The R&B elements get stronger, the sound and mix are more attuned to the dancefloor, yet this brings out the best in George Benson's funky side. Thanks in part to the more rigid beat, Benson pares down his style to its rhythmic essentials, refusing to spray notes all over the place at random, and as a result, the record cooks and dances. His treatment of Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," hugely complemented by Joe Farrell's wistfully prancing flute, is a mini-masterpiece in the use of space, of hitting exactly the right stabbing note right in the pocket.
Whether he gets (enough) credit or not from jazz heads, guitarist George Benson certainly created the template for smooth jazz , with 1975's Good King Bad a perfect example of the style in its infant stages. Benson combines his classy, Wes Montgomery-inspired guitar style with funky material ("Hold On I'm Coming"), yearning balladry ("Cast Your Fate To the Wind"), plush arrangements, and, on one song, buttery vocals for a classic slice of easygoing jazz.
Joseph Kerman was a leading musicologist, music critic, and music educator from the 1950s to the 2000s. He reshaped our understanding and appreciation of Western classical music with his first book, Opera as Drama (1956), to his last, Opera and the Morbidity of Music (2008), including his studies on Bach, Beethoven, William Byrd, concertos, and more. He was a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, where he served two terms as chair of the Music Department. He wrote Listen together with his wife, Vivian Kerman.
An entry within Metro Doubles series, One, Two, Three & BJ4: The Legendary Albums is a two-CD set containing Bob James' first four albums, presented in chronological order. The set is a good way to pick up these four James' discs – not only is it a convenient, concise way to get the records, but they're presented well with good liner notes, including track-by-track commentary by Chris Ingham.
Over four days in December of 1979, pianist Bob James assembled three different bands to play (and record) at three legendary venues in New York City to showcase his own diversity as a composer, arranger, and bandleader. The Bottom Line, Town Hall, and Carnegie Hall, all offered different aspects of James' approach to jazz and popular music. The Bottom Line band is a smooth and funky sextet that includes saxophonists Wilbert Longmire and Mark Colby, James, drummer Idris Muhammad, bassist Gary King, and guitarist Hiram Bullock.
In an era where it's not uncommon for a superstar act to wait three or four years between releases, it's astonishing to realize that Carole King wrote and recorded a strong follow-up to 1971's bazillion-selling "Tapestry" that was released before the year was up! "Music" was a big commercial success, but anything would pale next to the ecstatic commercial response to "Tapestry", which was still high in the charts when this follow-up was released. The generically-titled "Music" didn't spawn any hits as big as "It's Too Late" or "So Far Away," but with several decades' hindsight, it's clear that "Tapestry" was no fluke; in its more low-key way, "Music" is every bit as fine an album…