Sun. Dec. 05, 2021

James Ingram – Lean On Me (MAW Mix)

This Beat Is Mine! James Ingram – Lean On Me (MAW Mix) (MAW Records)

I guess I never understood why and how we started categorizing music, unless for reputedly marketing reasons. A quick look at history of music shows us as to how we’ve been going through a natural evolution. From Soul which got Rhythm & Blues to the next level. To Disco which appeared as an upbeat version of Soul. Not to mention House which brought Disco to another dimension.

Therefore, I suppose we can say Louie Vega and Kenny Dope have acted as so to say anthropologists. Writing the next episode of the ones who stood as their heroes. From George Benson to Jocelyn Brown, Tito Puente and Roy Ayers under their Nuyorican Soul guise. Not to mention Jody Watley and Stephanie Mills among others. And, to a certain extend, they followed the example of Quincy Jones, working with some of the most talented artists of their generation.

Like many at the time, I loved James Ingram duetting with Michael McDonald on the memorable ‘Ya Mo B There’. And I followed him when he explored New Jack Swing along with Teddy Riley on ‘It’s Real’. Therefore, there was no reason I would pass on havin’ a listen to ‘Lean On Me’ back in 2001. And what an outstanding performance he delivered. Scatting and vibrantly jamming with Jocelyn Brown and Patti Austin in the background.

‘Lean On Me’… In other words, definitely one of the reasons that got me into joining Masters At Work‘s fan list at the time.

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This Beat Is MineThis Beat Is Mine! (*)
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For this to happen, nothing’s more easy… What you’ve just got to do is drop us a line while using our contact form and let us know about your favorite piece of music (*), along with a review explaining what it suggests you and why people should dig it. And the best of it will be given a publication with your credit the week after.

With warm thanks to NYC-based correspondent, Paul Miller, for this week’s suggestion…

Gladly welcoming yours to be published next Wednesday. On your marks!

A native of Akron, OH, James Ingram moved to L.A., CA, aged 19, in search of a musical career. There, he would get his first date as a keyboardist playing for the late Leon Haywood. He soon after formed his own band (Revelation Funk) before coming to the attention of Quincy Jones via a demo tape. The latter hiring him on his 1981 ‘The Dude’ album where he landed 3 songs. But also on Patti Austin‘s ‘Every Home Should Have One’ album. With the twosome delivering the memorable ‘Baby Come To Me’ as a duet.
This would be the start of a fruitful collab, with the Dude signin’ him on his own Qwest label via Warner. Jones and Ingram eventually writing together ‘P.Y.T.’ as a part of Michael Jackson‘s 1982 ‘Thriller’ album.

Ingram delivered his debut-album – ‘It’s Your Night’ – the year after. Eventually sharing the duties (this time) with Michael McDonald on ‘Yah Mo B There’. His follow-up – ‘Never Felt So Good’ – saw the light in 1986, generating a moderate success. An album which he co-produced with Keith Diamond, himself remembered for his collaborations with Billy Ocean and Starpoint among others.

He then made a quick foray into New Jack Swing in 1989 with the Teddy Riley produced ‘It’s Real’ (from the album of the name). Eventually contributing to ‘The Secret Garden’ as a part of the Quincy Jones‘ ‘Back On The Block’ album that same year. And he also eventually ventured into soulful/House territories along with Louie Vega and Kenny Dope on the 2001 released ‘Lean On Me’. This with Jocelyn Brown and Patti Austin providing the backing vocals…

James Ingram sadly died, aged 66, from brain cancer, on Jan. 29, 2019, at his home in Los Angeles, CA.

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