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Bob James: Bob James: Live at Montreux 1985

It’d be easy to say that watching Bob James at this classic 1985 performance from Montreux was like viewing the pianist in his prime. But as anyone who has seen James perform lately can confirm, it’s obvious the 66-year-old hasn’t lost a step on the keys. This concert brilliantly captures the contemporary jazz pianist as he treats the enthusiastic crowd to nine compositions.

Sharing the sweat with James on this hot July night were Harvey Mason on drums, Dennis Henderson on percussion and the amazing Dean Parks on guitar. The late Gary King jammed, as always, on bass and he provides an unforgettable highlight with his hoarse vocals with a snippet of “Lucille” tagged onto the end of “Westchester Lady.” Add to that a young Kirk Whalum on sax–he also plays flute on “Angela (Theme From ‘Taxi’)” –and it’s no wonder the Montreux crowd went nuts for an encore. Other songs include “Touchdown,” Whalum’s “Ruby, Ruby, Ruby,” “Night Crawler,” “Unicorn,” “Zebra Man,” “Winding River” and “Spunky.”

Originally Published