Cult of Beauty is the eleventh album by San Francisco guitarist Gregory James. Like the best of James’ previous work, this one pinches from the raw soulfulness of earliest jazz-rock-funk adventures. And as much as it features his nimble guitar work, it also exposes the explosive rhythms of bassist Kai Eckhardt, drummer Deszon Claiborne, and keyboardist Osam Ezzeldin.
Gregory James grew up in San Francisco, absorbing what he calls “one big, beautiful mélange of American music.”—a fusion of Broadway and Jazz hybrids, like Charles Lloyd Quartet, and psychedelic rock coming from Golden Gate Park. “That’s probably why I tend to blur jazz and rock more thoroughly than a lot of people,” he says. His first album, Alicia, was released with the Gregory James Quartet on New York’s Inner City label in 1978. Over the next three decades, he produced records for Paul McCandless, Ron Miles, Peter Michael Escovedo, Jenny Scheinman, Raul Rekow, Karl Perazo, Paul van Wageningen, Celia Malheiros, and others.