Bob James,
The Essential Collection:
24 Smooth Jazz Classics

(Tappan Zee, 2005)

For more than four decades, Grammy-winning jazz pianist Bob James has been making his particular style of smooth jazz. The culmination of that career has been put on display in a two-disc set, The Essential Collection: 24 Smooth Jazz Classics.

The Missouri native was discovered by producer and record executive Quincy Jones in 1963.

The first disc opens with a piece not normally associated with jazz. James puts his unique musical style on Mussorgsky's classically atmospheric piece "Night on Bald Mountain." It isn't until the second disc that we hear James' signature piece, "Angela," which introduced him to the entire world when it was chosen as the theme song for the popular TV show Taxi. In fact, all of the music used on that show was written by James.

The Essential Collection is more than two hours of smooth jazz for focused listening, chilling out or using as background music while working. It's a collection well worth the listen for any jazz fan and especially Bob James fans.

by Sherrill Fulghum
7 October 2006

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