Bob James

Anthology

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Released in 2000, this is often confused with the Warner Bros. two-CD Restoration. While on the surface the two looked nearly identical, there are major differences. Unlike Restoration, Anthology only features James' work from 1974 to 1984. For pure fusion fans, that's the best news of all. To make it better, wonder of all wonders, Anthology actually features the songs that defined James' styles of the era. This also couldn't start off better. Bucking chronology, 1978's "Angela (Theme From Taxi)" is the better introduction to the set. Anthology also offers a heavy amount of James' work with Creed Taylor and CTI. While many surely can live without "Night on Bald Mountain" and the cover of "Take Me to the Mardi Gras," seminal jazz/funk fusion tracks, including "Nautilus" and "Westchester Lady," have more than held up. Although the initial work for CBS was overwhelming, Anthology judiciously picks from classic efforts, including Touchdown and Lucky Seven. The fatuous yet classy fun of Rod Temperton's "Sign of the Times" works as well as anything here. Although essentials "The Genie," "Right As Rain," and "The Afterglow" don't show up here, what is here manages to attain the essence of James' often-underrated '70s and '80s efforts.

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