Bob James Returns to Trio Format on New Album

Bob James Returns to Trio Format in New Album
Bob James Returns to Trio Format in New Album

Since 2006, pianist-composer-arranger Bob James has been busy with numerous projects, including the all-star contemporary jazz ensemble Fourplay and collaborations with such renowned artists as David Sanborn and Keiko Matsui. His new album, Espresso, will be released on the evosound label on August 31 on multiple formats, including high quality 180-gram vinyl, MQA-CD, sACD, and hi-res audio download. The album sees him achieving his long-time ambition of returning to the trio format, which he last utilized on his 2004 album, Take It From the Top, and embraced as an up-and-coming artist.

"I wanted to do this as part of a trio — piano, bass and drums," explains James via an official press release. "With Fourplay and in other larger settings, I loved that I could solo and then kind of disappear into the setting to accompany other soloists. To play in a trio requires a different level of commitment, with the piano being much more prominent. You need perhaps a greater degree of optimism and bravery. That was how I felt when I first got into music. Espresso is my attempt to recapture that.

Espresso finds James playing alongside young bassist Michael Palazzolo and respected veteran drummer Billy Kilson. The trio performed together last October at Blue Note in New York City. Feeling an immediate chemistry as they tackled standard repertoire as well as new James originals, the trio regrouped at Stagg Street Studios in Van Nuys, California to record the varied tracks on the new album.

The tracklist on Espresso features two covers: a reconfiguration of Fats Waller's standard "Ain't Misbehavin'" and a fresh perspective on "Mr. Magic," which James had arranged and conducted on a 1975 Grover Washington album of the same name. The other tracks on the new album are original James compositions. "Submarine," the first single from to be released, is an example of James blending his classic sound with fresh, complex and rich textures.

Listen to "Submarine" from Espresso via the player below:

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