazz pianists who influenced him over the years. It seems that this happens about once every decade, or whenever Halley's Comet is expected.

The last occurence was in 1995 on Straight Up, with ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bob James: Playin' Hooky

Read "Playin' Hooky" reviewed by Douglas Payne

One can only hope that this title is a reference to a leave of absence from the dreadful Fourplay. Bob James does what he does best (and worst) on Playin' Hooky. There's good stuff here like the Bach-to-the-fusion of “Playing With Fire" (featuring Dave Samuels on vibes and Fareed Haque on guitar), nice acoustic piano work on two exceptionally good numbers ("Organza" and “Glass Hearts") and the Fender Rhodes maestro's return to the electric instrument on three undercooked pieces ("Mind ...


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