R.I.P. James Ingram

It’s frustrating to hear those who were vital in the creation of your favorite music pass away, without the instant recognition of how instrumental they were in the process.  Ingram was a crucial R&B figure that flourished in the midst of the 1980s, working under the venerability of Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, and Patti Austin. Ingram even co-wrote P.Y.T. (Prety Young Thing) with Michael Jackson for his Thriller release.

Ingram penetrated the music scene in the early 1970s, as one of the charismatic and seducing-singers of the band Revelation Funk. This was the perfect introduction for Ingram, settling in his career during the decade of rambunctious jungle fever and slick-talk nonchalance.

VAfter moving from his native Ohio home to the bustling reservoir of California in the early 1980s, he encountered the presence of Quincy Jones.

This shift in perspective and support influenced the shift in his musical style. Ingram found his voice the most impactful in the evolving realm of R&B music, and once again, came upon the right pinpoint at the right time.

In 1983, Ingram released the album, It’s Your Night. This was around the same era where Disco was ensuring it’s waning survival with the R&B genre, which boosted both of the genres’ potentials in the fabric of glossy American culture.

Ingram confronted the times again with Never Felt So Good in 1986. This album caught on the growing focus on implementing air guitars and robotic grooves into R&B/Disco genre, as Ingram used his vocal potential to savor the late 1980s genre blend.

The song Love’s Been Here and Gone is a feathery theme from the album that exemplified the fluid ability of Ingram’s voice to fit in nearly any musical libretto.

His 1993 album Always You once again caught on with the harmonic, nearly orchestral practice R&B took on during the 1990s. This album fits perfectly in R&B’s growing influx of piano, brass, and strings.

No matter how adaptable he was to the conventions of music, his vocal range proved transcendental for tackling just mere fads. His last album in 2008 entitled Stand (in the Light) confronted the timeless Gospel genre. The instrumentation was just acutely presenting itself, as the forefront was laid for perhaps Ingram’s most solidifying vocal demonstration.

IIngram personified his innate spirit within his singing in this album, which was just appropriate for a pure, Gospel album.

Besides his own material, Ingram was most prominently a student, worker, and beloved friend of Quincy Jones. The most infamous single together, which catapulted Ingram into musical infamy was the single Just Once, released in 1981.

In a remorseful but respectful tone, Jones had this to say in a thoughtful response to the passing of his companion of both work and life.

PThank you for your contribution to American music, and your influence on those who shall carry the torch that you lit. Rest in peace, Mr. Ingram.

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