Leaning back to the 60s

Jose James is bringing back the great soul music of the sixties.

By Anna Coluthe | Video of the Day | October 4, 2018

With Lean On Me, his fifth album on the label Blue Note, the singer from Minneapolis pays tribute to Bill Withers. This album reiterates the influence that the big names of mythical jazz and soul have had on the artist, who sang the tracks of a certain Billie Holiday back in 2015… Despite the many musical paths he could’ve taken, James remains a faithful servant to the masters of soul, doing his duty of remembrance through his covers. Recorded in Capitol Records’ famous Studio B, he surrounded himself with big names: Pino Palladino on bass, Brad Allen Williams on the guitar, Kris Bowers on keyboard and Nate Smith on drums, a dream team with whom the soul man lays himself bare. With vintage groove and power, his warm voice evokes a bygone era and blends erotically with the piano chords of Lean On Me. Lovely Day’s funky soul doesn’t phase him either, but if there’s an area in which he truly excels, it’s on the sugary and slightly acoustic southern soul track: Hello Like Before. Watch out for hot flushes! Switching between tradition and modernity, each track is a surprise. Whether it’s brilliant musical improvisation you’re looking for (Just The Two of Us) or full funk (Better Off Dead) − here’s a guru who can hypnotise you in just a few seconds!


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