Bob James

Dancing on the Water

Warner Bros. 9 47842-2

Bob James, piano, arranger; Dave Holland, bass; Keiko Matsui, piano; Joe Sampler, piano; Chuck Loeb, guitar.

An entertaining opener from James and Joe Sampler; these two have been putting out albums since the sixties, in "Alone Together" they dance expressively over the keys in the Jazziest piece of the CD. The strongest tracks are the piano duets; his two duets with Keiko Matsui are simply masterful, "Altair & Vega" has a classical feel, sharp, bright statements, then wistful reflection as they swop solo parts, well controlled and full of surprises. He also plays duets with Dave Holland on bass and Chuck Loeb, guitar. The best of the solo tracks is "Modest", this is carefully balanced, slightly melancholic, a satisfying piece. The final track, "Duo Oto Subito" which he plays with Keiko Matsui has all the ingredients of a film score; the minds eye conjures images that are encouraged by the music as it twists and turns, one moment electrifying, then pacifying as the two pianists combine with effect.

Bob James is a man who likes to play, he uses the piano as an extension of conversation. Calling this Jazz/pop seems trite, this is music for the background, music to dance to, music to sit down and listen to. It will not stretch you with adventurous Jazz, but it will tickle the taste pallet for outstanding ad libbing of a melodic and tuneful genre.

by Ferdinand Maylin

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