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Bob James

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Bob James - Touchdown [Tappan Zee JC 35594] (1978)

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ITEM# SR-TAJC35594
Ratings: C=NM-; LP=NM-

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Artist:

Bob James

Title:

Touchdown

Released: 1978
Label: Tappan Zee
Catalog: JC 35594
Genre: Smooth Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Angela (Theme From ''Taxi'')
02 Touchdown
03 I Want To Thank You (Very Much)
04 Sun Runner
05 Caribbean Nights
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Album Review

Thom Jurek [allmusic.com]

Bob James' most enduring recording is perhaps one of his least adventurous. Full of simple laid-back melodies, light, airy grooves, and quiet backdrops, it's a smooth jazz "masterpiece." It's an enduring part of his catalog and was the launch pad for many movie and television projects, and for a string of hit recordings for the Warner label in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. In effect, it insured his financial security for the future. The set is notable for its heavyweight cast including David Sanborn, Ron Carter, Idris Muhammad, Steve Gadd, Eric Gale, Hubert Laws, and Earl Klugh. It also netted the monster hit "Angela (Theme from Taxi)," which continued to get airplay on smooth jazz stations into the 21st century. James is a highly developed pianist, arranger, and composer, and while the music here is as safe as milk, it nonetheless spoke to millions.


Bob James - All Around The Town [Columbia Tappan Zee G2X 36786] (1981)

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ITEM# SR-COG2X36786
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=NM-

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Artist:

Bob James

Title:

All Around The Town

Released: 1981
Label: Columbia Tappan Zee
Catalog: G2X 36786
Genre: Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Touch Down
02 Stompin' at the Savoy
03 Angela (Theme from Taxi)
04 We're All Alone
05 Farandole (Le'arlesienn Suite #2)
06 Westchester Lady
07 The Golden Apple
08 Kari
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Album Review

Features: Joanne Brackeen, Tom Browne, Hiram Bullock, Mark Colby, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Billy Hart, Gary King, Earl Klugh, Mike Lawrence, Wilbert Longmire, Tom Scott and others.

Thom Jurek [allmusic.com]

Over four days in December of 1979, pianist Bob James assembled three different bands to play (and record) at three legendary venues in New York City to showcase his own diversity as a composer, arranger, and bandleader. The Bottom Line, Town Hall, and Carnegie Hall, all offered different aspects of James' approach to jazz and popular music. The Bottom Line band is a smooth and funky sextet that includes saxophonists Wilbert Longmire and Mark Colby, James, drummer Idris Muhammad, bassist Gary King, and guitarist Hiram Bullock. The Town Hall gigs featured a larger band that included three pianists: James, Joanne Brackeen, and Richard Tee, as well as drummers Billy Hart and Steve Gadd and bassist Eddie Gomez. Finally the Carnegie Hall show featured a yet larger orchestra that included Tom Scott, Earl Klugh, and Bullock on guitars, Muhammad, King, Tom Browne, Jim Pugh, and Dave Taylor, and more.

Musically, the original double LP (whose format had been retained for the CD presentation) ranges from the more popular contemporary jazz of the period such as "Angela (Theme from Taxi)," and "Touchdown," jazz and classical standards (including Benny Goodman's "Stompin' at the Savoy," and Georges Bizet's "Farandole (L'Arlisienn Suite #2),") and even pop hits such as Boz Scaggs "We're All Alone." The Bottom Line material only includes two performances --the aforementioned "Angela" and "Westchester Ladies." Separated by the two discs, and sequenced to reflect dynamic and aesthetic differences, they are righteously intimate and groovy and truly reflect their environment. The Carnegie Hall cuts are the most satisfying because of James' killer charts. The nearly 12-minute Scaggs' tune goes into a wild interlude that distills everything form pop balladry to jazz-funk to big-band wail. Elsewhere, the reading of James' "Kari," that closes disc two reveals just how intimate a larger group can be with a lovely showcase for Klugh and Bullock's collective sense of counterpoint, even as the piece moves and shimmers with a lithe Caribbean-influenced rhythm. The highlight from the Town Hall gigs is James' stellar "The Golden Apple," that clocks in at over ten minutes. The three pianists really get to interact here in the various modes at work in the core of the tune. While it's true that some of James recordings sound dated because of production, All Around the Town sounds as fresh in the 21st century as it did when it was issued. It serves as a great primer for the post-CTI/Columbia James.


