Jose James- BAM R&B Fest Metro Tech Brooklyn
July 28, 2011
If you didn’t know singer Jose James, you’d assume he was a rapper.
Dressed casually and sporting a Yankees baseball cap on stage, even his mannerisms were more hip-hop than be-bop.
So when his sultry voice and topnotch ensemble triumphantly tackled numbers by Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Charles and other classic jazz and R&B giants, it felt almost surprising. Actually, it seemed like a torch had been passed down.
Mixing covers and wonderful originals, James proved to be humble, gracious, and a bandleader who gave his group plenty of space to “stretch out.” The hour and a half just flew by. My 78 year old mom, who’s seen everyone from Bird to Ella to Sarah Vaughn to Art Tatum said, “He’s GOOD.” And when she says “good,” it means great.
James is that talent worthy of wider recognition that you pull for. Let’s hope that he avoids the pitfalls of the music industry and introduces a generation weaned on hip-hop to some classic music and his immense talent.