Jazz....nice! It is a genre that has been given a kicking by most mainstream critics alike over the years but it is also the most common source of samples and snippets for Hip-Hop luminaries from Grandmaster Flash to Kanye West. One of the forerunners of Jazz Fusion is Bob James and finally a respectful label, Salvo, gives props to a man who has been milked more than a Cravendale cow. Other recent releases by this label include The Undertones, ZTT label and the celebrated Stiff Label box set, a masterpiece frankly.
James started out as an avant-garde producer, recording ESP in 1965 - this was an album of electronic effects and tapes manipulated with a welter of keyboards in tow by the Reverend James. Liaisons with Earl Klugh, Sarah Vaughan, Milt Jackson and David Sanborn followed before the Hip-Hop genre sprung from the districts of New York during the mid-70s. One man who certainly paid hommage to James in the early days of Rap was Grandmaster Flash - he filched the break on "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" and set a precedent. "Westchester Lady" was snipped by Adam F for his massive drum n bass plate "Circles" but it was "Mardi Gras" that was previously used on tracks by LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and Run DMC that had set the standard. Another classic of his, "Nautilus", was also borrowed by Jeru The Damaja, Eric B & Rakim and Ghostface Killah.
But his most charming and memorable piece is a simple little tune chosen for the highly-viewed US comedy serial called 'Taxi' starring Danny Devito, Judd Hirsch and Andy Kaufman. Piped to millions of homes and a winner of a barrel of Emmys, 'Taxi' was a step aside from the usual bland stream of comedy in the 70's and gave James a spotlight onto his subtle, stirring and pretty music. The tune was actually called "Angela" and became a stalwart for early evening TV playlists for a further decade before the series ended.
Check out the tracklisting below...Salvo have culled important cuts from his 30 year career and left no stone unturned with an essential 32 page booklet also being included. Release date is April 13th.