New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with José James

Posted by Amoebite, March 14, 2019 01:22pm | Post a Comment

Jose James - What's In My Bag? - Amoeba Music

Acclaimed neo-soul/jazz/hip-hop musician and composer José James did some shopping at Amoeba Hollywood recently and talked with us about some of his favorite artists for our latest What's In My Bag? episode. James went looking for a Tribe Called Quest t-shirt and ended up with an Eric Dolphy shirt instead, happily surprised to see the jazz saxophonist/clarinetist printed on a piece of apparel. "He's a really deep figure for me, and for jazz," he explained. "His album Out To Lunch, on Blue Note, to me is the highest standard of avant-garde music in America." James went on to discuss Dolphy's influence on John Coltrane, saying he "encouraged John to let the saxophone speak. He was really trying to get beyond the limitations of the instrument, and just make sounds." James had similarly thoughtful things to say about every item he picked, giving us an educational and entertaining peek into his shopping bag.

Born in Minneapolis, MN, José James attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. His oeuvre has been compared to D'Angelo, Frank Ocean, Miguel, Bobby McFerrin, and Leon Thomas. Jose James - Lean On Me - Amoeba MusicHe released his debut LP, The Dreamer, in 2008 via the Brownswood label. James followed his first LP with Blackmagic (Brownswood) and For All We Know (Verve), both released in 2010. The latter album took home the Edison Award and the L'Académie du Jazz Grand Prix for the year's Best Vocal Jazz Album.

James moved to Blue Note for the release of 2013's No Beginning No End. This was followed by While You Were Sleeping (2014), Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday (2015), and Love in a Time of Madness (2017). In 2018, he released Lean On Me, a tribute to Bill Withers, in celebration of his 80th birthday that year. The album was produced by Blue Note label boss/producer/musician Don Was. James has made guest appearances on tracks by Basement Jaxx, Jazzanova, Nicola Conte, and J.A.M, among others.

"I'm from Minneapolis, and my first LP was Purple Rain," James told us as he reached into his bag for Piano & A Microphone 1983, a collection of recently unearthed home studio recordings. "Prince was such an inspiration because he really put Minneapolis on the map. Not just nationally, but internationally," he said. James went on to describe how Prince "showed a young, black kid that you could come from a place like Minneapolis and be anybody you wanted."

James was also inspired and excited by two current soul artists: The Internet and Anderson .Paak. He talked about what a special time it was for them to have the freedom to experiment and still be commercially successful. James even likened Anderson. Paak, who is a singer and multi-instrumentalist, to the multi-faceted talent of a young Stevie Wonder. High praise indeed!

Watch the full episode below.

Jose James - What's In My Bag?
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Jose James (2), Blue Note (10), Jazz (150), Neo-soul (1), Hip-hop (217), Amoeba Hollywood (867), What's In My Bag (375), Eric Dolphy (6), John Coltrane (22), Lean On Me (1), Bill Withers (3), Prince (63), Purple Rain (13), Piano & A Microphone 1983 (1), The Internet (14), Anderson Paak (4), Stevie Wonder (16)