Singer-songwriter José James has always been on the quest for new musical horizons; constantly evolving and blurring the lines between genres in the process. Now on the heels of his critically acclaimed Blue Note Records debut No Beginning No End, José returns with his dynamic and daring fifth album While You Were Sleeping. While keeping his trademark soulful baritone at the forefront, José adeptly weaves elements of indie rock, folk, funk, blues, hip hop and R&B into an experience journeying from desire to introspection and spiritual epiphany. “As an artist, I’m going to keep evolving,” he says resolutely. “I think my fans have now come to expect this from me. They want to know what I’m going to do next.” Read More...
Love in a Time of Madness (Blue Note, winter 2017)
“There’s a war going on in America and in the world. A war against the poor, against people of color; against women, immigrants, and innocent children. Voices are being silenced, families broken apart. Dreams are being shattered, and blood is being spilled in the streets. Police brutality is on the rise and human rights and dignity for black people in this country is all but non-existent.
Yet at the same time, we’re living in an extraordinary new moment of social protest, of digital communication and documentation of brutality. We’ve begun a new era of global connection, and a possible step towards equal rights and understanding. In this moment a new generation must ask the question: “What is the value of human life? And of what value is love?”
- José James
“Love in a Time of Madness” is José James’ forthcoming album and 4th for the world-famous Blue Note label. “I wanted to share the music with my fans first, before it became an album. I think it’s an amazing way to connect with people. See what moves an audience. That way, I’m only including songs on the record that are proven to inspire people. It’s tremendously rewarding to share my music like this, and this way my fans help me to create the album.”
Working with an international group of writers and producers James is crafting a new sound and style inspired by influences such as Frank Ocean, Usher, Miguel and John Legend, and extend-ing the R&B and Hip Hop thread that has run throughout much of his work. “This album is every-thing I love about music. The songs are so dope! For me its all coming full circle. I discovered jazz through hip-hop and rap tracks produced by Qtip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Prince Paul, RZA, Rick Rubin and Madlib, people like that. So sampling Donald Byrd and Ronnie Laws and working with beat makers is so rewarding. I’ve always had R&B in my work going all the way to my first albums. Tracks like Blackeyedsusan on “The Dreamer” and Made For Love and Blackmagic with Flying Lotus. Working with Robert Glasper, Chris Dave and Pino Palladino on “No Beginning No End” was amazing too. This album takes it to the next level.
Featuring a live band, José James presents a stripped down, intimate view of the album. With Takeshi Ohbayashi on keys, Solomon Dorsey on bass and vocals, and Nate Smith on drums, James combines the fluidity of jazz with sensual R&B songwriting, stretching over hip hop beats.
“Catch up with Jose James now because he’s a rarity – an artist evolving at warp speed.”
—NPR All Things Considered
“The vocalist José James makes utterly contemporary music…in his elegant, cerebral, seductive way… [He] skirts categories with ease, fitting in with current R&B innovators like Frank Ocean or Miguel, yet maintaining a strong awareness of a lineage that stretches from Ray Charles to Marvin Gaye to Lou Rawls to Maxwell… he holistically heals the rift between radio-friendly songcraft and virtuoso flair.”
“[James has] always been one to try stuff out – he successfully collaborated with Flying Lotus on Blackmagic… he finds a way to make an eclectic approach feel unified and whole.”
“[James] sounds like the result of the black-pop continuum, jazz and soul and hip-hop and R&B, slow-cooked for more than 50 years.”
—The New York Times
“Is José James a jazz singer or a soul singer? Old school or new school? A guardian of tradition or a seeker of thrills? Yes, yes and yes.”
—Los Angeles Times
“James [is a] genre hybridist who claims both b-boys and jazz purists in his fan base… a win-ningly singular presence in contemporary American music. Not just singular, but magnetic.”
—Los Angeles Times
- José James Celebrates Billie Holiday at the Blue Note
- José James interviewed by NPR about his new album of Billie Holiday covers
- José James interview with Revive Music
- José James' 'No Beginning No End' reviewed on Pitchfork
- José James featured in the Los Angeles Times
- Jose James featured in The New York Times
- José James' 'No Beginning No End' featured on NPR's First Listen
- José James' Santa Monica performance ranked one of the best of the year by the LA Times
- José James featured in Interview Magazine
- José James' Harlem Stage Gatehouse performance reviewed in The New York Times
- José James' performance with Robert Glasper reviewed in the Los Angeles Times