Jose James is making some of the best vocal-led jazz and soul music around at the moment. He tackles social issues in a questioning, rather than a hectoring, way.
The title track on his new album is a beautiful homage to Dr Martin Luther King and asks us to think about a “world of possibilities” that are effectively denied by racial segregation and poverty.
The music is stripped down to the vocal, a double bass and a searing trumpet, meaning that every word can be heard.
Panamanian-born James gives a number of his own compositions plus a reworking of some hip-hop tracks.
Freestyle Fellowships’ “Park Bench People” is about the lives of working Americans who are homeless. The song restores their dignity by telling their story.
by Jose James
£13.99 Brownswood Recordings