Just before a certain Gregory Porter began a high profile campaign to popularise vocal jazz, JOSÉ JAMES released his fourth long player. 2013’s ‘No Beginning No End’ was James’ debut on the iconic Blue Note label and, drawing on his love for the softer soul sounds of the late 60s/early 70s, it was a critical and commercial success. Indeed it was James’s most accessible set to that date and, inspired by a meeting with Leon Ware, most would opine that it helped pave the way for Gregory Porter to move into the mainstream.
Since then James has released a cluster of long players building a solid and faithful fan base; that fan base is set to grow as the Angolan-Panamanian-American singer gears up to release a new album in March. The good news is that for the album, José revisits the inspiration and ideas of ‘No Beginning No End’. Indeed the new collection is to be titled ‘No Beginning No End 2’! The 12 tracker features input from people like Laura Mvula, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Erik Truffaz, Hindi Zahra, Taali and Aloe Blacc. And it’s the Blacc collaboration, ‘Turn Me Up’ that is the album heralding single … a funky, feisty mix of jazz and neo-soul, it’s a BIG tune and a great flag flyer for the album which, sneak previews reveal, is every bit as good (better?) that ‘No Beginning No End 1’. Listen up to a fine cover of ‘Just The Way You Are’ and a heart-rending ‘Oracle’. The clever money’s on ‘No Beginning No End 2’ being one of 2020’s best LPs.
The single ‘Turn Me Up’ is out now; ‘No Beginning No End 2’ out March 6th on James’s own Rainbow Blonde Records