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Blackmagic (Digi)

Jose James Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 9.20
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return Jan. 27 2010
By Jetrocket - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have been living with "Black Magic" for the last two weeks and for me the challenge was letting go of my attachment to "the Dreamer" and letting "Black Magic" introduce itself to me on its own terms. In many ways "the Dreamer" is a hard act to follow - it is a nearly flawless debut carefully crafted to be a timeless classic. The challenge with "Black Magic" is that it is concerned with the "now' enlisting cutting edge producers and collaborators from the global dance underground like Moodymann, Flying Lotus, DJ Mitsu the Beats, and Benga to give an identity to the project. Such a strategy begs the question of whether or not it will hold up in the coming years or become dated. IMHO I don't see this happening because underpinning the project is a dedication to high aesthetics and a reinforcement of the qualities that initially attracted me to Mr. James' music - there's quality writing, musicianship and production all on offer here. The album is sophisticated but still retains the hazy-lazy flow of "the Dreamer" . You can put on "Black Magic" and just go where it leads. Repeated listening reveals the depths embedded in each track, each listen makes clearer the cohesion of the whole project. Highlights abound - Promises in Love, Code, Black Magic, Love Conversation, Save your Love for me, Made for Love, and more. Overall, a smart update of Mr. James' approach and sound; one that I am glad to be around to hear. I hope there's a vinyl edition. Highly recommended.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly distinctive,enjoyable offering. Feb. 21 2010
By Jazz for the dappers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is second album from José James, whose brilliantly expressive voice has graced recent releases from Nicola Conte (Rituals) and Timo Lassy(Round Two).
Brooklyn-based, Panamanian/Irish 20-something James honed his jazz chops by scatting along to Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong between rapping to hip hop albums and writing lyrics to tracks by Coltrane.
He took a pretty direct route to getting DJ/zeitgeist monitor Gilles Peterson's attention. He flew over to London, went out clubbing and slipped the hugely influential DJ and prescient A&R man a copy of his demos.
Intrigued by the hip young singer's attitude and by his subtle baritone smokey, dusky vocals, Gilles Peterson took a listen and - blown away by his stunning vocal version of Trane's classic tune "Equinox" - immediately signed him to his thriving young indie label Brownswood.
Thus he bursts on to the scene, jazz guns blazing, blasting away the likes of Michael Bublé and Jamie Cullum and proving himself the sort of singer jazz lovers have been crying out for.
The album takes a couple of plays to really appreciate and is more soul oriented than his debut "The Dreamer".
"Promise In Love" and "Greater Good" are nice soulful mid tempos with horn backing.
"Lay You Down' has a D'Angelo feel to it, and "Save Your Love For Me" is a nice beat ballad.
The more acoustic jazzier "Touch" has great keyboards and "Warrior" is heavier jazz.
All in all, this is strong album from one of jazzs hippest young performers on the market : for jazz fans or romantics, there's plenty to admire and whether it makes you want to catch James live, or put the CD on at dinner parties for some soothing, unobtrusive backing,there's a goldmine to be tapped.
The Dreamer
Rituals
Call Me Irresponsible
The Pursuit [CD / DVD] [Deluxe Edition]
East Of Angel Town
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Already A Favorite of The Year Feb. 28 2010
By J. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I became a huge fan of Jose James after listening to his 2008 debut, The Dreamer. James first struck my interest after I first read an article about him in Downbeat magazine. He seemed like the type of young modern jazz artist I had been waiting to hear: a young versatile, open-minded cat who respected the legends that came before him while bringing a fresh b-boy flair. After listening to The Dreamer, I saw that I was right in my pre-assessment of James.

I am more than happy to say that James topped himself with his sophomore release, Blackmagic.

It's entirely unfair (and incorrect) to categorize Blackmagic as a straight jazz album. Blacksmagic defies categorization. James recalls legends like Gil Scott Heron, Terry Callier and Jon Lucien in that he comes from an angle that's both jazzy at its core AND conventionally soulful all while creating a lushly unique vibe that is all his own.

The brilliant Flying Lotus, DJ Mistsu the Beats, Taylor McFerrin (son of Bobby) and Moodyman all contribute production, helping to further defy categorization. FL's three contributions (Code, the standout Made for Love and the title track), in particular, all arrive at a perfect meeting point that merge his trademark celestialness with James' wistful old-soul groove.

All thirteen of Blackmagic's tracks (as well as the slow burning 10-minute jazz vocal piece "The Light" that rounds out the album as a bonus track) radiate with so much soul, feeling and creativity.

This album is proof that good music is still being made and released. You just won't hear it on the radio! I'm not sure if Blackmagic is slated for a US release or not since James has recently signed a deal with Verve Records to record and release a traditional jazz record entitled "For All We Know", yet it is an album (like The Dreamer) that is more than heavily recommended. It is worth tracking down as an import, no matter how pricy that option may be.

A definite favorite of 2010 (yes, already!). Much respect to Gilles Peterson for believing in and nurturing this brilliant young artist's talent.
5.0 out of 5 stars you won't be disappointed. Great album Jose July 3 2014
By Tina M. Roberson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I stumbled upon this artist listening to Maysa Radio on iTunes. I looked him up on YouTube and now I'm hooked on the smoothness of his vocals, lyrics and the jazzy sounds intertwined. I'm impressed with every sond on this CD. Check him out for yourself, you won't be disappointed. Great album Jose.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intersection of Jazz and Low End Theory Hip-Hop/Beats June 10 2014
By T. O'Neil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I bought this record on the strength of the Niney/D.Brown-sampling title track and was pleasantly surprised to find a few more FLyLo produced beats alongside productions by Moodymann and, Taylor McFerrin, who I hadn't heard before and has just now released a nice LP of beats on Brainfeeder.

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