José James

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

José James
Josejames 2008.jpg
José James 2008
Background information
Born (1978-01-20) January 20, 1978 (age 40)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Genres Jazz, hip hop, neo soul
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, bandleader
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Labels Brownswood, Verve, Blue Note
Associated acts Junior Mance, Chico Hamilton, McCoy Tyner

José James (born January 20, 1978) is an American vocalist best known for performing and blending modern jazz and hip-hop. James performs all over the world both as a bandleader and with other groups.


Often referred to as a jazz singer for the hip-hop generation, New York City-based vocalist José James combines jazz, soul, drum'n'bass, and spoken word into his own unique brand of vocal jazz. While he states his main influences as John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, and Billie Holiday, his sound on early 12" singles and in live performances brought to mind such icons of '70s jazz-soul as Terry Callier, and his music felt more like an update of the fluid crossover approach of Gil Scott-Heron, while also being distinctly his own.[citation needed]

José James attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. In 2008, he debuted with his first album, The Dreamer, on the Brownswood label.[1][2] Blackmagic followed in 2010.[2] 2010's For All We Know came out on the Impulse! label.[2][3] For All We Know became the winner of both the Edison Award[3] and L'Académie du Jazz Grand Prix for best Vocal Jazz Album of 2010.[4]

James signed to Blue Note Records in 2012 and issued "Trouble," his first single for the label, in September of that year. His fourth album, No Beginning, No End, was released in January 2013. James began composing while on the road. New songs reflected a renewed interest in artists he listened to growing up (Nirvana, Radiohead) as well as newer ones who had made an impression (Frank Ocean, James Blake). As a result, he cut While You Were Sleeping, a collection that reflected rock alongside R&B and jazz. It was released in June 2014.[citation needed]

In commemoration of the 100th birthday of Billie Holiday—a singer that he claimed from the beginning of his career as his "musical mother"—James recorded nine songs written by or associated with her. He fronted a band that included pianist Jason Moran, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Eric Harland. The album, titled Yesterday I Had the Blues, was produced by Blue Note label head Don Was and was released in March 2015.[citation needed]


Studio albums[edit]

  • The Dreamer (2008)
  • Blackmagic (2010)
  • For All We Know (2010) (with Jef Neve)
  • No Beginning No End (2013)
  • While You Were Sleeping (2014)
  • Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday (2015)
  • Love in a Time of Madness (2017)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Dreamer for Club Lovers (2008)


  • "Blackeyedsusan" (2007)
  • "Park Bench People" (2008)
  • "Desire (Moodymann Remix)" b/w "Love (Ben Westbeech Remix)" (2008)
  • "Blackmagic" (2009)
  • "Warrior" (2010)

Guest appearances[edit]

  • J.A.M – "Jazzy Joint" from Just a Maestro (2008)
  • Jazzanova – "Little Bird" from Of All the Things (2008)
  • Nicola ConteRituals (2008)
  • Yellowtail – "Kings & Queens" from Grand & Putnam (2009)
  • DJ Mitsu the Beats – "Promise in Love" from A Word to the Wise (2009)
  • Basement Jaxx – "Gimme Somethin' True" from Scars (2009)
  • Basement Jaxx – "Where R We Now" from Zephyr (2009)
  • Timo Lassy – "The More I Look at You" and "Ya Dig" from Round Two (2009)
  • Chico HamiltonTwelve Tones of Love (2009)
  • J.A.M – "Lovejam" from Just Another Mind (2010)
  • Richard Spaven – "Maz" from Spaven's 5ive (2010)
  • Nicola Conte – Love & Revolution (2011)
  • Oh No – "Dues n Donts" from Ohnomite (2012)
  • SuphalaAlien Ancestry (2013)
  • Soil & "Pimp" Sessions – "Summer Love" from Circles (2013)
  • Kris Bowers – "Ways of Light" from Heroes + Misfits (2014)


  1. ^ Jose James, Jef Neve Rekindle Jazz Flame. Billboard. Retrieved on 2013-01-31.
  2. ^ a b c José James – Music Biography, Credits and Discography. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2013-01-31.
  3. ^ a b [1] Archived March 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Winnaars Edison Jazz/World bekend | Edison – de oudste muziekprijs van Nederland. Retrieved on 2013-01-31.

External links[edit]