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No Club Is An Island

November 27, 2011

I almost ignored the request from a Vancouver night club to write about an upcoming show featuring a young jazz vocalist from the U.S.

I’m glad I didn’t.

I’ll tell you why.

It’s one of the first jazz shows the Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver’s Chinatown has run in its mostly DJ and Dance music history.

The artist is Jose James, winner of the 2011 Downbeat Critic’s Poll for “Rising Star Best Male Vocalist.”

A new voice in a new (for jazz) club. That’s worth some attention, particularly when the artist has received the stamp of approval from critics and musicians alike.

Pianist Junior Mance (Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzie Gillespie) has called him “the real deal.” Andy Bey (John Coltrane’s favourite vocalist) says he possesses “a natural intimacy that very few people have.”

Of his debut album The Dreamer released on a London label in 2008, Chris May of All About Jazz wrote, “This is a five-star, totally delicious…smash of a debut.”

James has also received praise from writers in The Guardian, the New York Times, and Jazzwise Magazine, most notably for his 2010 Verve (Impulse) release For All We Know, recorded in Europe with Belgian jazz piano wunderkind  Jef Neve.

He’s toured internationally with McCoy Tyner and appeared with Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center.

He’s equally comfortable delivering standards in a suit or performing his original hip-hop/soul/r&b-influenced jazz compositions in a baseball hat and sneakers – which is bound to give him cred with a younger club audience not previously exposed to jazz in all its diversity.

Jose James performs at the Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver on December 10. Check him out there or on line; I think you’ll like what you hear.

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