Title - 'The New Cool'
Artist - Bob James & Nathan East
After 25 years of collaboration, Bob James and Nathan East have just-released their debut duo album The New Cool this September on Yamaha Entertainment Group. Indeed, The New Cool marks new territory for legendary jazz pianist Bob James and bassist Nathan East, who’ve spent decades playing together in contemporary jazz quartet Fourplay but never before as an official duo.
This delightful new album begins with the dulcet, precise piano playing of Bob James (on the seven minute long title track, 'The New Cool'), and as soon as the amazing bass work of Nathan East joins in, you know THIS is the album that your late nights have been craving. The whole album is, simply put, beautifully stunning, and is a testament to both these iconic legends that even after all these years of writing and creating music of the same ilk, that they can still produce something so fresh, so vibrant, so musically clean.
Indeed, it's East's finger-plucking bass work that illuminates the next track, 'Oliver's Bag,' which leads James' piano work down a path you never want to see end. Next up is the lighter bass work of 'All Will Be Revealed,' a more breezy, Sunday afternoon in Central Park affair, and that's followed by both guys having a dueling battle on 'Midnight Magic' / 'Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow.' However, it's (for my money, at least), the quite brilliant, breathtakingly orchestrated simplicity of 'Crazy' that takes the cherry on the cake here. Done in a, well, "Disney" kind of styling, and featuring country star Vince Gill on vocals, the track is unexpected, and yet wonderfully acceptable.
James takes musical control on both 'How Deep Is The Ocean' and 'Canto Y La Danza,' a lovely free flowing work of art, if ever there was. That is backed by the gentle, ebb and flow piano work alongside some stunning underscore orchestrations. Now, here's where the album, as it heads into its final musical bend, becomes something else. For, as much as I am listening to it right now as I type this, and as much as I am reviewing it, along with typing out some other code for the magazine, the last-but-one tracks - 'Waltz For Judy,' 'Seattle Sunrise' and 'Ghost Of A Chance' - all blend seamlessly into one another. It wasn't until the playfulness of the latter caught my inner mind's attention that I realized such a thing. The sign of a seamlessly created album, indeed, and one that wraps in fine, oh so fine style, with the upbeat, joyful drumming stance of 'Turbulence.' So come one, come all and listen and relax to this great new album - you won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk