Editors' pick

Jose James


Editorial Review

Many of us first generation hip-hop heads recall our tastes being shaped as children by our parents' record collections. We returned to the source after ingesting the sounds filtered through sampled hip-hop beats. Jose James wears the same influences in his work. His deep baritone embraces a Flying Lotus or Jazzanova beat as naturally as it can sit in an acoustic jazz ensemble. His balladry evokes Jon Lucien or Michael Franks, and then he turns around and covers a classic by the L.A. experimental rap outfit Freestyle Fellowship. Since Gilles Peterson picked him up and released his album, James has become mandatory listening for current jazz and nu groove heads in only two years. Washington welcomes Jose James for two shows at Bohemian Caverns.

-- Rhome Anderson (Sept. 2009)