Bob James - Sign Of The Times [Columbia / Tappan Zee FC 37495] (1981)

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ITEM# SR-TAFC37495
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Artist:

Bob James

Title:

Sign Of The Times

Released: 1981
Label: Columbia / Tappan Zee
Catalog: FC 37495
Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul


Matrix / Runout (Side A):
AL-37495-1H COLUMBIA NY

Matrix / Runout (Side B):
BL-37495-1J COLUMBIA NY
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Hypnotique
02 The Steamin' Feelin'
03 Enchanted Forest
04 Unicorn
05 Sign Of The Times
06 Love Power
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Album Review

Bob "Taxi" James meets Rod "Boogie Nights" Temperton and the results are splendid, to say the least--generally, it's hard to find a bad Bob James album, anyway you cut it. This underrated album joins the then (1980-81) steamin' composer Temperton with mellow keyboard innovator for some pure music. Great background vocal work by the likes of Vandross, Austin, Val Simpson among many--I'm still trying to decipher their vocal impressionisms on the track "Hypnotique". The title track is not the "Sign of the Times" made by that Roger Nelson guy, but nevermind that. This is smooth jazz with a funky undertone (bass by Miller on some tracks?) [amazon.com]


Bob James - Hands Down [Columbia / Tappan Zee FC 38067] (1982)

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ITEM# SR-TAFC38067
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Bob James

Title:

Hands Down

Released: 1982
Label: Columbia / Tappan Zee
Catalog: FC 38067
Genre: Jazz


Matrix / Runout (Side A):
AL 38067-1D COLUMBIA NY

Matrix / Runout (Side B):
BL 38067-1D COLUMBIA NY
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Spunky
02 Macumba
03 Shamboozie
04 Janus
05 Roberta
06 It's Only Me
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Album Review

Hands Down is the eleventh album by Bob James (10th studio album as reflected by the title and cover), released in 1982. This was a turning point in James career, with the tracks ''It's Only Me'' and ''Spunky'' being early exponents of electronic jazz at a time electronica was transforming popular music in reaction to the big orchestrations of the late 1970s (prevalent on James' previous works). The minimalist tastes of the era were also reflected in ''Roberta'', which mostly featured James in a piano solo. [wikipedia.org]


Bob James / David Sanborn - Double Vision [Warner Bros 25393-1] (1986)

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ITEM# SR-WA253931
Ratings: C=NM-; LP=NM-

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Artist:

Bob James / David Sanborn

Title:

Double Vision

Released: 1986
Label: Warner Bros
Catalog: 25393-1
Genre: Smooth Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Maputo
02 More Than Friends
03 Moon Tune
04 Since I Fell For You
05 It's You
06 Never Enough
07 You Don't Know Me
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Album Review

Scott Yanow [allmusic.com]

This combination works quite well. Poppish keyboardist/arranger Bob James joins with electric bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Steve Gadd, guitarist Paul Jackson, percussionist Paulinho da Costa, and (on two songs) guitarist Eric Gale to accompany the distinctive and always soulful altoist David Sanborn. Sanborn caresses the strong melodies, mostly originals by James and Miller, and plays well with guest vocalist Al Jarreau on "Since I Fell for You." One of the best recordings ever released under James' name (Sanborn gets co-billing) and a big seller.

Bob James' Biography

Scott Yanow [allmusic.com]

Bob James' recordings have practically defined pop/jazz and crossover during the past few decades. Very influenced by pop and movie music, James has often featured R&B-ish soloists (most notably Grover Washington, Jr.) who add a jazz touch to what is essentially an instrumental pop set. He actually started out in music going in a much different direction. In 1962, James recorded a bop-ish trio set for Mercury, and three years later his album for ESP was quite avant-garde, with electronic tapes used for effects. After a period with Sarah Vaughan (1965-1968), he became a studio musician, and by 1973 was arranging and working as a producer for CTI. In 1974, James recorded his first purely commercial effort as a leader; he later made big-selling albums for his own Tappan Zee label, Columbia, and Warner Bros., including collaborations with Earl Klugh and David Sanborn. James remains relatively busy in the studio and since 2000 has released several albums including Dancing on the Water in 2001, That Steamin' Feelin' in 2002, Hi-Fi in 2003, and Urban Flamingo in 2006, among others. In 2011, James paired with pianist Keiko Matsui for Altair & Vega. Two years later, he delivered his second collaboration with saxophonist David Sanborn, 2013's Quartette Humaine.
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