MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Bob James is one of those musicians you may not have heard of but who you’ve likely heard.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOB JAMES’S “NAUTILUS”)
KELLY: That’s his song “Nautilus,” just one of his songs which went on to become building blocks of hip-hop.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “DAYTONA 500”)
GHOSTFACE KILLAH: (Rapping) Say peace to cats who rock mack knowledge. Knowledgists (ph), street astrologists, light up the mic, God, knowledge this. Fly joints that carried your points, Corolla Motorola holder…
KELLY: Bob James is also a studio musician. Here’s his work on Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love.”
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “FEEL LIKE MAKIN LOVE”)
ROBERTA FLACK: (Singing) Strolling in the park, watching winter turn to spring.
KELLY: James has made plenty of music in later years, too, music which you might call smooth jazz. But when we asked him to speak with us, we wanted to