Wednesday, November 04, 2015

James and East hope NARAS voters find their first duo album to be GRAMMY® “Cool” #jazz

“The New Cool,” the critically-acclaimed project from the jazz keyboard legend and master bassist, is on the nominating ballot in ten categories while receiving airplay on over 160 U.S. radio stations.  

It’s the kind of album GRAMMY® voters love to reward. Meticulously written, produced, arranged and performed, “The New Cool” never plays it safe. It is a surprising and unexpected collection from a pair of GRAMMY®-celebrated veterans who stepped outside of their contemporary jazz comfort zone in favor of venturing into an intimate acoustic jazz setting. The Yamaha Entertainment Group release from longtime friends and collaborators Bob James and Nathan East brazenly goes against type, exploring jazz of virtually every shade and includes a number of elaborately orchestrated and masterfully-arranged tracks that feature the Nashville Recording Orchestra. After debuting at No. 2 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and No. 5 on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart upon its September 18 release, the first duo recording from James and East made the cut in ten areas of the GRAMMY® nominating ballot that is due back to the National Recording Artists and Sciences on Wednesday.  Nominations will be announced in December.
Over 160 jazz radio stations are playing selections from “The New Cool,” which spurred the climb into the JazzWeek Top 10. Last Friday, fans nationally received a pre-Halloween treat from SiriusXM’s Real Jazz with the premier broadcast of an exclusive live performance by James and East showcasing four tunes from “The New Cool” that were recorded in the broadcaster’s New York City studio. Fervent interest from around the globe has generated thousands of views of the ten-part series of video vignettes that take viewers behind the scenes and into the studio with James and East as they recorded the album in Nashville.
Aptly for a session that straddles the jazz dichotomy, “The New Cool” is being considered for both the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and the Best Jazz Instrumental Album categories. Yamaha Entertainment Group founder and vice president Chris Gero is a Producer of the Year, Non-Classical candidate for his skilled hand shepherding James and East, who are Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical entrants. The distinctively moody and retro jazz-cool look adorning the packaging is in the running for Best Recording Package.   
James’s spirited keyboard artistry on “Midnight Magic/Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow” is under the microscope for Best Improvised Jazz Solo while his imaginative arrangement of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy,” highlighted by a divine guest vocal from country crooner Vince Gill, is in the running for Best Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals.
Two of “The New Cool’s original compositions by James and East – “All Will Be Revealed,” a complexly-crafted keyboard and bass dance silver lined by orchestral accoutrements and East’s alluring vocalizations, and the poignantly poetic beauty “Waltz For Judy” – are guaranteed to garner attention for Best Instrumental Composition. Orchestral enhancements heighten the drama on the duo’s rendition of “Ghost Of A Chance,” which has a solid chance of earning a nomination in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella category.       
East will receive a Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award this Saturday night in Hollywood that will be presented by Earth, Wind & Fire’s charismatic bassman Verdine White. Last year, East’s self-titled solo debut released by Yamaha Entertainment Group was GRAMMY® nominated and he won for playing on Daft Punk’s 2014 Record of the Year winner “Get Lucky.” James, a contemporary jazz forefather whose classic catalogue dating back to the 1970s is amongst the most frequently sampled in hip hop, is a two-time GRAMMY® winner.
Here is a sampling of what the critics had to say recently about “The New Cool”:
“The album sounds like it was easy and fun to make -- one can sense joy and deep focus in the interplay…Composer James lets loose with some athletic electric piano, East’s bass is at its taut and melodic best.” – All Music
“The whole album is, simply put, beautifully stunning, and is a testament to both these iconic legends that even after all these years of writing and creating music of the same ilk, that they can still produce something so fresh, so vibrant, so musically clean.” – Exclusive Magazine
“The album has a gentle sound, a combination of epic melodies (on new and old songs) and soulful tunes. James, the distinguished pianist, and East, an unparalleled bass player, are both known for the meticulousness and originality in their music.” – Straight No Chaser – A Jazz Show
“A true jazz masterpiece…an unexpected classic jazz album showcasing the amazing talents of these two Grammy recognized artists…the new disc provides an elegant, refreshing dose of jazz that is sure to be an instant classic.” – Bass Ramblings
“A collection of duets and surprises on a rewardingly gentle mix of originals and standards.” – Jazz Weekly
“Keyboardist Bob James and bassist Nathan East, shuffle, swing and otherwise do their thing on a disc that wears its traditionalism as a comfortable suit rather than as a straitjacket.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“The Nashville-recorded album featuring original tunes and some standards (even a take on “Crazy” featuring Vince Gill) is a whirlwind of delights from the bandmates of more than 20 years.” – No Treble
The New Cool has a more stripped down superstar lounge feel to it.” – Mainly Piano
“A collection of sophisticated jazz that reflects the fluid friendship James has with his longtime collaborator and friend.” – The News & Observer
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