The New Cool – Bob James and Nathan East

Recorded in Nashville, Tennesee July 2015 – Released September 2015

Bob James – Piano

Nathan East – Double Bass

Bob and Nathan are perhaps victims of their own success. Bob is well known to many as the smooth jazz man who became well known for his composition “Angela” which was used as the theme music for TV comedy “Taxi”. Nathan is the go-to man for electric bass and it is no exaggeration to say that he probably the most listened-to bass player in the world with credits including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins.

So an album with Bob on grand piano and Nathan on double bass all kindly provided by Yamaha – how is this going to sound?

From the outset there are two kinds of track. Firstly is the Evans/Gomez inspired jazz duets like THE NEW COOL, OLIVER’S BAG, MIDNIGHT MAGIC, HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN and SEATTLE SUNRISE. These are the reason to buy the album and I only wish they did this all the time. There are many gems amongst these and you can hear flashes of Bud Powell in James’ left hand and plenty of Oscar Petersen fleetness of phrase in his right. East channels the great acoustic players with sound references to Gomez, NHOP and Scott La Faro.

The other kind of music is put in, I think to mollify their regular fans and is a selection of groovy and latin music. Very nice but not my cup of tea. The strings are provided by a Nashville based collective of studio players and add a high production value to this cut.

What I definitely prefer is the back to basic conversations between these two masters of their art. The sympathy and synergy between East and James is a delight and I hope they make many more records like this.

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