Have you ever gone on a wild goose chase to get an album that's hard to find but you don't know why because it's so good? That's what I had to do to own Take it from the Top by the Bob James Trio. How I heard it in the first place was by browsing the shelves at my Denver Public Library branch.
One day, I had decided to discover new music by pulling CDs at random from our jazz shelves to check out, starting with the A's. The first major stand-out I came across was Take it from the Top (2004). In hindsight, I'm rather proud that we have it. Although the group is named after Bob James the pianist, James Genus (bass) and Billy Kilson (drums) make it what it is for me. It's difficult to surpass the crisp sound of a trio consisting of these three instruments.
Described often as a return to straight-ahead jazz for Bob James, whose typical work was known as pop-crossover jazz, the album features compositions by Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, and many more. Something special is then added to the mix, perhaps drawing from that crossover experience. Not just pleasant background coffee shop jazz, but neither too busy or avant garde, it's just right, and fun to listen to. So check it out from the library!
If you like that jazz trio sound, browse through this set in our library catalog for more.
Here are some of Bob James' other works, including a brand new one:
-Straight Up (1996)
-Bold Conceptions (1998)
-Altair and Vega (2011, with Keiko Matsui)
-Quartette Humaine (2013, with David Sanborn)