Black Magic Import
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Brooklyn-based, Panamanian/Irish 20-something James honed his jazz chops by scatting along to Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong between rapping to hip hop albums and writing lyrics to tracks by Coltrane.
He took a pretty direct route to getting DJ/zeitgeist monitor Gilles Peterson's attention. He flew over to London, went out clubbing and slipped the hugely influential DJ and prescient A&R man a copy of his demos.
Intrigued by the hip young singer's attitude and by his subtle baritone smokey, dusky vocals, Gilles Peterson took a listen and - blown away by his stunning vocal version of Trane's classic tune "Equinox" - immediately signed him to his thriving young indie label Brownswood.
Thus he bursts on to the scene, jazz guns blazing, blasting away the likes of Michael Bublé and Jamie Cullum and proving himself the sort of singer jazz lovers have been crying out for.
The album takes a couple of plays to really appreciate and is more soul oriented than his debut "The Dreamer".
"Promise In Love" and "Greater Good" are nice soulful mid tempos with horn backing.
"Lay You Down' has a D'Angelo feel to it, and "Save Your Love For Me" is a nice beat ballad.
The more acoustic jazzier "Touch" has great keyboards and "Warrior" is heavier jazz.
All in all, this is strong album from one of jazzs hippest young performers on the market : for jazz fans or romantics, there's plenty to admire and whether it makes you want to catch James live, or put the CD on at dinner parties for some soothing, unobtrusive backing,there's a goldmine to be tapped.Read more ›
I am more than happy to say that James topped himself with his sophomore release, Blackmagic.
It's entirely unfair (and incorrect) to categorize Blackmagic as a straight jazz album. Blacksmagic defies categorization. James recalls legends like Gil Scott Heron, Terry Callier and Jon Lucien in that he comes from an angle that's both jazzy at its core AND conventionally soulful all while creating a lushly unique vibe that is all his own.
The brilliant Flying Lotus, DJ Mistsu the Beats, Taylor McFerrin (son of Bobby) and Moodyman all contribute production, helping to further defy categorization. FL's three contributions (Code, the standout Made for Love and the title track), in particular, all arrive at a perfect meeting point that merge his trademark celestialness with James' wistful old-soul groove.
All thirteen of Blackmagic's tracks (as well as the slow burning 10-minute jazz vocal piece "The Light" that rounds out the album as a bonus track) radiate with so much soul, feeling and creativity.
This album is proof that good music is still being made and released. You just won't hear it on the radio!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Yeah that sounds freaking amazing I've Ben bumpin this album for years. Yeah that sounds a Timeless classic to me. Too bad it's going to be unnoticed to societyPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love this album - Jose James is still one of the best soul singers today. Included it in my best albums of the year in 2010, still listening..... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Corey C.
Fantasic a great mellow CD. Very similar to Kem, Olu, Kenny Lattimore. While yet having his own style.Published 14 months ago by Bleek
His voice is from another age and time. With the self-assured swagger of Frank Sinatra, Jose James' casual, effortless glide through song is something so rare in contemporary jazz... Read morePublished on August 18, 2014 by David White
I stumbled upon this artist listening to Maysa Radio on iTunes. I looked him up on YouTube and now I'm hooked on the smoothness of his vocals, lyrics and the jazzy sounds... Read morePublished on July 3, 2014 by Tina M. Roberson
Excellent vocals and sounds. I purchase another of his CD's and then bought two for friends! I can't wait till he comes out with more!Published on January 4, 2014 by BD