Interview: Jose James Checks In Before SummerStage on August 11

 

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Before hitting SummerStage this Sunday, August 11, Jose James catches up with us about his relationship to Giant Step, his growth as an artist, and what’s up next.

Giant Step: How would you say Giant Step most influenced your music and/or career?

Jose James: Wow. It’s been so great, thank you guys. The first show was at the Hiro Ballroom in NYC opening for the amazing Alice Russell. Then we started the Brownswood Sessions at Nublu with DJ Moni and Taylor McFerrin. Beautiful times! Giant Step really paved the way for what I do, connecting hip-hop, soul, jazz and DJ culture. The London connection, Gilles Peterson, all that. It’s a global movement to present quality music.

GS: We’ve been with you from the start and it’s been a pleasure to see you progress; how would you say No Beginning No End Jose has evolved from The Dreamer Jose?

JJ: Well, I’m more well traveled. That influences you tremendously. When I made The Dreamer I was still in school and had only been to a couple places outside the US – now I’ve toured in 40 countries and counting. I’m actually in Mexico right now. You meet people and see how your music is loved worldwide and that’s a powerful thing. Now I have worldwide family and a great relationship with my fans. It’s beautiful. Musically I’m more comfortable expressing all the worlds I love – soul, R&B, jazz, rock, blues, gospel, hip-hop – and you can hear that on the new album, and in the collaborations – Robert Glasper, Pino Palladino, Emily King, Hindi Zahra.

GS: And where do you see yourself going next? Any challenges/goals you’re keen on tackling?

JJ: I’d like to reconnect with electronic music. I just dropped an EP on Blue Note with remixes by FaltyDL, Oddisee, fLako, and Taylor McFerrin. I lived in London for a year and went to Plastic People, Fabric, Cargo and met great DJs and producers like Benji B, Benga and Skream, Floating Points. So I miss that and want to do more in that world. I’m working on a new album now for next year called Desire.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump

Photo: Jose James ‘No Beginning No End’ Release Show @ Highline Ballroom, NYC

 

Today we’ve got some more photos from the Jose James album release show for No Beginning No End last week. Along with a bunch of new live photos, we’ve also got some exclusive backstage shots thanks to photographer Janette Beckman.

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Jose James Gives an Endlessly Brilliant Performance at Highline Ballroom

 

Last night, Jose James packed a full shoulder to shoulder crowd at the Highline Ballroom in NYC for his No Beginning No End album release show. An eager and attentive crowd would go from standing still in awe to happily grooving, switching in intervals throughout the performance – Jose surely knows how to captivate.

The first half of the show was naturally focused on the new album and material, with Jose gliding across stage and outpouring the euphoria of the moment he felt through that gorgeous voice of his. Then, with a tender and somber Amp Fiddler cover that many assumed would be the final encore, Jose transitioned in a whole second half of the show.

“Park Bench People” was his segue into his older catalog, a song he performed with a proud nostalgic fervor and familiarity as the crowd lit up in cheers with similar sentiments. Jose also sprinkled much of his performance with charming human turntable interludes, “scratching” and “mixing” the song with just his voice. The ante got upped towards the end of the show where he invited Taylor McFerrin to join in on the human turntablism with his impeccable beatbox – the pair were visibly in another land as they vibed back and forth.

Jose also took the time to announce to the audience that him and his wife are expecting a baby girl. The glowing father to be then dedicated a song to his two ladies. It was a beautiful night all around.

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New Release: Jose James – ‘No Beginning No End’

 

The day is finally here for the new Jose James album, No Beginning No End. The work introduces Jose to a more universal audience through his graceful and astute plays with varied styles and genres on the album. He weaves together a sound that is so much more than just jazz and like Robert Glasper did with Black Radio, creates a bridge to help build a new musical frontier.

The star collaborators on the album help it sparkle and shine only more. Producer/bassist Pino Palladino, Glasper, Emily King, Hindi Zahra, and Kris Bowers are just a few of the talents that have helped transcend this project to its highest heights. In case you missed the NPR stream, definitely do kick off your shoes and take a little afternoon break for a listen – you won’t be disappointed.

New Yorkers! Tomorrow is going to be an unforgettable, magical night at the Highline Ballroom as Jose kicks off his US tour with an album release show. Find more details on our event page.

Also, read the recent New York Times article to get a closer look at Jose’s journey and the path that led him to where he is today.

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Enter our contest to win tickets to the NYC album release show tomorrow!

Tour Dates
Jan. 23 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
Jan. 24 – Howard Theatre – Washington DC
Jan. 26 – Scullers – Boston, MA
Jan. 29 – Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
Jan. 30 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
Feb. 10-Mar. 6 – Asia & Australia Tour
Mar. 8 – San Jose Jazz WinterFest – San Jose, CA
Mar. 9 – The New Parish – Oakland, CA
Mar. 10 – Brick & Mortar Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
Mar. 12 – The Del Monte Speakeasy – Los Angeles, CA

Purchase No Beginning No End on iTunes | Amazon

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Video: Jose James – “Trouble” (Live on Letterman) + NPR Stream of ‘No Beginning No End’

 

Jose James yesterday performed on Letterman and released an NPR stream for his upcoming album on Blue Note Records called No Beginning No End. Those listening will find the music low key, approachable, and sensual per usual. Jose also adds about his approach this time:

“I don’t want to be confined to any particular style. I decided I didn’t want to be considered a jazz singer anymore and that was really freeing. Once I realized that jazz singing is just something that I do and it’s just a label, it freed me as an artist to just write without any boundaries.”

The Letterman performance featured a lively band and an energetic James ready to reach listeners with a unique fervor and buoyancy. That man was happy as hell to be on stage – and we were honored to watch.

No Beginning No End drops on January 22. And on January 23, be sure to catch Jose at his album release show on in NYC that kicks off his tour!

Tour Dates
Jan. 23 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
Jan. 24 – Howard Theatre – Washington DC
Jan. 26 – Scullers – Boston, MA
Jan. 29 – Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
Jan. 30 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
Feb. 10-Mar. 6 – Asia & Australia Tour
Mar. 8 – San Jose Jazz WinterFest – San Jose, CA
Mar. 9 – The New Parish – Oakland, CA
Mar. 10 – Brick & Mortar Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
Mar. 12 – The Del Monte Speakeasy – Los Angeles, CA

Pre-Order No Beginning No End on iTunes | Amazon

Facebook | Twitter | Official Site