‘Feel Like Making LIVE! Bob James Trio’ (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

For Jazz enthusiasts and those in the music industry, the name Bob James rings true with that of an accomplished musician and composer. For the unfamiliar, it likely sounds as the most common of names. Rest assured that his accomplishments and skill are not of the common variety though. The 4k UHD Blu-ray release, Feel Like Making LIVE! Bob James Trio, both recaps his background and highlights his band’s talent, with a certain emphasis on the latter. Let’s delve into the DNA of this ultra high definition disc and breakdown the anatomy of its delivery.



Born on Christmas Day in 1939, the two-time Grammy Award winner just does not quit.  As the experience is described, “Bob James has come full circle by returning to the piano trio format that he began his career with 58 years ago.”  The just under 90-minute run time features the Bob James Trio expertly performing an array of live music from a recording studio.  The trio, consisting of bassist Michael Palazzolo, drummer Billy Kilson, and of course, Bob James on piano, takes their home audience on a musical journey that includes tunes like the theme from Taxi (composed by James himself), a relaxed jazz version of Elton John’s Rocketman and also James’ own Westchester Lady.

James gives a brief introduction to each tune before the cameras cut back to the studio performance.  These short bits may give viewer/listeners a little background on the piece itself or why James chose it for the trio’s setlist. For jazz aficionados, this is quite likely the best thing on 4K UHD out there. It is flawless and engaging as it strolls through musical subtleties while turning a corner into a tuned up pace such as Kilson’s drum solo, then gently glides notes back to that classy distinction that James is known for.

Feel Like Making LIVE! is one of those performances that is best viewed without interruption from start to finish in order to fully appreciate the talent of these three men on their respective tools of the trade.  Still, the trio’s music is one of the few discs I can think where it also works as background music.  This dual effect only amplifies the longevity of this disc’s replayability.


Just how good is the video?  If I had the time, I could count the threads in James’ sport coat during his interview in the extras.  The clarity here is second to none.  It’s so impressive in fact that various close-ups on Palazzolo’s bass reveal the brush strokes from the varnish on the instrument.  The color palette from the recording studio features a variety of oranges, blacks and earth tones that are wonderfully paired with the overall feel and vibe of the music on display.  Visual noise is non-existent.  This presentation is as clean as a countertop after Clorox leaves the kitchen.

Technical aspects include 4K resolution (2160p UHD), HDR10 and an aspect ratio of 16:9 1.78:1.



If I could give this a 6 I would, but 5 is the ceiling here on Why So Blu.  You’re going to find your speakers come to life with such a wondrous balance that it is safe to say this disc is completely reference quality from top to bottom, sights to sounds.  There is this exceptional balance between each instrument where each is displayed in audible perfection.  Let’s not forget how the subwoofer comes to life and stands up when Michael Palazzolo goes to work on the bass or when Kilson takes us all to school with his drum solos.  To say the performance sounds clear is an understatement.  ‘Masterpiece’ is a better adjective under these circumstances.

Audio features include Dolby Atmos in Dolby TrueHD, AURO-3D in DTS-HD Master Audio, Uncompressed PCM 2.0 (24 bit/96Hz).



With the extras total run time coming in at just under 27 minutes, there is obviously something more here than just a couple three-minute featurettes.  Viewers are treated to an interview with Bob James followed by three extra tunes (Restoration, Mojito Ride and One Afternoon) that were not in the featured setlist, but were still part of the same filming/recording session.  The interview lasts just over 10 minutes with the three aforementioned tunes filling out the rest of the time.

Additionally, there is also a 35-page booklet that comes with the disc which serves as a quick biography on each member of the trio, the songs played on the disc, and finally brief covering of immersive audio and 3D sound mixing.

If I have to nitpick, I would have liked interviews with the other two trio members as such inclusions would have been welcomed additions.  Also, the three additional tunes don’t really feel like extras.  They’re more like tunes from the set list moved to a different part of the disc.  Nevertheless, what we have here is above average and an appreciated assembly.



One can surmise that if you are not a fan of jazz, then this disc probably isn’t going to be in your wheelhouse.  Pfft.  Don’t let that stop you from getting a little culture.  If you are a music connoisseur and/or have a love for jazz, what are you doing not owning this?  Feel Like Making LIVE! is a thing of beauty to the eyes and especially the ears.  The roughly hour and a half delivery flies by as we are treated to three masters putting on a show of impressive skill and artistry.  It is a magnificent example of what 4K Ultra High Definition can do when the right team is on task.





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