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

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