Amazing instrumental music album
Arhippa Kaurapuuro | Helsinki, Finland | 10/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The shopkeeper of local store of old CDs & vinyls had written words "royal fusion - out of print" to price tag of this CD. So I bought it. Since I am big fan of funky R&B and retro-synthesizer/computer music it is easy to believe that I love this album. This album is not jazz. Perhaps not even fusion. This is instrumental music that is influenced by early synthesizer-pop, R&B and jazz. What makes this album so good are the wonderful compositions with good producing work. It is a pity that many lovers of good instrumental music don't know what they could find from jazz shelves of recording stores."
Thumbs Up to HANDS DOWN!
James R. Prater | Cleveland Tn. | 10/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This vintage jewel in the Bob James discography has been unavailable for some years, but now has been reissued on CD for the first time. "Spunky" is one of Bob's most upbeat tunes, and has graced a few workout shows. "Macumba" (a type of voodoo magic which comes in two varieties--black and white--) features members of the vocal cast from SIGN OF THE TIMES, plus new find Rob Zante on the lyricon. Jay Beckenstein and Marcus Miller are used once again on "Shamboozie", supported by a great brass section. The Billy Joel rhythm section and Eddie Daniels are featured on "Janus" (named after the two-headed porter of heaven in the Roman myths). One is reminded of the TV themes of Mike Post or Dave Grusin. Next comes the poignant "Roberta", a tune written by and featuring the late Mike Lawrence. An alternate version of this tune can be found on Lawrence's posthumous release NIGHTWIND. Last, but not least, is "It's Only Me", a fun song, despite its dated (to some) sound."
Catchy, but without soul
Gavin Wilson | 05/13/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bob James became the architect of 70s muzak jazz, helping to define the CTI easy-listening style. He did much to commercialise jazz, and his albums always feature technically adept performances.On this album, we have contributions from such leading lights as Steve Khan, Harvey Mason, Patti Austin, Marcus Miller and Randy Brecker. But James's style stifles the personality of his guest artists. The Rolling Stone Jazz Guide awards 'Hands Down' one star (out of a possible five), which is a little unfair.The stand-out tracks are the popcorn-like 'Spunky', and the fourth track 'Janus' (reminiscent of so many TV theme tunes). 'It's Only Me' isn't too bad as an early 80s synth demo, but has little other merit.For me, Bob James flourished in his partnership with Lee Ritenour on the Fourplay albums. Try them out."