Tribute Album to Great Pianists Recorded at New York's Hit Factory
LOS ANGELES -- Those who have followed his career from the early years know that Grammy Award winning musician/composer and arranger Bob James' first work and records were trio projects. And, with his new release on KOCH Entertainment, Take It From The Top, James takes us back to his roots with a personal recording in tribute to the great pianists who were so influential in his career. Take It From The Top features friends and musical collaborators Billy Kilson on drums and James Genus on bass and was produced by James with Ken Freeman at the board in February of 2003 at the Hit Factory in New York.
For Take It From The Top, James has chosen personal favorite standards by Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal and others, as well as the music of Duke Ellington, Mal Waldron, John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet and Nat King Cole. Many do not know that Cole was a songwriter and is represented here by his composition Straighten Up & Fly Right." Bob felt he could not do a tribute album without including Glenn Gould, but even Bob was too humble to try to play any of his greats. Therefore he came up with a creative alternative. As it turns out, Gould was a huge fan of Petula Clark. Therefore, Bob decided to include his own arrangement of her hit Downtown."
Bob, Billy and James have literally traveled the world together, playing many of the traditional festivals including North Sea, Montreux and Nice. Their performance at the Ocean Blue Festival in Japan in 2000 stopped the show and was recorded by NHK. Their most recent performances in November 2003 took them to London's Jazz Cafe where they performed live for the first time the tracks from this exciting recording.
Drummer Billy Kilson who is currently focusing on his solo career with plans for a second CD and tour with his own group, has also worked with such artists as Dave Holland, Larry Carlton, George Duke and Dianne Reeves. Bassist James Genus, a regular band member on the hit television show Saturday Night Live, has toured with such artists as the Brecker Brothers, Branford Marsalis, Nat Adderly, Bob Berg and David Sanborn.
From his first days of piano recital in Marshall, Missouri, to his own trio while at the University of Michigan to New York City and beyond, the music of Bob James has captivated audiences throughout the world. After being discovered by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963, Bob recorded his first solo album for Mercury Records. Twenty-five more solo recordings would follow, not including his award winning collaborations with such artists as Earl Klugh, David Sandborn, and as a founding member of the top contemporary jazz group Fourplay; as well as his famed theme for the hit television series Taxi, for which he scored all the music.
So from an idea for a tribute to the piano greats who have inspired him, comes the latest Bob James CD. He's worked with many of the top musicians in the business and has had great success with his collaborations and as a solo artist, but here he returns to his first creative form, the trio. Take It From the Top takes it from the best of Bob -- his creative arranging and his outstanding piano playing!