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Bob James: 'Urban Flamingo'

Bob James at the NPR West studios in Culver City, Calif.
Devin Robins, NPR
Bob James at the NPR West studios in Culver City, Calif.

Pianist Bob James has been a major force in jazz for more than 40 years, and he's still going strong -- so don't try to tell him to hang it up just yet.

"I've had a couple of opportunities to receive what is called a 'Lifetime Achievement Award..'" he tells Ed Gordon. "What are they really saying? That your career is over, and so your lifetime is finished? I really don't think it is."

James was discovered by Quincy Jones back in 1963 at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and the rest is, well, history. Over the years, he's produced an eclectic body of work -- composing music for Broadway and television, and making albums with jazz giants like Earl Klugh and David Sanborn.

He's also a founding member of the popular "smooth jazz" group Fourplay. His just-released a new solo CD is called Urban Flamingo.

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