GREGORY JAMES

Fusion / Post-Fusion Contemporary / RnB / Pop/Art Song/Folk / Latin Jazz / Eclectic Fusion • United States
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Afourth generation San Franciscan, Gregory James was born on October 11, 1952. Growing up in a musical family, he listened to show tunes, jazz, opera, classical music, and music from around the world on a short wave radio. In what has been called the golden age of entertainment, TV variety shows would have acts as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Lily Pons and Elvis. Originally attracted to piano, the British Invasion inspired him to take up guitar at age 11. He studied theory and composition under David L. Smith for the next 7 years. A few months after his first lesson, a chance find at a record store introduced him to a Kenny Burrell recording with John Coltrane, and a whole new world opened up.

By age 15 he was sitting in at clubs with Eddie Duran, Amandio Cabral, and Vince Guaraldi. Over the next few
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GREGORY JAMES Discography

GREGORY JAMES albums / top albums

GREGORY JAMES Gregory James Quartet ‎: Alicia album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gregory James Quartet ‎: Alicia
Fusion 1978
GREGORY JAMES Madagascar album cover 1.00 | 2 ratings
Madagascar
Fusion 1982
GREGORY JAMES Alphabet Town album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Alphabet Town
Fusion 1983
GREGORY JAMES Gregory James, Barry Shulman ‎: Tibet album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gregory James, Barry Shulman ‎: Tibet
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1983
GREGORY JAMES Ananda album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ananda
Latin Jazz 1994
GREGORY JAMES The Search album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Search
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1998
GREGORY JAMES Traveler album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Traveler
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1999
GREGORY JAMES Reincarnation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Reincarnation
RnB 2001
GREGORY JAMES Come to Me album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Come to Me
Eclectic Fusion 2003
GREGORY JAMES Samsara album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Samsara
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2007
GREGORY JAMES Cult of Beauty album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cult of Beauty
Fusion 2012

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GREGORY JAMES Reviews

GREGORY JAMES Madagascar

Album · 1982 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Before we get too far into this review, it should be pointed out that Gregory James is an excellent jazz and fusion guitarist who remains active in the San Francisco Bay area music scene, but we all have our clunkers, and “Madagascar” is his. When this album first opens, things don’t sound too bad, James and his crew present an 80s style of jazz-rock fusion that sounds like a cross between Pat Metheny and sophisticated new wave rockers, The Police. Unfortunately, as things progress, tuning problems slowly become apparent. By the time we hit the second track, “Jeanetta”, its obvious that woodwinds player Barry Shulman is way out of tune with everyone else, but its possible he had a hard time getting his bearings because the guitar is out of tune with itself, making it hard to tell if Bruce Barrett’s bass is in tune with anyone, but it does seem like his bass may be the one anchor in this swamp of intonation dizziness.

The persistent out-of-tuneness gives the entire proceedings a certain sea-sick atmosphere, so its hard to tell if other things that appear to be wrong are only appearing that way due to the tuning problems, but it does seem that the players are having a hard time hitting a groove together. Sometimes it almost sounds like the individual player’s tracks were recorded separately, or possibly the drums were added after everyone else played to a click track. Then there is the EQ situation, everything is mixed incredibly high and thin in a trademark plastic 80s sound that is devoid of any depth, which is further pushed by James choice of ‘synth-axxe’ sounds.

The album notes boast of the kind of recording specs that sound engineers just love, but these kind of statistics are never a good sign as it just means the album was mixed by people who don’t have good ears, and who also hope that science will fix things for them. Even with all the problems going on, you can tell the musicians on here are good, which makes it all the more surprising that they let this recording session gone awry get pressed onto vinyl.

You do see this album for sale on the internet, and since none of the money would be going to James anyway, I feel it only fair to let people know what is on here, which leads to another possible market for this record. There are those of us who collect albums that are remarkably flawed, that’s why I own two copies of “Madagascar”.

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