Thursday, September 03, 2015

Bob James & Nathan East making jazz "Cool" again #jazz

The New Cool ( ) is coming. Labor Day Weekend is upon us and shortly after - September 18 to be exact - Yamaha Entertainment Group will release the first duets collection by Grammy winners Bob James and Nathan East. An intimate acoustic jazz set of piano and bass banter from the jazz legend and master musician, iTunes pre-orders for “The New Cool” are surging while the 10-part series of behind-the-scenes vignettes about the making of this extraordinary recording whets the appetite of sophisticated listeners by the thousands. Produced by James, East and Yamaha Entertainment Group president Chris Gero, this masters’ class is in session boasting a syllabus of original compositions written specifically for this project and a few handpicked classics. With a straight-ahead lean while adventurously exploring all corners of the jazz playground, it’s unlike anything the highly-accomplished duo has ever recorded in their lengthy careers. 
When listening to “The New Cool,” which is already generating robust critical affirmation in advance of the release date along with major coverage slated to run in national media in the coming months, there are a few things that immediately stand out. Although the two men comprise half of the contemporary jazz super band Fourplay, this record is a radical departure. Sparse instrumentation dominates the proceedings, maintaining the focus on the agile performances and the technical brilliance of the musicians as they wax and wane melodically, informed with the comfort, familiarity and trust inherent in over 25 years of collaboration and friendship. Behold James’s spry finesse with the imaginative arrangements. Several fully-orchestrated tracks - “All Will Be Revealed,” “Crazy” highlighted by a stunning vocal from country superstar Vince Gill, and “Waltz For Judy” - which are illumined by the Nashville Recording Orchestra conducted by James, are grand - stately in stature; lavish, sweeping and dramatic; and exquisitely realized. Two explosive tunes –“Canto Y La Danza” and “Turbulence” – are propelled by deft drums, complex beats and percussion nuances.       
Below are links to the two latest installments of “The New Cool” vignettes:
“The Danger Zone”
“Bob Knows Bass”

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