Fourplay’s keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East, drummer Harvey Mason, and guitarist Chuck Loeb make a stop at one of their favorite places —Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle — August 7-10. The Grammy-nominated, contemporary jazz supergroup’s been in the middle of its “Night of Fourplay” tour world-wide to promote the 2012 hit recording Esprit De Four, with plans to record a silver anniversary album next.
Yesterday, East confirmed the recording plans: “We’re in the process of writing our next album, which will be a celebration of Fourplay’s Silver Anniversary! It’s hard to believe that it’s coming up on 25 years since our first release in 1991, but I guess time flies when you’re having fun.”
The Hall of Fame Award (formerly Citation of Merit) was established to recognize and honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to society, their profession, the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, one of its departments or programs, or to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Alumni Society. This award has been presented annually since 1977.
Bob James is a two-time GRAMMY award-winning smooth jazz keyboardist, arranger and producer. James is recognized as one of the progenitors of smooth jazz, however, his music has also had a profound effect on the history of hip hop music, having been sampled often. Two of James’ songs – “Nautilus” from 1974’s Oneand “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” from 1975’s Two – are among the most sampled in hip hop history. He was discovered by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963, and subsequently recorded his first solo album, Bold Conceptions, that year for Mercury Records. He honed his skills working with Creed Taylor, working on albums for artists like Hank Crawford, Grover Washington, Jr, among others. James found great popular success overseeing significant hits for Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, Maynard Ferguson, and Kenny Loggins. James has recorded 58 albums over five decades, including collaboration with his daughter, the group Fourplay, Earl Klugh, and Keiko Matsui, among many others. James began his own label, Tappan Zee Records and recorded his own gold seller, Touchdown, which included his composition, “Angela”, the instrumental theme from the sitcom ‘Taxi’, and possibly James’ best know work. 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. In 1985, James moved to Warner Bros Records and recorded Double Vision in collaboration with David Sanborn, and produced by Tommy LiPuma. Double Vision was another GRAMMY award winner, selling over a million albums. James has been honored by many jazz music institutions, and by his hometown of Marshall, MO with the inaugural ‘Bob James Jazz Festival.’ He continues to tour nationally and internationally as a solo artist and with Nathan East, Harvey Mason, and Chuck Loeb as Fourplay.
Grammy Award winning Jazz Legend Bob James returns to the Milliken Auditorium with the Bob James Quartet. Featuring James on piano, Clarence Penn on drums, Perry Hughes on guitar and Nate Phillips on bass.
Bob James was discovered at the 1963 Notre Dame Jazz Festival by legendary producer Quincy Jones. That same year he recorded his first solo album “Bold Conceptions” for Mercury Records. From there he went on to make his mark as the musical director for Sarah Vaughn. Bob also worked on many successful albums for CTI Records.
In 1977 James started his is own label, Tappan Zee Records, which gave him the opportunity to spend more time in the studio working on his own recordings. During that time he recorded the gold award winning album “Touch Down,” which included his composition “Angela” from the TV show Taxi.
James won a Grammy Award in 1980 for with the release of “One On One” with Earl Klugh and also in 1985 for the release of “Double Vision” with David Sanborn. In 2008 Bob and his close friend Tony award inning director Jack O’Brien, were awarded the International Achievement Award from the State of Michigan. Bob will also be inducted in the 2014 University of Michigan Hall of Fame this October.
Clarence Penn is a native of Detroit and started playing the drums semi-professionally at the age of 15. He has performed and recorded with many successful artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, and Roberta Flack. Clarence is very familiar with the Grand Traverse area as he attended the Interlochen Arts Academy.
Perry Hughes is a self taught jazz guitarist who has lived most of his life in Detroit. He has performed and recorded with Bob James on numerous occasions and also with many of the worlds leading vocalists.
Bassist Nate Phillips has produced or played with a number of well known artists and bands including The Crusaders, Bobby Caldwell, and Gerald Albright. He grew up outside Portland and was influenced by jazz and early fusion.
By now most know about Bob James’ deep connection and involvement in efforts to rebuild Japan after the 2011 tsunami.
Bob’s role in this effort has continued, as the movement has continued to grow in support. Now “Music for Tomorrow” benefits concerts are being featured from shows held in Strasbourg, New York, and New Orleans to further the cause.
The documentary will air in Japan on NHK General TV, and is being screened on May 3rd at Rias Hall in Ofunato-city.
Yamaha Entertainment Group of America recently hosted a celebration in honor of Nathan East’s long-awaited solo debut recording at Ocean Way Hollywood – Studio A. The self-titled album was produced by Chris Gero and Nathan East and features such stellar artists as Bob James, Michael McDonald, Stevie Wonder, David Paich, Ray Parker, Jr., and Chuck Loeb as well as special performance by Sara Bareilles, among others.