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Bob James
Bob James and David Sanborn
David Sanborn

Bob James and David Sanborn
@ the Barbican Centre
16 November 2013

Click an image to enlarge.

A BIG thank you to David Sanborn, Bob James & Steve Gadd for their patience and professionalism with regards to photographing them during their soundcheck and main show!

Bob James biography

The career of Bob James is long, varied and continues to evolve at every turn. From his first days in Marshall, Missouri, the music of Bob James has captivated audiences throughout the world.

Discovered by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963, James recorded his first solo album, “Bold Conceptions,” that year for Mercury Records. 58 albums and innumerable awards would follow through five decades. He honed his skills working with Creed Taylor, working on albums for artists like Hank Crawford, Grover Washington, Jr, among others. While with CTI, James found great popular success overseeing significant hits for Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, Maynard Ferguson, and Kenny Loggins.

In 1974, James finally recorded his own album, “One,” which launched a lifelong career of recording and performing live. After three more albums, James began his own label, Tappan Zee Records. This allowed James to spend more time in the studio, focusing on his own creative works. It was during this time that he recorded his own gold seller, “Touchdown,” which included his composition, “Angela”, the instrumental theme from the sitcom ‘Taxi’, and possibly James’ best know work. Bob composed all the original music used in that television series for its entire run. “One On One,” the first in three collaborations with Earl Klugh, was awarded a Grammy in 1980 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and has sold over a million copies. During this time, James set the standard for the smooth jazz sound in the late 1970s.

A different aspect of the musical talent of Bob James was demonstrated on his three classical albums recorded for the CBS Masterworks division, the first of which was Rameau released in 1984, and followed by ‘The Scarlatti Dialogues’ & Bach keyboard concertos with the Pekinel Sisters.

In 1985 James moved to Warner Bros Records, and kicked things off with “Double Vision,” a collaboration with David Sanborn, and produced by Tommy LiPuma. “Double Vision” was another Grammy winner, selling over a million albums.

While recording his album, “Grand Piano Canyon,” in 1990, James reunited with longtime friend, drummer Harvey Mason, Jr. It would also be the first time James would work with guitarist Lee Ritenour, and bassist Nathan East. This would be the start of something beautiful, as these early sessions ignited a spark which would engulf the Jazz world as Fourplay. Fourplay’s first album was recorded and released in 1991. The Group would collaborate on a total of three albums, until 1998 when Ritenour left the group, and Larry Carlton took over. This version of Fourplay continued the group’s huge success for seven more albums. After 12 years, Carlton decided to delve further into his solo career, and the band brought in guitarist Chuck Loeb in 2010.

A personal and professional highlight was the collaboration with his daughter, Hilary, on their “Flesh & Blood” album, which toured 15 U.S. cities. James continued collaborating on separate projects with Earl Klugh, “Cool” and Kirk Whalum “Joined At the Hip.” Both albums

were nominated for Grammys. His solo career continued throughout the 90's, culminating with Joy Ride in 1999, and another Grammy nomination.
In 2001, Dancing On the Water, was released, once again showcasing James’ creative versatility. The album includes performances with Keiko Matsui, Joe Sample, Dave Holland, and Chuck Loeb. Fourplay released Heartfelt in 2002, and spent much of the year touring across the globe. That same year, James released Morning, Noon, & Night, whose title track went to #1 in Contemporary Jazz Radio.

While appearing at New York’s Blue Note, in February of 2003, James went into the Hit Factory with Billy Kilson, James Genus, and Ken Freeman on the board. The result was “Take It From the Top,” a tribute to pianists who inspired James; Ahmad Jamal, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and Oscar Peterson, among others.

The very next year James was at it again, with Fourplay releasing “Journey” in 2004. Fourplay toured most of the year, culminating with a trip to South Africa in November of 2005 and a final tour stop in Bangkok, Thailand in December. This event featured the world premiere live performance of James’ “The Angels of Shanghai.” This project encompassed several months in the Far East collaborating with students from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, who played ancient Chinese instruments, as well as James Genus, Nathan East, and Harvey Mason. This project finally toured the U.S. in 2007, and culminated with a performance later in the year at the prestigious Seongnam Art Center in Seoul, Korea, where James was also invited to have a solo exhibit of his art in conjunction with the performance.

James stayed busy in 2006, releasing “Urban Flamingo” in February, and on April 7, was awarded the George Benson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. Summer saw the release of Fourplay’s tenth record, appropriately called “X.” This tour literally took James around the world again with stops in Spain, London, California, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuala Lumpur, and Indonesia.
In 2008, James released a Christmas album with Hilary James, and another Fourplay album “Energy.” “Energy” featured Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, and another Grammy nomination with the first single, “Fortune Teller.” The year ended on a high note with James and close friend, the Tony award winning Broadway director Jack O’Brien, receiving the International Achievement Award by the state of Michigan.

Bob James has maintained a commitment to sophisticated production and arrangements, while stretching out in different and new directions. This culminated with another busy year in 2009 with the release of “The Very Best of Bob James.” Not stopping there, James also released “Botero,” a collaboration with Jack Lee, composed music for the Broadway play

‘Impressionism’, and recorded “Across the Groove,” collaboration with Japanese sax player Masato Honda, all in the same year. This again led James touring across Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

2010 saw the twelfth Fourplay album released, “Let’s Touch the Sky,” which led to another world tour, culminating with an unforgettable collaboration with the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo in December. This premiered new orchestral pieces arranged specifically for this concert, and was Fourplay’s first performance with a symphony orchestra. Fourplay was voted Best Group of the Year at the American Smooth Jazz Awards to wrap up a busy 2010.

And in 2011, James jumped at the opportunity to work on Jazz for Japan, a benefit album to aid the recovery of Japan after the devastating natural disasters in early 2011. Fourplay continued heavy touring in the far east, with James headlining a special benefit concert in the Iwate prefecture of Japan raising funds to aid with their recovery.

Bob James David Sanborn & Band

Bob James David Sanborn & Band Steve Gadd

Bob James David Sanborn & Band

Bob James David Sanborn & Band Bob James David Sanborn & Band

Bob James

David Sanborn

David Sanborn

David Sanborn

David Sanborn

David Sanborn

Bob James and David Sanborn

Bob James and David Sanborn

Bob James and David Sanborn

Steve Gadd and David Sanborn

Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd



Bob James - Touchdown Bob James - Obsession Bob James - One, Two, Three & BJ4 Bob James- Heads
Bob James - joy ride Bob James and Earl Klugh - One on One Bob James - Grand Piano Canyon Fourplay - Fourplay
Fourplay - Between The Sheets Fourplay - yes, please! Fourplay- Elixir Fourplay - X
Fourplay - Let's Touch The Sky Fourplay - Journey Fourplay - Heartfelt Fourplay - Esprit De Four
Fourplay - Energy Fourplay - 4 Bob James  / David Sanborn - Double Vision David Sanborn - Closer
David Sanborn - Straight To The Heart David Sanborn - Voyeur David Sanborn - Hideaway David Sanborn - David Sanborn



Click Bob James' image below to see him @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 2019,
or, Steve Gadd's image below to see him with Blicher Hemmer Gadd, 2016
Click Bob James' image below to see him with Fourplay,
Click David Sanborn's image below to see more photographs & read his biography...

Bob James @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club (click to go to his page) Steve Gadd with Blicher Hemmer Gadd, 2016 (click to go to this page) Bob James with Fourplay (click to go to this page) David Sanborn (click to go to his page)

Go back to the London Jazz Festival 2013 home page.

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