The other night, I was thinking about how much I liked the theme song to “Taxi.” Once you get past the misdirection of the overly sweet opening flute theme, it’s a mellow, lightly moody Fender Rhodes keyboard workout that subtly picks up momentum as it goes along.
I hadn’t heard the song in years, but I remembered how it made me feel (a little sad but content, fond of Andy Kaufman and Christopher Lloyd). Its title is “Angela” and its composer/performer is Bob James. Light internet research showed James has the unfortunate habit of being described as one of the founders of smooth jazz, one of the most correctly reviled forms of music there is.James’ music doesn’t sound like the frictionless muzak I know of as smooth jazz. Take “Nautilus,” one of his two other hits. It’s atmospheric, bordering on sinister.
And then there’s “Take me to Mardis Gras.” I don’t want to give anything away, but the opening 30 seconds or so made me jump out of my chair. Yeah, it’s the same guy who wrote the theme from “Taxi.” He’s been in the background, playing music for decades now.