Bob James – Joy Ride (1999)

Bob James - Joy Ride (1999)
Artist: Bob James
Album: Joy Ride
Label: Warner
Year Of Release: 1999
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Tracklist:
01 – Take Me There
02 – Raise The Roof
03 – It’s All Right
04 – Swingset
05 – Joy Ride
06 – What’s Up
07 – Fly By
08 – The First Time
09 – Strollin
10 – Sweet Talk Me Now
11 – Trade Winds
12 – Bisso Baba

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Personnel:
Bob James – piano, keyboards
Richard Bona – vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, programming
Jonathan Butler – vocals, nylon string guitar
Rasheeda – vocals
Dave McMurray – soprano saxophone, keyboards, programming
Kim Waters – soprano & alto saxophones
Boney James – saxophone
Chris Botti – trumpet
Jerry Hey – flugelhorn
Dave Mann – flute
Chuck Loeb – keyboards, guitar, programming
Marcel East – keyboards, drums, percussion
Tim Heintz – keyboards
Michael Colina – synthesizer
Norman Brown – guitar
Lee Ritenour – guitar
Nick Moroch – guitar
Tony Maiden – guitar
Wayne Gerard – guitar
Michael Thompson – guitar
Nathan East – bass
Will Lee – bass
Billy Kilson – drums
Lenny Castro – percussion

This keyboardist was putting the “smooth” into “jazz” long before there was a format by that name. Since the mid-70s, Bob James has been one of instrumental music’s most consistent purveyors of tunes that hover in the gray area between lighthearted pop and more sophisticated jazz textures. James’ approach here is a little like his contribution to the supergroup Fourplay rather than dominate, he’s content to jam and be one of the guys. Though his solos stand out, it’s almost as if he’s a hired gun on a project featuring the best and brightest of this second generation of smooth jazzers. He’s farmed out the production tasks to some top studio guys (including musician/artists Paul Brown, Chuck Loeb, Michael Colina, and David McMurray. On the lively, shuffling “Take Me There,” he bounces around joyously over Loeb’s crisp guitar lines and Kim Waters’ smart mix of soprano and alto saxes. “Raise the Roof” features James jazzing it up as saxman Boney James (no relation) harmonizes with a soulfully simmering sax line. “Strollin'” finds Chris Botti’s trumpet strutting around like an overachieving jazz student eager to impress professor Miles Davis, while Jonathan Butler’s breezy acoustic touch spruces up the elegant funk of “Trade Winds” and “Bisso Baba.” A little touch of Fourplay is hard to miss too, as Harvey Mason checks in occasionally on drums, Nathan East plays bass on a few cuts, and former guitarist Lee Ritenour jams on the title track. – Jonathan Widran

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