Michael James | Confidant

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Jazz: Smooth Jazz Easy Listening: Background Music Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Michael James

My music is instrumental smooth jazz, a touch of South Africa, and vocals on a few of the songs.
Genre: Jazz: Smooth Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Confidant
5:08 album only
2. Work in Progress
4:27 album only
3. Don't You Feel the Way I Do?
4:42 album only
4. Perspective
4:20 album only
5. Sweet and Sour
5:08 album only
6. This Body That I Wear
4:54 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Expression through music is a very personal thing and I am thankful for the privilege of sharing something from my heart and soul. I am so excited to present my music. I hope that everyone will find something they like in each of the songs. With the help of Mike Demus, Dennis Holt, Gary Lunn, Sam Levine, and the incredible Tim Akers this project is by far the best thing that I have ever been a part of. I am extremely pleased with the outcome. This album, and the experience of recording it has was so much fun. My “day job” is in the tech world, and this is a welcome escape to do something that has been my passion for many years. I hope you will let me know if you enjoy these songs.

My sincerest thanks to Mike Demus for his brilliance, and to everyone who graced the project with their time and talent. These are some of the finest producers, composers, arrangers, engineers, and musicians in Nashville and I am both humbled and blessed by their support and friendship. Thanks also to my family for their support and encouragement, and for putting up with my sometimes monotonous and tedious practising. Thanks to all my friends who inspire me to grow musically and in my faith, and for allowing me to be the worst guy on stage. I thank God for His grace on my life especially when I deserved it least, and His continued work in my life as I strive to be the man He wants me to be. "Not that have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." - Philippians 3:12. I am and continue to be a work in progress. - Michael James

Definition: "one to whom secrets are entrusted" (merriam-webster). I wrote this song while on vacation in South Africa in 2016. The panoramic beauty of the ocean, the cyclical rhythms of the waves and the water, and its calming presence inspired the simple melody that became the hook, and the concept of the ocean as a Confidant. The simplicity of this song captures my simplicity as a musician and I love that. I can't yet do fast and fancy licks, so I rely heavily on trying to write a beautiful melody and interesting chord changes. The simple three note hook in the melody is catchy and I hope it is a good illustration of how to take the little you have and try to make something beautiful out of it. I noticed Dennis whistling that melody a couple times in the studio after the B&D tracking, and that made me smile because it hinted at validation.

Work in Progress
I was not sure what to call this song. In an early version I put a note of “work in progress” in the mp3 tags. A friend of mine saw that and asked if that was the title of the song and I said, “That’s a great idea!”. That title is a metaphor for all my music, my journey as a musician, and my life and development as a person. The song has a catchy hook and a simple but cool chord progression. In the latter half of the song I take the rhythm and sound back to the sound of my South African roots. It is fun to hear a bunch of southern dudes from Nashville getting down with a South African jive.

Don't You Feel The Way I Do
I wrote this song many years ago for someone I don't even remember. It expresses my reaction to being dumped--a situation I have found myself in too often, and I'm sure there are a couple people out there who can relate. I have always loved the melody on this and the descending chord progression on the chorus. It has a great bass solo by Gary, cool laid back pocket drumming by Dennis, tasteful B3 by Tim, and beautiful sax and flute work by Sam.

Definition: "the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance" (merriam-webster). This song is my expression of experiencing life through the eyes and mind of my son Nathan who has Down Syndrome. He is a blessing to everyone he encounters, and helps me view the world, life, and his purpose in this world with a proper perspective. He brings joy to everyone he interacts with, and I believe he is destined to do great things. This song is very personal to me. I wrote it over many years as I spent time watching Nathan while he played. It has a great melody and some interesting sounding chord changes. I am still moved when I hear this song, and I know I am biased, but I think it is beautiful.

Sweet and Sour
The title of this song refers to the combination of sweet and sour chords flavored with "butter notes" and dissonance. It is a "twelve-bar smooth" in the style of a twelve-bar blues (eight measures plus a four measure turn around). Although the basic progression is simple the solos provide variation, and highlight the amazing skill and taste of the musicians who lent their talents to this project. Apart from my guitar work it features fretless bass, B3, and sax solos. This is one of my favorite tunes on the album. I hope you like it too!

This Body That I Wear
I wrote this song as a teenager in 1986 initially thinking about race relations in South Africa, but as I wrote it realizing there is more to it than that. We don't choose our parents, where we are born, how we look, or anything else that influences people's perception of us. In part the song reflects on how I wish people would see beyond outward appearance and see the person inside each one of us. The song also talks about how we sometimes hide our true feelings, including pain and suffering, using our outward façade. The essence of this song is captured by the phrase "…under all of this, there is me."

