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October 23, 1981 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Page 8-Friday, October 23, 1981-The Michigan Daily

4

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Michigan Union BIrm.
2 shows! 8&1O: 30
Tickets are 6.50 general admission and are
now at the Michigan Union Box Office and
outlets.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 763-6922

Bob James: Coming home. Photo by ARLENE KRIV

on sale
all CTC

James' music no longer taboo'

__ _

A'

C.K. sPURLOCK AMP
PRESENT
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GALLAGH ER
KING OF THE SLEDGE-O-MMatC :
LIVE IN CONCERT

GUEST STAR I

(Continued from Page 1) .
his previous solo albums (with the ex-
ception of One-on-One with Earl
Klugh), James decided it might be an
appropriate time for a slight departure
from the customary. "But I didn't want
to go to an outside producer because I
still wanted to maintain artistic con-.L
trol." So, in a number of respects,
Temperton was a logical choice as
collaborator.
Yet it was probably James' desire for
artistic growth that played the biggest
role in his decision to bring in Temper-
ton as collaborator. "Ideally, what I'd
like to do has enough similarity [to
recent material], so that my style
shows through-so I can maintain my
own personality. It's tempting, once
you've found a formula, to use the same
musicians ... But the listening audien-
ce is fickle and they say 'that's great,
but let's go on.' As a creative person it's
important to grow."
AND IT IS this ability to grow, to
adapt as an artist, that distinguishes
Bob.James. As a result, he has also
decided to tour more of late. "It's im-
portant to keep the balance betweenli
studio and live performances."
Similarly, he has made another recent
decision that has had a significant
bearing on his evolution as an artist.
Four years ago, James adven-
turously signed a three-year contract
with CBS records to heada subsidiary
record production company of his own,
entitled Tappan Zee Records. The deal
was particularly compelling because it
allowed the opportunity for complete
artistic control and freedom not only in
the production of James' own music,
but in the presentation of other artists
and the determination of much of their
musical concepts, packaging and
graphics.
A year later, James told the Daily
that, "If I ever thought the company
was getting to the point where it was
jeopardizing my artistic career and I
was not able to do what I wanted as a

musician, I hope I'd have the courage to
abandon it completely." -
REFLECTING ON THAT comment
of three years ago, James remarked,
"That was prophetic." Earlier this
year, he chose not to sign a new con-
tract with CBS to continue Tappan Zee.
"It was just an experiment. It just
wasn't possible to do both [music and
business] well, and the only choice was
to take on just the company. And it was
then or not at all. I couldn't do
that-keep it going. ..I'm much hap-
pier now; I'm just a musician.
James' present contented situation as
an artist is the direct result of this
ability to make a crucial artistic choice.
"Often when there is a big decision that
will affect your life, people are scared
to say 'hold it, I'm not going to do it
anymore.' I was fortunate that I had
two things to do. But all this middle
class morality that was ingrained into
me, told me that music was unstable,
that being an executive was more
legitimate.... I'm confident now about
doing my thing for the rest of my life."
Yet James's present artistic sen-
sibility is the culmination of much more
than a few crucial decisions in the
recent past. In fact, his current artistic
conceptions and objectives bear a
remarkable contrast to those he held
upoi leaving the University.
An avante-garde musician in and
immediately after college, James once
even played trumpet mouthpiece with-
John Cage on a Cage composition. After
leaving school he released his first
album, a rather progressive wotk en-
titled Explosion.
THEN, WHEN JAMES released his
first CTI (Creed Taylor Inc.) solo effort
One(in 1974), a more readily discer-
nable pattern of artistic evolution was
established.
The sudden departure from the avan-
te-garde roots of the Explosion album
to the distinctively more accessible.One,
is logically marked by a significant

IN THE ROUND'

NOVEMBER 8 CRISLER ARENA -7 P.M.

I_

Tickets are $15.00 and $12.50 and are available at the Michigan Union
Ticket Office, Hudson's and CTC outlets. For mail order, send stamped, self-
addressed envelope with a certified check or money order to Kenny Rogers
Major Events, 530 South State, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Good seats still
available!
A MAJOR EVENTS PRESENTATION
Personal Managenment: Ken Kragen

change in Jambs' artistic disposition.
"The main difference is in knowingA j
like to communicate with an audience. I:6
know now what\ I like to do and what I
don't like. [In college,] I was still
thinking about music as an art form, as
a process in itself. But I didn't like the
audience--they weren't important,"
James said.
"I eventually realized that all the
people that felt this way were not very
interestingthemselyes. I can still do.
what I want to do without' being.as
pretentious as that." James also gave
up worrying about artistic goals such a
becoming "a Gershwin or Stravinsky."
YET AMIDST ALL this change, Bob
James was able to maintain his own ar-
tistic integrity in spite of record com-,
pany pressures and his own tremen-
dous material success. 'I don't resent
the pressure.from the company. I feel
good about my position, because the
music I like to make is the nIusic that is
expected of me, so it's a very good
marriage," James said. They're [the
music company] thrilled.. .my artistic.
freedom is compatible with my record
contract.''
So, ironically, for James it's very
material success that has produced an
artistic freedom. "In sixteenw years; a'
lot of things merge. The success I
wasn't expecting became its own
reason to pursue financial freedom-no
more hack arranging jobs or jobs that I
didn't want ... Now I can be basically
selfish about what I do. I do what I want,
to do," he said.
"What I want to do" for Bob James
the artist, he said, is allowing "a lot of
people to get into my muic ... I don't
like looking down on my audience."
THUS, HE HAS reached that rare ar-
tistic and material equilibrium. 'He is
perched in the precarious balance of
powerful and contradictadory forces.
That such an artist as James exists is
a sanguine note for Eclipse. Largely as
a result of President Reagan's budget
cuts, Eclipse was unable to obtain what
members say was a badly needed
National Endowment for the Arts grant
this year. This grant would have been-
directed toward non-revenue
generating programs such as
educational workshops, Bright Momen-
ts concerts, and jam sessions, as well as
the improvisational workshop for local
musicians held every Monday. In short,
according to Eclipse spokesman Max
Dehn, "a non-profit arts group has been
suddenly cut loose into the free-market
context."
Fortunately for Eclipse, James is "a
big supporter of Eclipse. .. and so we
talked about doing a benefit. I'm really
looking forward to it," James said.
And Eclipse's reaction? "I really
respect the hell out of the guy for doing
it," Dehn said. "Bob James is one of the
few people who would ever put on a
benefit for Eclipse."
In the end, everybody wins. Eclipse is
able to raise badly needed funds
through the benefit concert. Bob James
fans are treated, to the pleasure and
rare opportunity of seeing a Bob James
concert performance. And Bob James
gets to play music both for himself nd
for his audience. '

I i.._

NOV. 4 Hill Auditorium

I

Tickets are $11, $10, and $9 and are on sale now at the
Michigan Union Ticket Office and CTC outlets.,
A MAJOR EVENTS PRESENTATION

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