José James - No Beginning No End

By Gabriel Marsden

Released January 18th, 2013 - EMI

José James' fourth album and debut release on Blue Note Records. Conceived, recorded and produced independently, 'No Beginning No End' "sums up how I feel about music right now," says James. His third album 'For All We Know' became the winner of both the Edison Award and L'Académie du Jazz Grand Prix for best Vocal Jazz Albumof 2010.

'No Beginning No End' opens with the raw ‘It's All Over (Your Body)' set to a stilted hip hop beat, reminiscent of Electric Wire Hustle. On ‘Vanguard' a lush organ flows over agile bass, creating a bouncing groove. On a more relaxed note is the catchy ‘Come To My Door', one of the two only guitar driven songs on the album. The other being ‘Heaven On The Ground' featuring Emily King complementing José on the brushed jazz duet. "On a plane, window seat, looking down at you," taken from the soulful lovelorn title track, containing an intricately rhythmic chorus vocal. 'Tomorrow' closes the album with uplifting melodies accompanied by strings, a beautifully paced piece on the theme of change.

Not wanting to be pigeon-holed the album holds strong jazz, R&B and soul influence.

The 11 tracks play through fluidly, filled with spark and variation, from laidback hip hop with piping brass, to organ driven soul swingers. Instruments are pulled back at times revealing the underlying skeleton, giving appreciation to José's clear and controlled voice along with more subtle musical tones. 'No Beginning No End' has a classy mature sound to be enjoyed in the presence of good company. A very personal and sensual record, José lets his heart do the talking.