José James - Blackmagic
Please note this is an old page and Fly Global Music has now moved. Please follow this link and search for the entry in the new site.
Before we get to DJ Gilles’ and head honcho of José James’ label track choice (‘Love Conversation’), as if you don’t know, ever since we first came across Mr. James on Peterson’s first Brownswood Bubblers compilation, we have been in constantly been in love with this guy.
That track went on to be the title track of the debut album The Dreamer and he’s not looked by since. Bang up to date now, this is the difficult second album. The Dreamer was ‘jazz’ from start to finish but in the interviening couple of years, José has been exposed to other influences. No doubt GP has bent his ear but there was the link up with Flying Lotus (with the Andrea Triana connection) and ‘Love Conversation’ was a collaboration produced Jazzy Sport’s DJ Mitsu The Beats.
This album could have been called ‘The Love Album’ as there’s so much love being talked of (just check out the song titles). Much of the ‘jazz’ side, produced by Taylor McFerrin (the son of vocalist and classical conductor Bobby McFerrin) is in the mode of the Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderly ballad, ‘Save Your Love For Me’; whilst the cover version hear is initially an odd beats, jazz piano mash.
There is off course the risk that the “adventurous” collaborations will alienate the jazz fan and the non-jazz fans won’t get James. Well, it might take a couple of listens but I’m in the camp that he’s pulled it off. You know what Peterson did on Havana Cultura and Robert Glasper did ‘Dillalude’, James really nails it with a jazz interpretation of Benga’s instrumental ‘Emotions’, renaming it ‘Warrior’ with James’ added vocals.
And there can’t be many bigger names to drop on the dancefloor than Moodyman (aka Kenny Dixon Jr.) who is known for jazz-funk induced techno and on a track called ‘Detroit Loveletter’ expectations are very high indeed. But something wierd happens, there’s a jazz-funk-Rhodes intro but by the time it “feels like dancing” its over! Fading out at just 4 minutes is a disappointment even if it focuses on James’ lyrics and vocals; I strongly suspect there’s a 12” project in the pipeline but if that was the case, why not have it on the CD? Especially as there’s a 10 minute ‘bonus track’ at the end of the CD.
Talking of 12” projects, late last year the title track ‘Blackmagic’ got the remix treatment from current underground hot Peterson favourites Joy Orbison, Untold, Izmabad (aka Karizma & Simbad) and dOP which is a hell of a foursome, only to find out the original/album version is the best of the lot!
As this is such a diverse album, picking ‘one’ favourite track is problematic. From the beats side of things, the opener ‘Code’ and ‘Lay You Down’ will not disappoint, the jazzy ‘Touch’ and watch out as ‘Save Your Love For Me’ and ‘Love Conversation’ are growers; where did they find Jordana De Lovely?
Will I fall in love with ‘Beauty’ the same way? Yeah, I think I will and the one that should be the extended Moodyman remix (the 10 minute ‘bonus track’ called ‘The Light’) that he’s gone and done jazz-minimal vocal on that is mesmerising.
So there might be some initial reservations but all said and done, José James has such a great voice and has surrounded himself in a Worldwide community of musician (all with the GP stamp of approval) so what could go wrong? Answer: Nothing. José James still reigns supreme and it’s yet another incredible and ‘must have’ album this month.
Reviewed: José James - Blackmagic (Brownswood Records) Cat. No: BWOOD041CD Release date: 22nd February 2010
Visit Fly's new Amazon shops:
Fly Music Shop UK / Fly Music Shop US
V/A - Watch The Closing Doors: A History Of New York's Musical Melting Pot Vol. 1 1945-1960
V/A - Horse Meat Disco III
Snorkel - Stop Machine
V/A - Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer Sounds
Von D - Daydreaming
|Search Google for more about: José James - Blackmagic
|CC Some Rights Reserved FLY 2012 || Add to Del.icio.us|