There is a new wave of jazz musicians taking over the scene with the kind of vitality, creativity and energy that only youth can bring to such an esteemed tradition. José James is among those musicians making waves across the world and he has been a favorite of ours since our Brownswood Sessions days. Giant Step is excited to be bringing José James for a special evening at Littlefield in Brooklyn, NY on Friday, December 3rd. Always taking on new challenges, José will be giving a Billy Strayhorn two-night tribute concert this weekend at the Lincoln Center under the direction of Wynton Marsalis that already has New York buzzing. Read what Time Out New York has to say about it here.
After giving an amazing performance last week in Boston at the beautiful Woodward at Ames, José James zipped back to New York City to make an appearance later that week at the Lincoln Center. Along with Robert Glasper and Bilal on the bill these gentlemen thrilled the audience and made very clear, just how unclear the line between jazz and soul can be. Check out what the New York Times had to say about him, and about the re-emergence of jazz in the mainstream.
Our friends at AMG have dubbed Gregory Porter to be “up there with José James,” as far as male vocalists in the amorphous genre called Jazz. You know how we feel about José James, and we’re more than grateful to hear all this new male vocal talent.
Download the song “Pretty” from his album Water. “Love makes us all crazy,” he says of this song. A soulful tribute to a woman from Porter’s past, “Pretty” is an understated ensemble piece that is bolstered by the alto sax work of Yoske Sato.
Gregory Porter – “Pretty” from Water [MP3]
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“Lush Life,” the jazz standard written by Billy Strayhorn and famously recorded by Johnny Hartman with John Coltrane is an iconic song for most jazz fans. In this video, the new vocal sensation José James discusses the importance of the song, from its original conception (by Billy Strayhorn in his teens) to its forward-moving musical nature.
After the explanation by James, treat yourself to his sublime version of “Lush Life,” performed live with Belgian pianist Jef Neve. The song comes from their album on Impulse!, For All We Know, available in stores now.