Love in a Time of Madness (Blue Note, winter 2017)
“There’s a war going on in America and in the world. A war against the poor, against people of color; against women, immigrants, and innocent children. Voices are being silenced, families broken apart. Dreams are being shattered, and blood is being spilled in the streets. Police brutality is on the rise and human rights and dignity for black people in this country is all but nonexistent.
Yet at the same time, we’re living in an extraordinary new moment of social protest, of digital communication and documentation of brutality. We’ve begun a new era of global connection, and a possible step towards equal rights and understanding. In this moment a new generation must ask the question: “What is the value of human life? And of what value is love?” – José James
“Love in a Time of Madness” is José James’ forthcoming album and 4th for the world-famous Blue Note label. “I wanted to share the music with my fans first, before it became an album. I think it’s an amazing way to connect with people. See what moves an audience. That way, I’m only including songs on the record that are proven to inspire people. It’s tremendously rewarding to share my music like this, and this way my fans help me to create the album.”
Working with an international group of writers and producers James is crafting a new sound and style inspired by influences such as Frank Ocean, Usher, Miguel and John Legend, and extending the R&B and Hip Hop thread that has run throughout much of his work. “This album is everything I love about music. The songs are so dope! For me its all coming full circle. I discovered jazz through hip-hop and rap tracks produced by Qtip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Prince Paul, RZA, Rick Rubin and Madlib, people like that. So sampling Donald Byrd and Ronnie Laws and working with beat makers is so rewarding. I’ve always had R&B in my work going all the way to my first albums. Tracks like Blackeyedsusan on “The Dreamer” and Made For Love and Blackmagic with Flying Lotus. Working with Robert Glasper, Chris Dave and Pino Palladino on “No Beginning No End” was amazing too. This album takes it to the next level.
Featuring a live band, José James presents a stripped down, intimate view of the album. With Takeshi Ohbayashi on keys, Solomon Dorsey on bass and vocals, and Nate Smith on drums, James combines the fluidity of jazz with sensual R&B songwriting, stretching over hip hop beats.
Trouble (live version):