Eric Van James | So What (Live)

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Jazz: Crossover Jazz Blues: Harmonica Blues Moods: Featuring Piano
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So What (Live)

by Eric Van James

‘So What ~ LIVE’ summarizes the range of Eric’s talent as a pianist, composer/arranger, vocalist -- and harmonica player! It is an outstanding compilation of live performances. The album has something for everyone. ~
Genre: Jazz: Crossover Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. (Introduction) Summertime [Live]
3:32 $0.99
2. Seeing Through and Above (Live)
4:04 $0.99
3. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You (Live)
2:47 $0.99
4. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Live)
5:15 $0.99
5. 'Round Midnight (Live)
4:24 $0.99
6. Eric's Theme (Live)
6:05 $0.99
7. All the Things You Are (Live)
3:42 $0.99
8. Boogie Blues (Live)
4:22 $0.99
9. Moonglow (Live)
2:59 $0.99
10. Sunny (Live)
5:36 $0.99
11. My Asylum (Live)
2:33 $0.99
12. The Girl from Ipanema (Live)
5:05 $0.99
13. One Way Out (Live)
3:59 $0.99
14. So What (Live)
4:01 $0.99
15. Love Always Equals You (When I Add It Up) [Live]
3:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Recorded at four venues in Northern California: Impulse Room (Walnut Creek), Angelicas (Redwood City), Bobby G’s and Jupiter (Berkeley), ‘So What ~ LIVE’ is the first album by Eric Van James.

The album is an outstanding compilation of "live" performances (cover songs & original compositions).
** PHYSICAL CD INCLUDES 6-PANEL BOOKLET (with Lyrics) & BONUS VOCAL-RECORDING: "LOVE ALWAYS EQUALS YOU." ** 'So What ~ LIVE' has something for everyone to enjoy!

Ellington, Gershwin, Miles & Monk, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Kern & Hammerstein--even Sonny Boy Williamson--can all be heard on the recordings. A third of the music on this album was composed by Eric Van James. And each original work is distinctive. ‘So What ~ LIVE’ summarizes the range of Eric’s talent as a pianist, composer & arranger, vocalist -- and harmonica player!

* Album cover artwork by Richard Nelson *
* Cover photograph by Brandon Rose *

~ Special Thanks to All the wonderful musicians who contributed to this album! ~

SYNOPSIS (Original Compositions):

~ Seeing Through and Above may best be classified as “popular-jazz.” Eric's piano gives the song a "highly danceable" R&B groove. Robi Bean (drums) maintains the beat perfectly. Kurt Ribak (upright bass) plays deftly around Eric's piano-bass melody. Ken Stout's soprano sax playing is nothing short of sublime. Venue: Jupiter.

~ Eric’s Theme (with its piano prelude and 3-inside-4 meter) is an admirable offering to the literature of modal jazz. Philip Coffin's drumming is avant-garde. James Moseley's guitar work is astonishing; even more remarkable, given the fact it was his first time playing the piece! Eric Van James, piano; James Moseley, guitar; Dennis Kong, upright-electric bass; Phiilip Coffin, drums. Venue: Impulse Room.

~ Boogie Blues is a tune which evokes “high steppin’” in 'second line' New Orleans Jazz. The idiomatic, walking bass-line Eric plays on piano is the musical foundation. This track is heavy with percussion; Richard Mayers' fabulous conga playing gets Eric's attention! Musicians: Barbara Fitzgerald (guitar), Patty Hammond (bass), Kirk Harwood (drums), Richard Mayers (congas). Venue: Bobby G's.

~ My Asylum is a beautiful solo work with all the elements to make it a standard. Released as a single in 2017.
Eric Van James, piano. Venue: Jupiter.

~ Love Always Equals You (When I Add It Up) is part ballad [CD bonus track], part samba-batucada. James Moseley's brilliant, lead-guitar playing gives the song much of its 'instrumental' character. Philip Coffin's superb drumming creates a 'carnival-type' atmosphere. Dennis Kong was so into it, he continued to play (with his 'eyes closed') after the music officially ended! Love Always Equals You exudes joy; it's a perfect finale to the album. ~ The track begins with a bit of 'accidental' comedy: "Can you please turn off your phone?" Eric Van James, piano & vocal [CD bonus track]; James Moseley, guitar; Dennis Kong, upright-electric bass; Phiilip Coffin, drums. Venue: Impulse Room.

