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José James Expanding In All Directions

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Cutting-edge Blue Note jazz stylist José James is recast as a powerful contemporary R&B figurehead on his new album Love in a Time of Madness, to be released on 24 February. Here’s the video for the lead track ‘Always There.’

James is further expanding his already adventurous horizons on the big screen, with a performing role in the much-anticipated Fifty Shades Darker, out on 10 February as the sequel to the blockbuster Fifty Shades Of Grey. He begins a US tour on 23 March at the Bowery Ballroom in New York; complete details of the itinerary are at his website.

“Movement has been on my mind,” says James of his soulful direction on the new album, which also takes in beats, gospel, funk, electronic pop and African folk. “Not just hearts and minds — I want people to hit the dance floor. I could make jazz albums the rest of my life, but I want to reach people, man. I like Jamie xx as much as I like Miles Davis, you know?” Writing and production collaborators on Love in a Time of Madness include Tario (producer for Chris Brown and many others) and Likeminds (Pharoahe Monch, Anthony Hamilton).

“There’s a resurgence of something I haven’t seen since the ’90s or ’00s, when hip-hop, R&B, and pop were converging in really thrilling ways through folks like Tribe, Erykah Badu or D’Angelo,” says James. “There’s a whole new generation now that’s unafraid to blend it all together. The world is ready for this kind of thing again.”

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