Reviews, profiles and news about music in Chicago

Preview: Jose James/Lincoln Hall

Hip-Hop, Jazz, New Music, Pop, R&B Add comments
Photo: Janette Beckman

Photo: Janette Beckman


Singer-songwriter Jose James has a lot of jazz in his sound thanks to the longtime influence he has had from the genre and also the experience with performing with giants like Wynton Marsalis, McCoy Tyner and others. When he first started out, he was more of a jazz vocalist with urban tendencies than anything else. As the years passed, however, he has finally found his sound, which can be described as a blend of hip-hop and R&B with strong jazz undertones.

This is evidenced by two songs from his fourth disc, “No Beginning No End” (Blue Note).  “It’s All Over Your Body” opens mostly with  drums and percussion, and a soft bass line joins in shortly before James’ almost whispered baritone comes in. The instrumentation is subtle (with some brass added for good measure) so the listener focuses on his voice and the message he wants to deliver, while the blues-inflected “Trouble” feels like a classic Motown-era track without sounding dated. James’ delivery is straightforward, honest and refreshingly Auto tune-free. (Ernest Barteldes)

January 30 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 North Lincoln, (773)525-2501, 9pm. $15.

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