I tend to take a lot of static from other critics and some readers because I like Bob James a lot. The patter usually runs: "Dude, you? The guy who loves King Crimson, Sun Ra, Led Zeppelin, Morton Subotnick, and God only knows who else among heavies and noiseurs……you like Bob James???". Well, there's a time and place for everything, and good music is good music no matter what shape it comes in, so, yeah, I dig James. Eddie Gip Noble plies the keyboards with a richly rhythmic hand, and not only is his list of accomplishments as thick as a phone book, playing with such a roster of the greats as would make even Clive Davis swoon, but he possesses broad tastes as well, lovingly comping Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Sting, Michael Jackson, and others on *In the Lite of Things*.
Noble has much in common with James, both being consummate players with impeccable touch and timing as well as the ability to be exceedingly forthright and then quite subtle in colorations and soloing intelligence. These qualities have made him very popular indeed with Gladys Knight, The Drifters, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Etta James, Albert Collins, Joe Walsh, Herbie Hancock, Ronald Muldrow, and far too many others to list. Ah, but that's not all. Eddie's distinctive good looks and abilities have landed him acting jobs playing musicians on TV and in films: Bird, City Heat, Animal House, and a bunch of other flicks while appearing on Dallas, Knots Landing, and many other television shows.
His arrangement sensibilities have prompted many top acts to hire him as musical director, and this CD demonstrates in no uncertain terms why. Every cut is full, effulgent in its layers, inventive, and fresh as hell. More than once, I was minded of what the immortal Crusaders might have done had they gone semi-orchestral (think Street Life and other gems), and there's a shade of Ferrante & Teicher in here as well, that sense of vaulting elation the pair covered so well. In this mode, it's not what you play but how you play it, and I find that Noble has it all over cats like Dan Siegel and Tom Grant in a domain where lite jazz and soft rock meet to redefine themselves.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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