Thursday, June 09, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bob James

Artist:Bob James
Song:Feel Like Makin' Love
Album:The Essential Collection: 24 Smooth Jazz Classics

Pianist Bob James started out as a producer and arranger and parlayed that into a successful solo career. It all started with the 1974 single Feel Like Makin' Love. James is one of the pioneers of Smooth Jazz. He was born Dec. 25, 1939 in Marshall, MO. He learned to play piano as a child and as a teen, he played local clubs. James studied in Berklee in Boston and frequently played gigs with his roommate sax player Nick Brignola. James was discovered by Quincy Jones of Mercury Records. This led to James recording the 1962 album Bold Conceptions and then James worked for Sarah Vaughan for several years. She was on Mercury at the time. Studio work got James a house arranging job at Creed Taylor's CTI Records. He worked a lot with Hubert Laws, Hank Crawford and especially Grover Washington Jr. who became very successful while recording with James in the early 70s. Then Taylor let James record as a leader with the 1974 album One. James' cover of the Roberta Flack hit Feel Like Makin' Love was a surprising hit single on the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts and it successfully launched James to a solo career. James left CTI for Columbia in 1975 and he started his own Tappan Zee label. James' most successful song in this period was his theme for the TV series Taxi called Angela. That and many of James' other recordings are on this 2CD comp from Metro Records. James had success recording with guitarist Earl Klugh in 1979. They won a Grammy for the album One On One. He began touring at this time and he still tours today. He also had success with the 80s group Fourplay. That group is also still around and they are currently on tour. James latest CD The New Cool is with Fourplay bassist Nathan East. It was released on East's current label Yamaha Sept. 2015. Today James' legacy is as one of the originators of Smooth Jazz. He certainly didn't know that when he was working on those Grover Washington Jr. records. Here's Bob James performing Feel Like Makin' Love at the 2010 Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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