SYNOPSIS (Cover Songs):

~ Summertime has a 'rhythmic verve' similar to the Theme from Mission: Impossible. It is a unique treatment of Gershwin's most popular song. Piano performance/arrangement by Eric Van James. Barbara Fitzgerald (guitar), Patty Hammond (bass), Kirk Harwood (drums), Richard Mayers (congas). ~ In memory of Barbara Fitzgerald. ~ Venue: Bobby G's.

~ Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You is a standard which dates back to 1929. The song was notably recorded by The Nat King Cole Trio and covered by such great artists as The Four Tops. With Eric's singing and piano playing, this rendition is "fresh" and swings with nice decoration by Ken Stout on soprano sax. Kurt Ribak on upright bass and Robi Bean on drums. Venue: Jupiter.

~ Don't Get Around Much Anymore has a slow piano intro, then takes off in 'Big Band' style! You'll hear a bit of "ragtime" on the bridge of this Ellington classic. Eric Van James, piano; Ken Stout, alto saxophone; Kurt Ribak, upright bass (bass solo); Robi Bean, drums. Arranged by Eric Van James. Venue: Jupiter. * * Special note: Ten songs, on this album, were recorded at Jupiter (all from outdoor performances). Of these ten, six songs were recorded in mid-December, including 'Don't Get Around' and the title track. * *

~ ' Round Midnight evokes the musical spirit of Thelonious Monk. The juxtaposition of the alto saxophone (Ken Stout) to the keyboard-vibes (Eric Van James) is hauntingly exquisite! Kurt Ribak, upright bass; Robi Bean, drums. Venue: Jupiter.

~ All The Things You Are: Highlighted by the tender lyricism Eric Van James achieves on the piano, this beautiful ballad by Kern & Hammerstein swings but smoothly. Kurt Ribak & Ken Stout offer nice touches on upright bass and alto saxophone, respectively. Venue: Jupiter.

~ Moonglow begins with an elaboration of its melody on soprano saxophone. The horn's plaintive wail harkens back to the jubilant sounds of the old French Quarter. Eric Van James comes in, midway, with his vocal. And his keyboard playing keeps the music bouncing. Eric Van James, electric piano & vocal; Ken Stout, soprano saxophone; Dennis Kong, upright bass; Philip Coffin, drums. Venue: Jupiter.

~ Sunny: Bobby Hebb's 1966-classic is treated with deference as well as intensity! After a slow, melodic piano introduction by Eric Van James, the music takes on a different complexion of "modern jazz" in faster tempo. Extended solos by Dennis Kong on upright bass and Philip Coffin on drums. Venue: Jupiter.

~ The Girl From Ipanema: The tempo is faster than you'll normally hear for this famous 'bossa nova' tune. Eric's electric piano/rhythm arrangement is prominent in this cover. Robi Bean's drumming and D. Kong's bass playing are subtle and precise. Ken Stout is featured on alto saxophone. Venue: Jupiter.

~ One Way Out: This blues tune was famously covered by The Allman Brothers Band. Eric Van James got his inspiration via Sonny Boy Williamson's original recording. Eric's vocal will convince you he can sing the blues . . . and his harmonica playing will knock your socks off! Eric Van James, vocal & harmonica; Phil Halseth, alto saxophone; Mark Waterford, lead/rhythm guitar; Rob Munns, bass; Jim Thorne, drums. Sax solo: Phil Halseth. Venue: Angelicas.

~ So What: Eric Van James pays homage to Miles Davis with his finest, improvised piano performance. His playing is truly astounding! Chordal phrasing, modal chromaticism, statement-answer, single-note riffs, percussive playing, glistening arpeggios, and Asian-scale runs are all performed within a relatively brief compass. Eric creates a "comp-solo" steeped in improvisation; certain notes seem to fall, arbitrarily, like sweet drops of rain. A 'theme and variations,' of sorts, is built on/ around quartal harmony of the 'So What' motive. Drummer Robi Bean and bassist Kurt Ribak hold down the rhythm section really tight; Ken Stout tears it up on alto saxophone. Venue: Jupiter. Commenting about the band's performance on 'So What,' Kurt Ribak posted on Facebook: "It was 37 degrees, and we were playing outside!" ~


Piano, keyboard-vibraphone, electric piano, vocals & harmonica: Eric Van James

Sound Recording Editing: Eric Van James

Mastering Engineer: Jeremy Goody

* Produced by Eric Van James *



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