José James has teamed with Lalah Hathaway on a joyful new duet version of Bill Withers’ classic song ‘Lovely Day’. The track can be found on James’ new Withers tribute album Lean On Me and director Maddie Deutch has filmed a video for the song which you can see above.
James’ version of ‘Lovely Day’ features an all-star cast including bassist Pino Palladino, keyboardist Kris Bowers, guitarist Brad Allen Williams, drummer Nate Smith, and a horn arrangement by trumpeter Takuya Kuroda.
The Minnesotan singer-songwriter’s fifth Blue Note album, Lean On Me was released on 28 September and features 12 of Withers’ most enduring songs, revisited in honour of his 80th birthday year. The album was recorded in Studio B at the famed Capitol Studios and produced by Blue Note president Don Was.
“Bill wrote the songs you love your whole life,” James says of Lean On Me. “I didn’t want to put hip-hop beats under his music or deconstruct it with ten-minute bebop solos. There was only one right move here: show up with a killer band, run the tape, capture the vibe. We just played the songs.
“Meeting Bill Withers was one of the personal highlights of my life,” he continues. “He’s a total genius and one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I learned more in that one hour with him than I learned at music school or a decade’s worth of live shows.”
In support of Lean On Me, José James plays the following US dates:
Oct. 19 – Jefferson Center – Roanoke, VA
Oct. 20 – The Hamilton – Washington DC
Oct. 26 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
Oct. 31 – Billboard Live – Osaka, Japan
Nov. 1 – Billboard Live – Tokyo, Japan
Nov. 2 – Billboard Live – Tokyo, Japan
Nov. 7 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 8 – Garfield Theatre – La Jolla, CA
Nov. 15 – Arts Commons – Calgary, AB
Jan. 25, 2019 – Berklee Performance Center – Boston, MA
Jan. 26-Feb. 2 2019 – Blue Note at Sea
Mar. 15 2019 – Chicago Symphony Center – Chicago, IL