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

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