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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

    New R&B First

    New R&B First
    2 songs

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

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