Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bob James - One

Bob James's first recording for his Tappan Zee label, which has been reissued on CD along with virtually James' entire output by Warner Bros., is typically lightweight. Although Grover Washington, Jr. has two spots on soprano and trumpeter Jon Faddis is in the brass section, James' dated Fender Rhodes keyboard is the lead voice throughout the six pieces, which include two adaptations of classical works. Only a lightly funky version of "Feel Like Making Love" rises above the level of pleasant background music. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Bob James had already had records out (in a standard acoustic jazz format) many years before this came out but for all intents and purposes this is the beginning of the Bob James solo career most people will remember. James had a nice little nitche for himself producing and arranging albums during the early 70's on CTI with everyone from Freddie Hubbard to Grover Washington Jr and it only seemed a matter of time before he branched out and began making records of his own. In fact many of these people among them Grover himself,Idris Mohammad and Thad Jones all return the favor by being happily active participants on this album. This album has some of the hallmarks of James' sound of this era such as strong string arrangements and his understated way on the fender rhodes. On the other hand no one is going to mistaken this album for Lucky Seven for example. At this particular point in his career Bob James was operating during the earlier years of the 70's jazz-funk era and therefore was making music that was a lot more eclectic and broad in scope in terms of arrangements than one might normally associate with him. This would gradually diminish as the decade wore on but when this and his next few albums came out in the mid 70's would embrace that style to a pretty big extent. "Valley Of The Shadows" gets the album off to a great start with a 9 minute song called "Valley Of The Shadows"-a very discordant,minor chorded and somewhat avante garde type of groove where Bob's gift for traditional melody doesn't show up until the conclusion of the songs. "In The Garden" is a traditional arrangement that has a unique sounding mixture of jazz-funk fusion with a country slide guitar sound. Two more originals in "Soulero","Nautilus" and a version of "Feel Like Making Love" are getting a little more into standard Bob James style and even these songs have longer improvisational solos than one might expect. Another major highlite is of course "Night On Bald Mountain" which transforms the Moussorgsky classic into this funky groove with some really deep beats,similar in tone but somewhat more dramatic than what Deodato had famously done to the "Theme From 2001". Taken as a whole I rank this album in the same general arena as Head Hunters or Bitches Brew in terms of it's place in innovating a certain variety of jazz-funk and it's pretty likely this album is somewhat overlooked,as are many such recordings in the same arena. - by Andre S. Grindle,

Artist: Bob James
Album: One
Year: 1974
Label: Tappan Zee (1996)
Runtime: 33:49

1.  Valley Of The Shadows (Bob James) 9:42
2.  In The Garden (Pachelbel)  3:06
3.  Soulero (Bob James) 3:22
4.  Night On Bald Mountain (Modest Moussourgsky) 5:51
5.  Feel Like Making Love (Gene McGaniels) 6:40
6.  Nautilus (Bob James) 5:08

Bob James (Keyboards)
Gary King (Bass)
Steve Gadd (Drums) - 1-4
Romeo Penque (Alto Flute)
Ralph MacDonald (Percussion)
George Marge (Alto Flute) 
Wayne Andre (Trombone)
Alan Raph (Bass Trombone)
Jack Gale (Bass Trombone)
Paul Faulise (Bass Trombone)
Alan Rubin (Trumpet)
Lew Soloff (Trumpet)
Marvin Stamm (Trumpet)
Victor Paz (Trumpet)
Jon Faddis (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
Thad Jones (Trumpet, Flugelhorn)
David Friedman (Vibraphone)
Idris Muhammad (Drums) - 5,6
Grover Washington, Jr. (Soprano Saxophone) - 1,3
Eric Weissberg (Pedal Steel Guitar) - 2
Hugh McCracken (Harmonica) - 1
Charles Libove (Violin)
David Nadien (Violin)
Emanuel Green (Violin)
Gene Orloff (Violin)
Harold Kohon (Violin)
Harry Lookofsky (Violin)
Joe Malin (Violin)
Max Ellen (Violin)
Paul Gershman (Violin)
Alan Shulman (Cello)
Anthony Sophos (Cello)
Charles McCracken (Cello)
George Ricci (Cello)
Jesse Levy (Cello)
Seymour Barab (Cello)


  1. I'm Happy to see you again. Thanks A Lot!!!

  2. Lost my copy of this, this time I will back it up immediately. Thanks



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