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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

    Jazz Vocalists

    Jazz Vocalists
    3 songs

    Smooth Vocals

    Smooth Vocals
    1 song

    Modern Jazz

    Modern Jazz
    3 songs

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

Artists Related to José James


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