Jose James: 'No Beginning, No End'

SOURCE:

Sign in to view read count
As readers know, I'm a massive fan of the new jazz style emerging that incorporates '70s soul, electronica and hip-hop. Exponents of this movement include pianist Robert Glasper, bassist Esperanza Spalding and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Add to the list José James, a vocalist with retro smarts and a clear vision of where jazz is heading next.

James's new album—No Beginning, No End—is his fourth CD and a major step forward for the eclectic genre. If you've been listening to all kinds of exciting music for decades, you'll hear their threads running throughout the music here. In addition to the vocals, James produced the album. All of the sounds that come and go, the builds and the ringing textures were James's concepts. A mighty vision executed beautifully—and these are consistently big ideas, from track to track. 

James's vocals are framed by hypnotic grooves, trippy beats, tight horns, a Fender Rhodes, gospel organ and layered female vocals—giving the music a late-night feel. What I love most about James's music is how it sifts together the spirits of Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Gil Scott-Heron, Roy Ayers and other social soul giants—creating an intoxicating chill-funk brew. You're reminded of the '70s but the music is distinctly pushing forward. 

James's music is cohesive, experimental and different—but that's what makes it special. If jazz hopes to survive, it cannot stand still or rely solely on the past. Risks must be taken by artists, and the past must be carefully mined for valid, adaptable concepts. With this album, James has produced this year's finest example of the new jazz movement.

Hats off to Blue Note's Don Was for championing the sound.

JazzWax tracks: You'll find José James's No Beginning, No End (Blue Note) here.

JazzWax note: More on José James here.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

Tags

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
General Articles
Jazz Near Me
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Lean On Me

Lean On Me

Blue Note Records
2018

buy
Love In A Time Of Madness

Love In A Time Of...

Blue Note Records
2017

buy
Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday

Yesterday I Had the...

Blue Note Records
2015

buy
While You Were Sleeping

While You Were...

Blue Note Records
2014

buy
No Begining No End

No Begining No End

Blue Note Records
2013

buy
No Beginning No End

No Beginning No End

Blue Note Records
2013

buy

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

More News