Jose James is a Jazz singer based in Brooklyn, but originally from Minneapolis takes it back to the old skool in the original manner. He’s a veteran of several Jazz festivals and having been championed by Giles Peterson he has now ended up at Brownswood Recordings where he has dropped his CD The Dreamer CD and now the Park Bench People 12”.
José’s sublime cover version of Freestyle Fellowship's “Park Bench People” at last gets a full 12” release. Rather than plunder the American songbook and churn out standards, Jose has revived this criminally overlooked classic from the early 90s and truly made it his own. It's the sort of track that gets under your skin and stays there. José’s voice comes on at once lazy and hazy but devastatingly powerful; the track is full of atmosphere and passion.
The B Side is the white hot “Visions Of Violet” conceived and produced by uber electronic hip hop producer Flying Lotus. The pair met when Jose was trying to gain clearance for his Coltrane reworkings (Flylo is the nephew of the late great Alice Coltrane) and sparked a genuine friendship and musical relationship. They are currently working on tracks for José’s sophomore album.
This is quite authentic and sincere and stands out as original in a sea of cookie cutter acts that all seem the same.