Soulful Jazz and Hip-Hop
A deep and soulful young vocalist whose international profile has exploded in the last few years, José James has transcended his reputation as a jazz singer to embrace influences including R&B, Moroccan Gnawa music, hip-hop and gospel. On the heels of 2015’s beguiling Billie Holiday centennial tribute Yesterday I Had the Blues and the electro-pop of 2017’s Love in a Time of Madness, James returns with music from his new release Lean On Me, a celebration of the music of iconic soul singer and composer Bill Withers.
James’s flexibility and omnivorous musical taste is reflected in his hugely diverse résumé, which includes work with jazz great Chico Hamilton as well as electronica hero Flying Lotus. In his review for The New York Times, writer Ben Ratliff described James as “a romantic baritone with a deep-funk band, stretching out songs, evoking both the ’70s of Roberta Flack and Gil Scott-Heron and the ’90s and oughts of J Dilla.” A project blessed by Withers himself, Lean On Me: José James celebrates Bill Withers offers James’ reverent-yet-expansive takes on the soul legend’s enduring classics, including “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me,” and “Just the Two of Us,” backed by a stellar band including guitarist Brad Allen Williams (Cory Henry, CeCe Winans), keyboardist Sullivan Fortner (Donald Harrison, Etienne Charles), bassist Ben Williams (Pat Metheny, Stefon Harris), and drummer Nate Smith (Dave Holland, Chris Potter).
What Other People Have Been Saying...
Using his musical mentors John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday as compasses, he continues to successfully blur the lines between musical genres through his love of connecting to audiences worldwide.“…on the brink of superstardom…” check out this JazzInk article by Andrea Canter here