MIKE DEMUS - Producer, Arranger, Engineer, Keyboards, E Guitar

In my opinion Mike is a genius. I'm grateful to know Mike as a friend for thirty years, and I love this guy. I appreciate his talents and connections, but most of all I appreciate him! He is a multi-talented musician, composer, arranger, engineer, producer, and a great guy. He has an amazing work ethic and puts so much care and time into projects--He really takes pride in his work. While working with Mike at times I felt like he could read my mind and know exactly what I was trying to say. He had the ability to see between the lines and understand what I wanted to accomplish beyond my simple fumbled descriptions. He is very sensitive to the preferences of the artist that he is working with, and has a way of bringing out the best in you. One of the things that impresses me most about Mike is his ability to know what to cut for the good of the track. On the one hand I lament seeing so much good material end up on the edit cutting floor as Mike works his pruning magic, but the result is a track that is clean and clutter free. Anyone that doesn't understand and appreciate the value and need for a producer should listen to my music knowing that there is no way I could have done this without his experience, knowledge, wisdom, expertise, and guidance.


Gary is one of my favorite bass players. He has impeccable taste and skill. I felt so privileged to have him play on my stuff, and the experience was surreal. Between takes getting to know Gary and spend time with him was quite special. He is extremely humble and has a heart of gold, a concern for people, and a love and dedication to his family and God. His kind words and compliments meant so much to me. All of the stuff Gary did was amazing, and I know that people will especially enjoy the bass solos on two of the songs. Yes, I said TWO! Gary is technically accurate, extremely creative, and adds an edge to anything he plays that just makes it sound better. I can't wait to work with him again.


I was moved and inspired by the passion and pride with which Dennis spoke about his kids. It is one of those moments when you look at someone and say I need to be more like that, and I need more people like that in my life. I love Dennis' playing. His taste and the care that he puts into choosing what will work best for a song come from years of experience, and a desire for excellence. I did not know what to expect with Dennis because I was not familiar with his music or his style, and I was a little concerned whether he would be a good fit for my music. I was pleasantly surprised at the freshness he brought to my songs. The first track we recorded was "Confidant" and I was blown away! I remember just looking at Dennis after the take and saying "Wow!, wow!". On all the tracks Dennis has such command of the pocket. I LOVE how he lays back in the pocket when the song calls for it. His cymbals are like "butter" and have some of the most gorgeous tones I have heard. Dennis really delivered and I hope I get to work with him again soon.

SAM LEVINE - Sax and Flute

I am so humbled that a musician of Sam's caliber would play my music. I love everything that he played, and I especially love the soprano sax parts that Sam played on "Confidant", and on "Sweet and Sour". He has great tone and control, and he couples that with perfect dynamics, interesting runs, and tasteful melodic playing. I would leap at the opportunity to work with Sam again

TIM AKERS - B3 (Organ)

When I heard the B3 organ tracks Tim added the single word that described what he did was "perfection". The choice of notes, chords, tones, phrasing, syncopation, speed selection, and dynamics show years of experience by a master of his craft. Tim is an accomplished producer, arranger, composer, director, and musician that has worked with so many famous artists far more deserving of his time and talent. It means so much to me to have him play my music, and I don't for a second take that privilege for granted. I am a huge fan of Tim Akers and the Smokin' Section so it was very special to have both Tim and Gary on my project.

DAVID A TERRY - Recording Engineer, Mastering Engineer

David is a phenomenal recording engineer, producer, and a talented musician. It was so great working with him on this project because his experience as a producer allowed him to be a second set of eyes and ears making sure that everything went well in our B&D session. While all of that is quite impressive the thing that I admire most about David is his love and dedication for his family. I had the privilege of watching him perform with his daughter Kimber and spent time with both that evening. We shared stories about our families, and I gained even more respect for David that night. Away from all the silly antics in the studio that make the sessions so much fun David is a hard-working dedicated father and husband. He loves his family and makes it a priority to support them in their efforts and endeavors.

ALAN SANDERSON - Recording engineer for acoustic rhythm parts

Alan recorded some of the acoustic steen guitar tracks. He has some some of the best one liners I have heard and makes sessions so relaxed and so much fun. He is extremely humble and easy to work with. So much so that you forget that he is a grammy award winning producer and engineer who has worked with artists such as The Rolling Stones, BB King, Fleetwood Mac, The Crusaders, Elton John, and the list goes on. His most memorable line to me was "Hey man, we can't mute you if you don't play it!"

Produced and arranged by Mike Demus. All songs written by Michael James. Intros and outros to "Confidant" and "Perspective" by Mike Demus. Bridge sections in "Confidant", "Sweet and Sour", and solo section in "This Body That I Wear" by Mike Demus.

Dedicated to my dad, my friend, my hero, Arthur George James 1944 - 2017



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