Hot on the heels of his commercial breakthrough Touchdown, which contained the monster hit "Angela (Theme from Taxi)," Bob James teamed up with acoustic guitarist Earl Klugh for the first of two hit duet albums. One on One is not strictly a duet side, however. The pair is accompanied by a band of crack studio types that includes James' former CTI mates acoustic bassist Ron Carter and drummer Harvey Mason and a host of others as well as string and woodwinds sections. The fare is light, breezy, and barely there in places. Out of these sessions came "The Afterglow," which lit up the charts right after "Angela" did, making James the hottest jazz commodity on the scene.
Keyboardist Bob James and acoustic guitarist Earl Klugh struck gold with this session, recently reissued on CD. The formula hasn't changed much in succeeding years. Both Klugh and James are capable musicians; they demonstrated on this collection of light, innocuous melodies and occasionally interesting backbeats a high degree of professionalism. Klugh is a first-rate guitarist whose solos are concise and nicely delivered, but frequently sound thin. James' piano and electric keyboard playing is a puzzling combination of flawlessness and lifelessness.
This album has been a personal favorite since 1992 and I love it more everytime I experience it again. If you can appreciate this type of music in the first place you're going to have a wonderful time hanging out with Bob, Earl and the rest of the crew.
As he went into making his fourth Blue Note release, José James envisioned the follow-up to the Billie Holiday tribute Yesterday I Had the Blues as a double album. It was going to be split between love songs and outward-looking material inspired by persistent injustices and increasingly visible and frequent attacks upon persons of color in the U.S. At some point, James scrapped the second half of the concept, too distressed to see it through. In the liner notes for Love in a Time of Madness, he briefly addresses – in pained but optimistic language – the condition of his native country and the planet at large. James ends by asking, "What is the value of human life? And of what value is love?" Throughout, he and his collaborators approach answers to the second question by writing from various states of a one-on-one relationship…
Algebra I is one of the most critical courses that students take in high school. Not only does it introduce them to a powerful reasoning tool with applications in many different careers, but algebra is the gateway to higher education. Students who do well in algebra are better prepared for college entrance exams and for college in general, since algebra teaches them how to solve problems and think abstractly—skills that pay off no matter what major they pursue.
Earl Klugh Trio, Vol. 1 gives listeners a rare chance to hear the guitarist playing straight-ahead jazz. Some bebop musicians contend that playing dull background music year after year means you can kiss your bebop chops goodbye, but there's no evidence of that on this rewarding CD. With Klugh sticking to acoustic guitar and employing Ralph Armstrong on upright bass and Gene Dunlap on drums, someone who is best known for recording schlock offers tasteful and lyrical interpretations of such well known standards as "I'll Remember April," "Night and Day" and "One Note Samba." Klugh also excels on "Lonely Girl" (a beautiful but underexposed Neal Hefti piece) and pleasantly surprises by demonstrating that the theme from the '60s sitcom Bewitched and the Aretha Franklin hit "I Say a Little Prayer" (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) can work in an acoustic bebop setting.