This compilation features recordings made between 1950 and 1959 and proves the outstanding pianist to be an equally brilliant and exciting performer of the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and Strauss. In addition the compilation boasts highlights from the legendary 1956 Birdland sessions.
Of all the things Bob James has done over the years, he remains best known for composing "Angela (Theme From Taxi)." That likable tune was first released on 1979's Touchdown, and it was recorded again for this 1983 release, which focuses mainly on background music he wrote for the popular television comedy. Dull background music had been James' forte since the mid-1970s, and in that sense, The Genie isn't out of the ordinary for him. "Angela" is the only tune on the CD that's memorable; one could listen to The Genie several times and still have a hard time remembering any of the melodies except "Angela." The Genie enjoyed airplay on some stations that claimed to be jazz-oriented, but truth be told, selections like "Night Moods" and "Groove for Julie" are really instrumental pop with slight jazz overtones. Of course, whether The Genie should be called jazz or pop isn't the thing that matters the most. The bottom line is that most of the material is neither interesting nor stimulating.