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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 has combined jazz, soul, drum'n'bass, and spoken word into his 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 soul-jazz 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. Two years later, he appeared in the film Fifty Shades Darker and continued to confound expectations with his fourth Blue Note album, Love in a Time of Madness, on which he embraced commercial R&B sounds. ~ 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.   Come To My Door
  9.   Strange Fruit
  10.   Body and Soul
  11.   God Bless the Child
  12.   Without U
  13.   Sword + Gun
  14.   Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You by Jef Neve Trio
  15.   Just Squeeze Me by Jef Neve Trio
  16.   Park Bench People
  17.   Autumn in New York by Jef Neve Trio
  18.   They Can't Take That Away from Me by Danny Elfman
  19.   Embraceable You by Jef Neve Trio
  20.   Always There
  21.   4 Noble Truths
  22.   While You Were Sleeping
  23.   Angel
  24.   Anywhere U Go
  25.   Desire
  26.   I'm Yours
  27.   Breakthrough
  28.   You Know I Know
  29.   Ladies Man
  30.   Live Your Fantasy
  31.   Remember Our Love
  32.   Last Night
  33.   Let It Fall
  34.   What Good Is Love
  35.   To Be With You
  36.   Closer
  37.   Fine and Mellow
  38.   XX
  39.   EveryLittleThing
  40.   Salaam
  41.   Dragon
  42.   Bodhisattva
  43.   U R the 1
  44.   Do You Feel
  45.   Vanguard
  46.   Lush Life by Jef Neve Trio
  47.   Blackeyedsusan
  48.   The Dreamer
  49.   Tomorrow
  50.   No Beginning No End
  51.   Trouble
  52.   When I Fall in Love by Jef Neve Trio
  53.   For All We Know by Jef Neve Trio
  54.   Nola
  55.   Velvet
  56.   I Thought About You
  57.   Bird of Space
  58.   Make It Right
  59.   Heaven on the Ground
  60.   Spirits Up Above
  61.   Red
  62.   Winter Wind

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