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

New Release: Jose James – ‘Come To My Door’ EP

 

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Following up his Blue Note debut, No Beginning No End, the magical Jose James has just released a 5-song EP called Come To My Door. Highlighted on the album are remixes by Taylor McFerrin, FaltyDL, Oddisee, and Flako, as well the title track, penned by Emily King.

Also, gear up for Jose’s performance at this Sunday’s SummerStage show with the below behind the scenes video of him rehearsing for his No Beginning No End album release show!

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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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