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Jazz Review

Tibet Review :: June 2006
"A re-issue of a 1983 recording, Tibet is essentially a soft suite of flute and guitar duets by guitarist Gregory James and friend Barry Shulman on the flute and other wind instruments. An album of eight original compositions, primarily from Shulman, the music hovers between World and New Age jazz.

With only two members of the band, the musicianship had to be good and it is. Shulman plays the flute exquisitely in a worldly and lofty style that at times seem to echo the howling winds from the Tibetan mountains. James on the other hand strums those chords with the grace and elegance that reveals a warm and gentle guitar.

The section opens up with two slow and melancholy numbers 'Calcutta' and 'Kapoor Hotel', both of which are introduced by Shulman on flute and then joined by James on acoustic guitar. 'Mountain Call' is a brief minute plus in duration while 'Antares', penned by James, is the longest tune at seven minutes and forty-two seconds and while it is considered one track, the number does break temporarily on my CD player and continues as track nine. James contributes many fine riffs on acoustic, electric and synthesized guitar on this album.

All of the music seems to be cut from the same slate since, in my humble opinion, the tunes all sound like different variations of the same type of melodies. You will not find fast paced fiery material here. The music is played in a low-tempo style providing a warm, calming and spiritual feeling to the listener. Not your typical mainstream jazz sound, this is listening music to sooth the soul. If you've had a rough day at the office or there's a lot of stress in your life at the moment, Tibet offers an escape from the real world and a relaxing sensation that lets you soar above your troubles on the gentle strings of James' guitar and the subtle songs from Shulman's flute."

Sea of Tranquility

Come To Me Review :: May 2006
"West coast guitarist Gregory James has been seeking out and exploring new musical territory for more than twenty years and the latest release...Come To Me certainly proves to be no exception. The music could be considered contemporary jazz but he successfully blends jazz roots with a veritable melange of r&b, Afro-Cuban, flamenco and Eastern influences to create a sound that is fresh, new and generally difficult to categorize.

'...The real strength of this CD is the sheer size of their sonic landscapes. Many of the songs are layered and filled out with cellos, violins, flutes and even turntables to create just the right texture and mood....The track Alphabet Town is a standout at almost 7 minutes, featuring a funky backbeat complete with turntables, violin, tablas and sax while Catie Murphy reads from poet T.S. Eliot's Rhapsody on a Windy Night. There are quite a few numbers which highlight James' technical prowesson on the acoustic guitar and songs like St. Alison and the brilliant ensemble work in the John Coltrane-ish vibe of Chant Odun give the listener a great taste of his playing abilities. The funny thing with this disc is, although it's James' name on the marquee you never get the feeling that this is anything less than a true band effort. It's not about his own solos, and he's got the chops to burn, as much as it is about placing the emphasis on his steller support cast and the songs themselves. Listen to Come To Me and marvel in music that celebrates cultural diversity, crosses borders and highlights top notch musicianship."

Jazz Review

Come To Me Review :: August 2005
"Bring back Elvis! This funky new CD...isn't all together straight jazz and not yet all together world music. The Gregory James Band incorporates Brazil, Afro-Cuban, Gypsy Flamenco and The UK (especially the Liverpool scene) into Come To Me. It could be the album of the year in many circles.

Musicians on this album (there are 29) have all fine-tuned their craft in their individual field, whether it be the DJ Fly and his vinyl to Baron Shul with his baritone and tenor sax scattered all throughout...

'Let's get Elvis before he represents Dial Soap!' is a message in Jewel Silver (Bring Back Elvis). Beat poet Craig Easley reads/sings...it works extermely well. Excellent subtle tabla work by Jason Lewis here. Another song, Chant Odun, which Gregory James plays some great Brazillian style runs with Benny Rietveld provides us with programming extraordinaire. This album can sit really in any music store category whether it is Jazz, World, Brazillian or Flamenco. Gregory James and his all-star cast have put together an excellent album. There is something on here for everyone whether it is the smooth sax of Rita Thies on Intermezzo or the beat poetry of Craig Easley and Catie Murphy. In the liner notes Gregory James proclaims that 'Love Is All'. All I have is love for this album. This is a 2004/2005 must have. "

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