Bob James Biography
Bob James (born December 25, 1939) is a two-time Grammy Award-winning smooth jazz keyboardist, arranger and producer.
Bob James was an important figure in turning 1970s fusion jazz more mainstream. "Angela", the instrumental theme from the sitcom Taxi, is probably Bob James' most well-known work to date. For their first joint album release, One on One, Earl Klugh and Bob James received a Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance of 1981. James is the founding member of smooth jazz supergroup Fourplay and is a Yamaha Artist.
Very influenced by pop and movie music, James has often featured soloists, who add a jazz touch to his sound (most notably Grover Washington, Jr.). While best known for his fusion sound, James began In 1962, recording a bop-ish trio set for Mercury, and three years later his album for ESP was quite avant-garde, with electronic tapes used for effects. After a period with Sarah Vaughan (1965-1968), he became a studio musician, and by 1973 was arranging and working as a producer for CTI. In 1974, James recorded his first purely commercial effort as a leader; he later made big-selling albums for his own Tappan Zee label, Columbia, and Warner Bros., including collborations with Earl Klugh and David Sanborn.
With his song "Take Me To The Mardi Gras", Bob James secured his place in hip-hop history when the song was breakbeated by DJ Grandmaster Flash in the movie Wildstyle and then sampled by the World Class Wrecking Crew and even more famously by Run-DMC in their song "Peter Piper" on the Raising Hell release. "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" has been sampled in numerous hip-hop and downtempo tracks since "Peter Piper", including Eric B. & Rakim's "Don't Sweat The Technique", the Beastie Boys' "Hold It Now, Hit It" and by Timbaland, in Missy Elliot's "Work It". Another song by Bob James that has also been frequently sampled by the hip-hop and electronic music community is "Nautilus", being sampled by artists such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Cam and Luke Vibert, and Ghostface Killah. Nautilus was also featured in the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.