New York City-based vocalist José James, often referred to as a jazz singer for the hip-hop generation, will perform at St. Michael's Fortress on July 9th! It is the first performance of the award-winning artist in Croatia, while Šibenik is among a few European cities on his tour map.
José James will present his latest project On & On Jose James Singe Erykah Badu, but also play some of the Bill Withers tunes too to make it a real summer vibe! James therefore joins the earlier announced lineup - Emeli Sandé, Sigur Rós, and Bonobo, who are performing on St. Michael’s Fortress, one of the most beautiful open-air stages on the Adriatic coast which this summer celebrates the tenth jubilee concert season!
James is known for combining jazz, soul, drum’n’bass, and his own unique brand of vocal jazz. While he states his main influences as John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, and Billie Holiday, his sound on early 12″ singles and in live performances brought to mind such icons of ’70s jazz-soul as Terry Callier, and his music felt more like an update of the fluid crossover approach of Gil Scott-Heron, while also being distinctly his own.
James released his full-length debut album, Dreamer, in 2008 on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood imprint. The album ended up earning him accolades worldwide for its blend of jazz, electronic, soul, and pop styles. It placed at number 21 in Jazz Times’ Top 50 for the year. Consequently, James played on prestigious stages all over the world, including those at the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Victoria Jazz Festival, Billboard Live Tokyo, Centro Cultural São Paolo, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Central Park Summerstage in New York, and London’s Royal Festival Hall.
He followed Dreamer with Blackmagic in February of 2010. In May of that year, he also made his Impulse! debut with For All We Know, a collection of standards performed in duet with Belgian pianist Jef Neve. He toured relentlessly for the next year and a half, often sitting in with jazz musicians as well as headlining his own dates in Europe, Japan, and the United States. He signed to Blue Note Records in 2012, and issued “Trouble,” his first single for the label, in September of that year. His fourth album, No Beginning, No End, was released in January of 2013.
James began composing while on the road. New songs reflected a renewed interest in artists he listened to growing up (Nirvana, Radiohead) as well as newer ones who made an impression (Frank Ocean, James Blake). As a result, he cut While You Were Sleeping, a collection that reflected rock alongside R&B and jazz. It was released in June of 2014.
In commemorating Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday, the singer he claimed — from the beginning of his career — as his “musical mother,” James recorded nine songs written or associated with her.
With his last album On & On he paid tribute to the famous R&B singer and composer Erykah Badu. His interpretations of the seven Badu songs he sings over the album’s 43 minutes are faithful to the originals, but also faithful to James’s own identity as an artist. His latest album will be the focus of his performance in Šibenik!
- José James is the fourth announced performer of our jubilee concert season on the St. Michael’s Fortress, which has hosted numerous world-known artists since the opening. We are looking forward to the most exciting summer on one of the most beautiful open-air stages in the region, so stay tuned for all the updates – say from the Fortress of Culture, a public institution that manages St. Michael’s Fortress.