Billionaire Blues, the debut CD from David James's GPS

 

After years of providing guitar, vocals and compositions for others, David James, with his ensemble GPS (Good People, Son), has recorded an album that highlights his own writing: Billionaire Blues.

 

Background

San Francisco-born and Oakland-bred guitarist and vocalist David James has been involved in much of the spectrum of the Bay Area music scene, from sculpting guitar feedback and ambient sounds with Thessalonians (1986-1991), to touring and recording with Spearhead (1994-1997) and the Coup (1999-2004), to playing Afrobeat and with (Sila and the) Afrofunk Experience (2004-present) to presenting funky art-song with the Beth Custer Ensemble (2001-present), all the while cultivating his own compositional voice.  

 

The Band

GPS is a rhythm-horns-and-strings sextet which usually consists of Afrolicious trombonist Alan Williams; polymath Dina Maccabee on viola; longtime John Schott cohort John Hanes on drums; creative music scene instigator Lisa Mezzacappa on acoustic bass; film and theater composer and Clarinet Thing bandleader Beth Custer on clarinet; and David James on guitar and vocals.  

 

The Album

Billionaire Blues is the first album of music written by David James. The album was recorded over two days in September, 2015 at Beth Custer's home, with engineer Jeff Cressman bringing his mobile recording rig to the rehearsal studio/long table dining room, and with the band recording live without headphones – only hearing one another in the room.  The challenges presented by recording this way (and the challenges of then mixing such a recording) were outweighed by the natural feel of the process, which made for a deep listening and a extra-attuned responsiveness between the musicians. 

 

The mostly-instrumental album ranges in style and influences: it includes cartoon music ("Wag the Puppy"); elegiac blues ("Billionaire Blues"); reggae ("Rubber Foot"); a waltz ("Powell Doctrine"); a bopping jazzish tune ("Obama Hop"); and various combinations of Afro- and other-beats ("2 Zs, 2 Ps", "Grip", "Black Ops").

 

 

Note: entirely different recordings of both "Black Ops" and "Wag the Puppy" are featured on the recently released album by the Beth Custer Ensemble, For the Grace of Any Man.

 

Have a listen!

 

GPS

David James - guitar, voice

Beth Custer - clarinets

Alan Williams - trombone 

Dina Maccabee - viola

Lisa Mezzacappa

Jan Jackson - drums

 

 Contact: David James

 (415) 312-1233

 demjams@gmail.com

 www.heydavidjames.com

 

Billionaire Blues was funded by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music's Musical Grant Program   

www.sffcm.org

Listen here. 

Buy it here.