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While You Were Sleeping

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iTunes Review

In the same vein as modern genre-defying efforts by Robert Glasper Experiment or Kris Bowers (who's also keyboardist in this band), While You Were Sleeping sounds more like a thoughtfully assembled mixtape. Some material sounds like it was hatched by Radiohead (“Anywhere U Go”) or Jimi Hendrix (“Angel”) thanks to the guitar work of Brad Allen Williams. More mechanized but just as visceral is the haunting “Every Little Thing,” which offers the album's strongest hook. Less surprising but no less inspired is the tinge of postmodern R&B—think André 3000 or Frank Ocean, as well as Zero 7—on tunes like “Bodhisattva,” “XX,” and “Without U.” Pushing in a different direction, the acoustic guitar–driven “4 Noble Truths” comes with a violin and cello break, and jazzy singer/songwriter Becca Stevens duets with James on “Dragon” to cast a subdued spell. A soulful take on Al Green’s “Simply Beautiful” closes things out in style, with additional points in Takuya Kuroda’s bluesy trumpet solo. Even so, it hangs together on the strength of James' wispy baritone, making for a remarkable eye-opening musical experience.

Customer Reviews

This album is more alternative than r&b

I believe that artists should be able to do what they feel and not be put in a box.Jose' James keep doing what you feel because it feels so real.If that is Jazz,R&B or alternative keep it up because you have a fan for life and that's real.

Just Press Play

This is a great CD from start to finish. Press play and be transported to many different genres. I just love it!

Great release

Saw him recently in Boston. Was a little confused with the new music at that time but since listening to the new CD have grown to really love the new stuff. It's fresh and grows on you.


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