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José James

Often referred to as a jazz singer for the hip-hop generation, New York City-based vocalist José James combines jazz, soul, drum'n'bass, and spoken word into his own unique brand of vocal jazz. While he states his main influences as John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, and Billie Holiday, his sound on early 12" singles and in live performances brought to mind such icons of '70s jazz-soul as Terry Callier, and his music felt more like an update of the fluid crossover approach of Gil Scott-Heron, while also being distinctly his own. James released his full-length debut album, Dreamer, in 2008 on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood imprint. The album ended up earning him accolades worldwide for its blend of jazz, electronic, soul, and pop styles. It placed at number 21 in Jazz Times' Top 50 for the year. Consequently, James played on prestigious stages all over the world, including those at the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Victoria Jazz Festival, Billboard Live Tokyo, Centro Cultural São Paolo, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Central Park Summerstage in New York, and London's Royal Festival Hall. James made numerous guest appearances on recordings by the Junior Mance Trio, Jazzanova, Nicola Conte, Basement Jaxx, and Chico Hamilton, to name a few. He followed Dreamer with Blackmagic in February of 2010. In May of that year, he also made his Impulse! debut with For All We Know, a collection of standards performed in duet with Belgian pianist Jef Neve. He toured relentlessly for the next year and a half, often sitting in with jazz musicians as well as headlining his own dates in Europe, Japan, and the United States. He signed to Blue Note Records in 2012, and issued "Trouble," his first single for the label, in September of that year. His fourth album, No Beginning, No End, was released in January of 2013. James began composing while on the road. New songs reflected a renewed interest in artists he listened to growing up (Nirvana, Radiohead) as well as newer ones who made an impression (Frank Ocean, James Blake). As a result, he cut While You Were Sleeping, a collection that reflected rock alongside R&B and jazz. It was released in June of 2014. In commemoration of Billie Holiday's 100th birthday, the singer he claimed -- from the very beginning of his career -- as his "musical mother," James recorded nine songs written or associated with her. He fronted a band that included pianist Jason Moran, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Eric Harland. Yesterday I Had the Blues was produced by Blue Note label-head Don Was and released in March of 2015. ~ Matt Collar & Thom Jurek
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Stations Featuring
José James

    Modern Jazz

    Modern Jazz
    4 songs

    Jazz Vocalists

    Jazz Vocalists
    3 songs

    Smooth Vocals

    Smooth Vocals
    1 song

Albums by
José James

Top Songs by
José James

  1.   Song
  2.   Good Morning Heartache
  3.   Tenderly
  4.   Simply Beautiful by Takuya Kuroda
  5.   What a Little Moonlight Can Do
  6.   It's All Over Your Body
  7.   Lover Man
  8.   Strange Fruit
  9.   Body and Soul
  10.   God Bless the Child
  11.   Bodhisattva
  12.   Without U
  13.   Come To My Door
  14.   Park Bench People
  15.   Autumn in New York by Jef Neve Trio
  16.   Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You by Jef Neve Trio
  17.   Just Squeeze Me by Jef Neve Trio
  18.   [Untitled]
  19.   No Beginning No End
  20.   While You Were Sleeping
  21.   The Dreamer
  22.   Lay You Down
  23.   Velvet
  24.   I Thought About You
  25.   XX
  26.   EveryLittleThing
  27.   Salaam
  28.   Dragon
  29.   4 Noble Truths
  30.   Anywhere U Go
  31.   U R the 1
  32.   Angel
  33.   Bird of Space
  34.   Make It Right
  35.   Vanguard
  36.   Sword + Gun
  37.   Code
  38.   Blackmagic
  39.   Warrior
  40.   Save Your Love for Me by DJ Mitsu the Beats
  41.   Touch
  42.   Beauty by Taylor McFerrin
  43.   The Greater Good
  44.   Love Conversation featuring Jordana de Lovely
  45.   Promise in Love
  46.   Blackeyedsusan
  47.   Love
  48.   Desire
  49.   Winter Wind
  50.   Red
  51.   Nola
  52.   Fine and Mellow
  53.   Detroit Loveletter
  54.   Trouble
  55.   Do You Feel
  56.   Tomorrow
  57.   For All We Know by Jef Neve Trio
  58.   When I Fall in Love by Jef Neve Trio
  59.   Embraceable You by Jef Neve Trio
  60.   Heaven on the Ground
  61.   Made for Love
  62.   Lush Life by Jef Neve Trio
  63.   No Tellin' (I Need You)
  64.   Spirits Up Above
  65.   Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You by Jef Neve

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