A really cool bit of bossa jazz from reedman Buddy Collette – an artist who's not as well associated with the genre as Stan Getz or Paul Desmond – but who really cooks nicely here! The setting is relatively lean and groovy – with guitar from Howard Roberts, bass from Mel Pollan, and percussion from Leo Acosta and Darias – both of whom bring a nice sort of west coast vibe to the set, one that's different from some of the Verve bossa modes of the time. Jim Helms handled the arrangements, with a nice airy sort of mode – and Buddy plays both tenor and flute, on titles that include "Nao Pode Ser", "Porque De Moras", "A Pele Do Marfin", "A Meie Noite", "Samba Da Tartaruga", and "Amor Levado".
Of all the things Bob James has done over the years, he remains best known for composing "Angela (Theme From Taxi)." That likable tune was first released on 1979's Touchdown, and it was recorded again for this 1983 release, which focuses mainly on background music he wrote for the popular television comedy. Dull background music had been James' forte since the mid-1970s, and in that sense, The Genie isn't out of the ordinary for him. "Angela" is the only tune on the CD that's memorable; one could listen to The Genie several times and still have a hard time remembering any of the melodies except "Angela." The Genie enjoyed airplay on some stations that claimed to be jazz-oriented, but truth be told, selections like "Night Moods" and "Groove for Julie" are really instrumental pop with slight jazz overtones. Of course, whether The Genie should be called jazz or pop isn't the thing that matters the most. The bottom line is that most of the material is neither interesting nor stimulating.
This CD reissue features some typical pop/jazz from keyboardist/arranger/composer Bob James. James often uses his musicians as a prop, adding some coloring by having short solos by Grover Washington, Jr.'s soprano (whose two appearances are easily this set's high points), and guitarists Hiram Bullock and Bruce Dunlap. An oversized rhythm section, a large horn section, and strings fail to uplift the pleasant but lightweight music much. James plays well enough but no real chances are taken on this obviously commercial effort.