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
, 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, he joined pianist Keiko Matsui
for Altair & Vega. Two years later, he delivered his second collaboration with saxophonist David Sanborn
, 2013's Quartette Humaine. In 2015, James paired with bassist Nathan East on the laid-back studio-session, The New Cool. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi