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For All We Know (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Fans of vocalist José James have hardly had time to catch their breath in 2010. His new-school R&B album Blackmagic (a sophomore effort released in March 2010 on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood imprint) was still being fired by DJs in clubs and on European and Japanese radio, while garnering acclaim globally. Barely two months later, James popped this set out in May. For All We Know is a duet recording with Belgian jazz pianist Jef Neve. It's James' first album to be released in the United States — his home country — and the first of newly recorded material on Impulse! Records in six years. Musically, this set couldn’t be more different from his two preceding offerings. There are no star productions by Flying Lotus, Nicola Conte, Moodymann, or Jazzanova this time out. This intimate nine-track collection of standards from the Great American Songbook was produced by the duo who made it. All but one cut was recorded in a single six-hour session, and the majority of these performances are first takes. This is a “pure” jazz recording. James and Neve pull out heavy hitters from the repertoire, "Autumn in New York," the Gershwins' "Embraceable You," "Body and Soul," and Duke Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me" among them. James — who studied and played with jazz greats Chico Hamilton and Junior Mance — is not overly reverent, but he is disciplined as well as innovative. Neve’s pianism pushes that envelope a little further still. His light touch, elegant harmonics, and subtly innovative fills and solos give James all the support and room he needs. Listen to this version of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life." At over seven minutes, its graceful melody is taken deeply inside his rich, warm, sometimes arid baritone (the same way John Coltrane took it inside his horn — this tune is a tribute to him) and brought out again as a compact universe of mystery, imagination, and marvelously diverse ethereal textures with Neve creating enough intuitive space around it to make it possible. The duo’s reading of "When I Fall in Love" is downright moving. It holds no trace of the nostalgia usually associated with its many interpretations. James is able to express the deep yearning in the lyric and melody without over-emoting. For jazz fans who’ve not heard him, this album is a very new turn on some well-worn music by a major talent. For James' fans — who all knew he could sing like this — For All We Know adds a different kind of depth and dimension to his established recorded oeuvre thus far.

Customer Reviews

Dreamer, Blackmagic, and now For All We Know....Jose James NEVER disappoints!!

Jose James is AMAZING!!! I have been a long time fan of James' work. From the Dreamer to this, his newest release, James' voice weaves a delicate web of sonic delight!! I recommend this release, without reservation, to those who enjoy quality music and quite summer nights!!!!

Beautiful duets, classic songs

I knew about Jose James through some of the collaborations he's done with artists like Basement Jaxx and Jazzanova, but had no idea what a great vocal interpreter he was! This is a subtle and beautiful collection of jazz standards that sounds like it could have been recorded back in the 50s or early 60s. I love the fact that it's a voice and a piano and that's it! Favorite track is "Autumn In New York." Coooool.

Not sure.......

This is probably a hit or miss from Jose James . Pretty voice all along , nice and interesting piano , but not sure this all project is working . Very slow sometimes , a little monotone most of the times . He is realy not a jazz singer ..yet , but I give 3 stars for trying .


Born: January 20, 1978 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Often referred to as a jazz singer for the hip-hop generation, New York City-based vocalist José James has combined jazz, soul, drum'n'bass, and spoken word into his 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 soul-jazz as Terry Callier, and his music felt more like an update of the fluid crossover approach of Gil Scott-Heron, while also...
Full Bio
For All We Know (Bonus Track Version), José James
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