Bob James: Westchester Lady
Bob James (keyboards)
Three (CTI 6063)
John Frosk, Lew Soloff, Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Jerry Dodgion (flute),Wayne Andre (trombone), David Taylor (bass trombone), Dave Bargeron (bass tuba, tuba), Fred Buldrini, Harry Cykman, Lewis Eley, Max Ellen, Emanuel “Manny” Green, Harold Kohon, David Nadien, Matthew Raimondi (violin), Al Brown, Manny Vardi (viola) Charles McCracken, Alan Shulman (cello) Gloria Agostini (harp), Hugh McCracken (guitar).
Composed by Bob James.
Recorded: Hackensack, N.J., November 1975 & January 1976
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Since being "discovered" by Quincy Jones some forty years ago and composing music for television and film, Bob James has come a long way in his career. On his 1976 album Three, James constructed a jazz-funk-fusion opus that has had a huge impact on music well beyond jazz and easy listening. Some readers might recognize the bass groove on this song as the inspiration for many well-known hip-hop breaks. Featuring a brass and wind section that included Jon Faddis, Hubert Laws and Grover Washington, "Westchester Lady" is a disco fueled number that's full of heavy string work and modulated chord changes.
The orchestral element of this song can be a little too much at times but that was just a thing that they did in the 1970s. Everything was over the top, including the recording. When you get down to the meat of this track, you have a funky bass line played by Will Lee and a moving solo by James on the Fender Rhodes. What does tend to get annoying are the string backgrounds during James's solo but he overcomes them with his solid blues work. Bob James is a musician that is all too often put in the light jazz category, especially for his later work with Fourplay, but his output from the 70s is very inspiring. Take note, many others have. Bob James has got that funk!
Reviewer: Jared Pauley