Widely-admired Blue Note artist José James has a powerful new video just out to accompany his version of the classic song closely associated with Sam Cooke and the Civll Rights movement, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come.’
James himself executive-produced the clip, which is directed and produced by Taila Billig. It’s released to the backdrop of the racial tensions caused by accusations of systematic police brutality towards black people. The singer’s contribution to the debate is not only his excellent interpretation of the time-honoured song, but a video featuring several notables in its cast.
Fellow Blue Note artist Robert Glasper, hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy and Ray Angry of the Roots are among those who appear on screen, as a succession of simple messages are displayed on placards. The video is currently being hosted by VICE, and you can watch it here.
James has also announced details of his forthcoming album based on the songs of the woman he calls his “musical mother.” ‘Yesterday I Had The Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday’ will be released by Blue Note in the spring. The trailer for the album features Blue Note president Don Was:
James is now on his preview tour for the album, playing tonight (15) in Omaha, tomorrow in Madison, Saturday in Rochester, Sunday in Chicago and then in Minneapolis on January 20 and 21. He follows this with shows in Japan, on February 12 in Osaka and February 13-15 in Tokyo.