Images from behind the scenes for the U.S. premier of Bob’s Concerto with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra.
Here are some photos from the recent shows at the performing arts center in Accra, Ghana, as part of the Stanbic Jazz Festival.
It’s a name that carries a wide berth. Not just because of his Grammy’s, but because, while you may expect to hear it mentioned by those in jazz circles, you are just as likely to hear it brought up by hip hop heads.
That’s because Bob James has never allowed preconceived notions to limit his vision and creativity. This has allowed him to fuse together, and cross over, styles and genres not typically associated with one another, helping to shape jazz, and influence rock, pop, television, and hip hop.
This journey now leads to next step in the musical evolution of Bob James, the North American debut of his piano concerto.
Saturday, June 4 @ 19:30
Corson Auditorium – Interlochen, MI
A special thank you to Chris Gero and the Yamaha Corporation for Celebrating Fourplay’s 25th Anniversary, with Special guests Chaka Chan, Ruben Studdard, Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, Greg Phillinganes, Dave Delhomme, with master sound man Ken Freeman providing amazing sounds.
Interlochen, Mich. – Join the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Kevin Rhodes and two-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Bob James for Bob James & Firebird on Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 pm in Corson Auditorium in Interlochen.
Bob James, a prominent artist in the jazz world, debuts his newly composed Piano Concerto with the TSO in its U.S. premiere. James’ legendary career has spanned more than five decades as one of the progenitors of smooth jazz, more than 25 of which has also been with famed jazz quartet Fourplay; he earned a Grammy nomination in 2015 for Best Arrangement with collaborator Nathan East for The
“I had an exciting (world) premiere in Tokyo last September and got my feet wet in the classical realm,” says jazz pianist James. “I had dreamed of trying a ‘large form’ orchestral piece, and now I’m blessed
with a second opportunity to continue this dream. For me, the music only becomes meaningful after
reaching receptive ears.”
Notable for its fantastic energy, the concerto engages musicians and the audience from start to finish. The diverse styles, moods, rhythms and brilliant orchestration all provide the artistic balance necessary create a wonderful work of music. The work was composed as a communication of love and caring for the people affected by the earthquake/tsunami that devastated Japan’s Tōhoku region in 2011.
Maestro Rhodes describes the concerto as follows: “It is not a jazz piece. It has jazz elements, jazz qualities in the musical accent, and there are some places where he will use the jazz idiom, for instance in the cadenzas. But it really is a contemporary classical piece of music and very complex.”
Opening the program is Copland’s Appalachian Spring, one of the most archetypically American works, capturing a vast emotional world through irregular jazzy meters, playful rhythms and bold percussion orchestrations. Next, the TSO lights a musical fire with Stravinsky’s vigorous and exuberant Firebird.
Tickets are priced at $20, $32, $42 and $58 with 50% discounts for students and first time attendees. For ticket info, call 231-947-7120 or visit www.traversesymphony.org. Season sponsor is Chemical Bank. Guest soloist sponsor is Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons. Concert sponsor is Morgan Stanley. Media sponsor is the Record-Eagle. Radio sponsor is WCCW FM.
Bob James recently visited Fukushima for the “Music for Tomorrow” benefit concert series. While there James had the opportunity to chat with singer, song writer, composer, and former lead singer for ‘Off Course’, Kazumasa Oda.
Bob James will perform on March 6, 2016 in the Fukushima Prefecture Cultural Center. The show will feature the elegant Alice Soyer, who will perform in both French and English. This year’s benefit concert marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic tsunami that wrecked havoc on the nation of Japan, and caused further devastation with nuclear meltdowns, with Fukushima among the most severely effected.
Admission is free, and doors open at 14:00, with the show beginning at 19:30.
The concert is scheduled to be broadcast on NKH General TV on March 22, and NHK World TV on March 20 & 27, as well as April 3.
For more information: MUSIC FOR TOMORROW IN FUKUSHIMA
Make sure to catch the 58th Grammy Awards tonight, where Bob James is nominated for, Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella for the song “Ghost Of A Chance”, from THE NEW COOL. THE NEW COOL is the album released in 2015 with long time friend and band mate [fOURPLAY], Nathan East.
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella.
Ghost Of A Chance
Bob James, arranger (Bob James & Nathan East)
Track from: The New Cool (Bob James & Nathan East)
Label: Yamaha Entertainment Group Of America
We’re happy to report that the celebrated jazz quartet, Fourplay, reached just that milestone this year and are celebrating the happy occasion with a new album called Silver.
The supergroup began its journey in 1990, when keyboardist Bob James asked drummer Harvey Mason, bassist Nathan East, and guitarist Lee Ritenour to collaborate with him on the recording of his album Grand Piano Canyon. They released their self-titled debut in 1991. Since then, they’ve released more than ten albums, received a Grammy nomination and had several number one hits on Billboard‘s contemporary jazz chart.