“Nobody Knows My Name” is the latest single from Jose James new album “No Beginning No End 2”. The song features neo-soul singer Laura Mvula and jazz pianist Kris Bowers. Jose James already released a bunch of singles from the new record, including “I Need Your Love” (ft. Ledisi and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah) and “Turn Me Up” (ft. Aloe Blacc).
Often referred to as a jazz singer for the hip-hop generation, New York City-based vocalist José James combines jazz, soul, drum’n’bass, and spoken word into his own unique brand of vocal jazz. His music is heavily inspired by John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Billie Holiday, Terry Callier and Gil Scott-Heron. He worked previously with Flying Lotus, and featured on recordings by Nicola Conte, Basement Jaxx, and Chico Hamilton, to name a few.
With the album “No Beginning No End 2” James wanted to explore his own unique musical identity. “I wrote a thing on Instagram saying I was thinking about No Beginning No End 2 and people went insane. They wrote thousands of comments about how the first one changed their life. I don’t sit around and think ‘my work is so important’ so that was kinda nice.”
The album features line-up of Brett Williams, Kris Bowers, and Takeshi Ohbayashi on keys; Marcus Machado, Alan Hampton, and Brian Bender on guitar; Ben Williams on bass; Justin Brown and Jamire Williams on drums; and Afro-Latin percussionist Alberto Lopez of Quetzal. Also huge list of special guests: Laura Mvula, Aloe Blacc, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Erik Truffaz, Hindi Zahra, and his partner Taali.
The track was inspired by countless conversations between Jose and Laura about fame, being black, music and identity while they worked together in Australia. He says, “The song is a musical reference to some of the great Black social activists in jazz – Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Max Roach and Charles Mingus. Jazz is the music of America and the sound of freedom. I hope that you all find some inspiration in this collaboration.”
Laura Mvula and José James went to Australia to perform the concert series ‘Gershwin Reimagined’. Gershwin Reimagined is a collaboration between Melbourne International Jazz Festival and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The concert features arrangements by Troy Miller, the full orchestra treatment from the MSO and the vocals of Laura Mvula and José James.
Kris Bowers won Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2011. Same year he played on Jay Z and Kanye West album “Watch the Throne”. Since that moment he has had the opportunity to work with everyone from Jose James and Marcus Miller to Q-Tip and Aretha Franklin. He released his debut album “Heroes + Misfits” in 2014, Jose James sang on “Ways of Light” from that album. During the same period, basketball player Kobe Bryant approached Bowers about composing music for his post-basketball transition into film and television production. Bowers wrote the score for the 2018 film “Green Book”. He was also the piano teacher for the film’s star, Mahershala Ali, and was Ali’s stand in for some close ups of hands playing.
Jose said about the new album: “This is a celebration of my artistic freedom and I want to invite the world. I’ve spent my entire career searching for a way to express what I love about music. This is Minneapolis Funk and me growing up as a child of the hip-hop generation. And it’s a tribute to the Jazz greats who weren’t able to own their own masters – Miles Davis, Nat Cole, Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.”
01 I Need Your Love feat. Ledisi and Christian Scott
02 You Know What it Do
03 Feels So Good feat. Cecily
04 Turn Me Up feat. Aloe Blacc
05 Just The Way You Are
06 Baby Don’t Cry feat. J. Hoard
07 Nobody Knows My Name feat. Laura Mvula and Kris Bowers
08 Take Me Home feat. Lizz Wright
09 I Found Love feat. Taali
10 Saint James