The recording, recorded in Nashville, was made using Yamaha gear exclusively. Produced by Chris Gero, the album consists of all-new original material and a few covers, including a version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” sung by country star Vince Gill. East and James, along with drummer Harvey Mason and guitarist Chuck Loeb, will also release a new Fourplay album later this year.
Piano and bass. Bob James and Nathan East. Fusion jazz with soft character? Of course we are aware of the flexibility of the two warriors-the bassist participated in Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” that garnered attention – but both gentlemen met and stepped into the studio to record a series of duo jazz adventures was not expected. And they adorned some of their music with the lavish soundscapes of Nashville Recording Orchestra in generous manner or invited other guests in the inner circle studio. “The New Cool” promises a lot – from September we will know more.
I forgot for a minute that Yamaha manufactures a lot of gear so I was a little dumbfounded for a minute about why these two long time pros were recording for a new, off beat label. Duh. In today’s world this makes perfect sense. What better way to have Yamaha show off all kinds of their recording and playing gear by putting it in the hands of these two pros and telling them ‘do whatever the hell you want’. Let’s just say James and East wouldn’t get this kind of love at Sony, WB, E One or any of the other usual haunts for their solo or Fourplay projects these days—all the way down to Bernie Grundman doing the mastering. Jazz with no walls or eyes on the clock is what these rascals serve up as they corral Vince Gill, the Nashville Recording Orchestra and more as they let 25 years of playing together show off the telepathy and simpatico they have evolved along the way. Real music for real listeners, slip on the headphones, block out the noise and let the magic have it’s way. Well done.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. March 20, 2015 —Bob James and Nathan East, two of the founding members of the contemporary jazz group Fourplay, have announced the forthcoming debut of their duet album, to be released by Yamaha Entertainment Group of America this fall. Although they have recorded together for decades and each have released solo projects, this duet is a first for both.
The legendary, GRAMMY award-winning musicians plan to showcase the true essence of eclectic jazz through a combination of epic melodies and soulful tunes. James, a distinguished pianist, and East, an unparalleled bass player, are both known for the meticulousness and originality in their music.
The New Cool is a long time coming for one-half of the modern R&B jazz group Fourplay. Pianist Bob James and bassist Nathan East, together with the full range and force of Yamaha Entertainment Group’s state-of-the-art gear, extract the bare essence of each song’s character in the 11-track album out for an official release September 18.
The entire album of originals and a few, spare covers is an acoustic splendor of what piano, keyboards, and bass can do given the right circumstances, the right engineering — recorded in Nashville, and the right collaborative duo. Because James and East have been playing together for so long, naturally, their music will always go deeper, picking up on sonics — an exploration in the loveliest of melodies and harmonies — that otherwise might go unwarranted.
Quite often, other musicians weren’t necessary to achieve the lovely landscape of East and James. “The more I played with Nathan over the course of many live performances and spanning more than 25 years, the more in sync we were whether or not we had the anchor of the drums,” explained two-time Grammy artist James in a recent release from Great Scott Productions. “Something special happens when we only have each other’s notes to play off of, when the music is totally exposed.”
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It might be the height of summer but one great reason to look ahead into September is ‘The New Cool’ from contemporary jazz icons (and fellow members of super-group Fourplay) Bob James and Nathan East.
It will be released on September 18, by Yamaha Entertainment Group, and predictably centers on jazz piano and bass duets as the vehicle for a diverse collection of original compositions and handpicked classics. Recorded entirely in Nashville it reveals James and East in a way that you have never heard them before.
Take for example the duo’s imaginative take on Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’ which carries with it the surprise of a Vince Gill vocal or the Brazilian jazz extravaganza which features percussionist Rafael Padilla and drummer Scott Williamson.
Although individually busy with touring and recording, James and East are committed and energized by ‘The New Cool’ which will be comprehensively promoted in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Almost a dozen video vignettes that take viewers into the recording studio during the making of the album will soon begin to emerge through the official website, www.thenewcoolalbum.com and the launch of a full-scale documentary film will coincide with the album’s street date.