- Purchase any product from the Music Store sold by Amazon.co.uk and receive £1 to use on any music download in our MP3 Store. UK customers only. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
|3. Lay You Down|
|4. Promise in Love|
|6. Made for Love|
|7. Save Your Love for Me|
|8. The Greater Good|
|10. Detroit Loveletter|
|11. Love Conversation|
|13. No Tellin'|
Happily, his music reflects this, making a decent fist of reconciling the weighty history of his chosen idiom with a style firmly rooted in the modern. Helping James out on his second album, Blackmagic, is a raft of producers, including jazzy Detroit house veteran Moodymann, Brooklyn producer Taylor McFerrin and Warp Records’ electronica sensation Flying Lotus. The opening Code, featuring Flying Lotus at the controls, is a fine example of this synthesis. Soft, oozing funk with a liquid keyboard line, James is restrained but insistent in his delivery, and the whole thing has a woozy, organic feel.
Such is typical of Blackmagic, which draws extensively on hip hop and dance culture, but presents its fusions with a blurry, down-tempo spin that should keep all but the most staid jazz heads onside.
Warrior, for example, is an interpretation of Emotions, an instrumental track by dubstep veteran Benga – but James’ band approach it like a live jam, swinging drums and scurrying piano delivered with a propulsive repetition that’s curiously reminiscent of the early work of Chicago post-rockers Tortoise. The Moodymann-produced track, Detroit Loveletter, meanwhile, slows down house rhythms to a jazzy shuffle peppered with languid Rhodes keys, and while the extraneous sounds might verge on chill-out cliché – mmm, running water, nice – James’ commanding, almost criminally sensual delivery smoothes over any flaws.
Beyond such crossover-tinged moments, though, there’s much evidence that James has the skills to hold his own. Love Conversation, a gorgeous duet with Jordana De Lovely, is destined to find its way onto a thousand lover’s playlists; and the closing No Tellin’, a startlingly assured solo piano piece, suggests that beats or no beats, this boy has something going on. --Louis Pattison
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window