Grace from Persistence Christopher James

Cover Grace from Persistence

Album info

Album-Release:
2019

HRA-Release:
17.07.2019

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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Formats & Prices

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FLAC 96 $ 12.80
  • 1Awakening04:09
  • 2Get on with It03:06
  • 3Mother Russia (fantasy based on a theme by Scriabin)03:16
  • 4Where’s Frederick?03:31
  • 5Beyond the Stars04:33
  • 6Grace from Persistence03:40
  • 7Yes and No02:34
  • 8Weimar Blues04:27
  • 9Cul-de-Sac04:46
  • 10Neitherworld03:39
  • Total Runtime37:41

Info for Grace from Persistence



Composer Christopher James’s album "Grace from Persistence", his third as a solo artist, represents a synthesis of musical genres from jazz and pop to classical and film music, informed by his many years composing in a variety of styles for film and television.

The album was recorded in July and August 2018 in Portland, OR and New York City, and features more than 30 musicians, including Mr. James on piano, the Catalyst Quartet, and members of the Oregon Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Talea Ensemble.

“My intention as always is to find a connection to people’s hearts and minds; to paint a musical picture with color and emotion; and, for better or worse, to unveil a discovery that is not a straight line from point A to point B. The title comes from an idea that my longtime collaborator Bob Stark suggested for one of the pieces on the album, and after I recently saw a film describing Native Americans beliefs about the Saguaro cactus, the title took on a new resonance for me. Each of these sacred Saguaros is considered to be a unique individual, surviving on its own despite nature’s extremes. Its state of grace is achieved through indefatigable determination to defy all odds, and the existence of this physical and spiritual icon serves as a metaphor for our persistence in the face of the world’s many challenges.” (Christopher James)

Grace from Persistence was preceded by Mr. James’s solo albums House by the Railroad (2015) and The Sad Waltz (2017). House by the Railroad was inspired by his family history in Portland, OR, while The Sad Waltz is a collection of stylistically varied compositions written programmatically for an imagined visual environment. All three of Mr. James’s solo albums were created in collaboration with engineer, co-writer, and co-producer Bob Stark, and The Sad Waltz and Grace from Persistence were both mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Kevin Killen. Prior to his work as a solo artist, Mr. James partnered with Jeff Leonard under the name Val Gardena, and together they recorded five albums from 1994 to 2013, including three releases on Mercury Records.

"The album begins with “Awakening,” a piece that borders on being ambient. Piano, wordless vocals, bass and light percussion plus subtle string orchestration create a soft and dreamy atmosphere much like the feeling of gradually waking up on a lazy Saturday morning. “Get On With It” is completely different. A catchy beat and a jolly, almost whimsical clarinet and flute duo send this one dancing in a joyful, swirling motion. I really like this one! “Mother Russia (fantasy based on a theme by Scriabin)” has a mysterious, melancholy old-timey feeling that could have come from a movie from the 1940’s - very evocative and elegant. “Beyond the Stars” has the dramatic but spooky essence of an older scary movie. I think it’s the bowed and pizzicato strings that give it that feeling. The title track is somewhat more electronic with a peaceful repeated pattern on the piano with a gentle melody played on keyboards and electric guitar. Beautiful and very soothing, it’s another favorite. “Yes and No” picks the tempo back up with an energetic ensemble work for at least most of the group. “Neitherworld” returns to a more ambient style, but this time it’s quite dark. Muted trumpet and piano make a gorgeous combo with light strings in the background, and bring the album to a quiet close." (Kathy Parsons, mainlypiano.com)

Catalyst Quartet:
Jessie Montgomery, Violin
Karla Donehew Perez, Violin
Paul Laraia, Viola
Karlos Rodriguez, Cello

Keiko Araki, Violin
Thomas Barber, Trumpet
Barry Crawford, Bass Flute
Tony Falanga, Acoustic Bass
Ben Fingland, Clarinet
Molly Fletcher, Violin
Greg Goebel, Piano
Kelly Gronli, Oboe
Paloma Griffin-Herbert, Violin
Nancy Ives, Cello
Christopher James, Piano
Alan Jones, Drums
Peggy Kampmeier, Piano
Jon Lakey, Acoustic Bass
Richard Locker, Cello
Elizabeth Mann, Flute
Andy Middleton, Tenor Sax
Cameron Derek Morgan, Guitar
John Nastos, Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Charles Noble, Viola
Charles Pillow, Violin
Randy Porter, Piano
John Romeria, Alto Flute
Louise Schulman, Violin
Andy Snitzer, Soprano Saxophone
Mike Snyder, Drums, Percussion
Bob Stark, Programming, Keyboards, Guitars
Jessica Wasko, Vocals
Jack Weaver, Programming



Christopher James
(born Christopher James Roberts) is an American composer, producer (Paula Cole, Renée Fleming, Val Gardena) and ex-CEO of Universal Music Group’s Classical and Jazz division. An accomplished classical pianist, he earned a B.A. in Music and German Literature at Lewis and Clark College in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. His graduate studies in Musicology at the University of Illinois took him to Germany for post-graduate research. He stayed, and for several years he composed and produced music for the German film and television industry. With a style reflecting pop, as well as his classical and jazz training, Mr. James’s music was heard in prime time on various German National TV networks. Musical influences include Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Brian Eno, Jimmy Webb, John Barry, George Gershwin, Bach, Chopin, Ravel, and Stravinsky.

In 1988 a unique opportunity presented itself when PolyGram Records was refocusing its strategy on International markets. Roberts was brought on board to lead this effort in New York City. Five years later he was promoted to President of Classical and Jazz Music. During his tenure, Christopher oversaw the worlds largest and most successful classical and jazz label group while working with, and signing, some of the genre’s greatest artists, including Luciano Pavarotti, The Three Tenors, Renèe Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Lang Lang, Chris Botti and Andrea Bocelli. Additionally, he was executive producer on some of the most successful albums of the past twenty five years including Sting’s On a Winters Night, Gladiator (soundtrack), Wicked (Broadway Cast and Grammy winner), Spamalot (Broadway Cast and Grammy™ winner) and The Boy from Oz featuring Hugh Jackman.

During the 1990’s, Christopher James quietly continued composing with his group Val Gardena releasing three albums for Mercury Records including a top 10 single “Northern Lights”.

James is now re-dedicating himself to his true passion of composing and making new recordings. Over the last five years he has released four albums: A Different Place, A Different time; Synesthesia; House by the Railroad and the new album, The Sad Waltz, produced with his long term collaborators; Bob Stark and grammy award winning engineer, Kevin Killen.

Christopher James’ owns all his master recordings and publishing rights and composes works across multi-genres for synch and licensing use. He is also available as a producer/composer for hire.

Booklet for Grace from Persistence

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