A deep and soulful young vocalist whose international profile has exploded in the last few years, José James has transcended his reputation as a jazz singer to embrace influences including R&B, Moroccan Gnawa music, hip-hop and gospel. On the heels of 2015’s beguiling Billie Holiday centennial tribute Yesterday I Had the Blues and the electro-pop of this year’s Love in a Time of Madness, James returns with music from his new Blue Note release Lean On Me, a celebration of the music of iconic soul singer and composer Bill Withers.
James’s flexibility and omnivorous musical taste is reflected in his hugely diverse résumé, which includes work with jazz great Chico Hamilton as well as electronica hero Flying Lotus. In his review for The New York Times, writer Ben Ratliff described James as “a romantic baritone with a deep-funk band, stretching out songs, evoking both the ’70s of Roberta Flack and Gil Scott-Heron and the ’90s and oughts of J Dilla.” A project blessed by Withers himself, Lean On Me: José James celebrates Bill Withers offers James’ reverent-yet-expansive takes on the soul legend’s enduring classics including “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me,” and “Just the Two of Us,” backed by a stellar band including guitarist Brad Allen Williams (Cory Henry, CeCe Winans), keyboardist Sullivan Fortner (Donald Harrison, Etienne Charles), bassist Ben Williams (Pat Metheny, Stefon Harris), and drummer Nate Smith (Dave Holland, Chris Potter).
“A winningly singular presence in contemporary American music. Not just singular, but magnetic”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Purchase tickets HERE.