José James

José James



Originally published on on January 2010

© Brownswood/Beat

Courtesy of Brownswood/Beat

José James has fallen in with an odd crowd. The Irish-Panamanian singer’s 2008 debut was a pleasant, if unremarkable, collection of soulful acoustic jazz in the vein of Terry Callier. Skip forward to 2010, and the title track off his sophomore effort is a somnambulant groove produced by wonk-hop supremo Flying Lotus, accompanied by an EP of remixes by the likes of UK dubstep producers Untold and Joy Orbison. Blackmagic skits between space-age love pad soundtracks and more conventional jazz, striking the most fertile common ground on a live band reworking of Benga’s club anthem “Emotions.” If it’s inconsistent as hell, it also suggests that there will be plenty of good things to come from James in the future. The velvet-voiced crooner will be spreading some Valentine’s love at Billboard Live on February 13 and 14; see concert listings (jazz/world) for details.