Top positive review
on 17 April 2008
It takes a full twenty minutes into Jose James's debut the The Dreamer before I'm left truly impressed. "Spirits Up Above," is a fine track indeed. New Orleans in its feel with the bluesy collective chant and the rolling piano it branches off into some fine percussion work before lurching back into the chorus. Top stuff. So why did we have to wait so long to escape from the New York dirge of the first four tracks? It's as though at last the record has finally kicked in. "Nola" follows, the vocal far rangier and confident, the band finally letting loose. Another excellent track.
Don't expect to find something radically new on this. James has a soft, sleek delivery that is very easy on the ear, a straight Jazz voice not erring to other singer styles. But somehow it doesn't captivate me. It's a problem, because I actually found the first part of the album quite mundane. It's as though there's James voice and the band - you're listening to one or the other, not both at the same time.
The arranagements are predictably superb, particualrly Alexi David on bass, who carries the flow of the album quite excellently.
Perhaps after all the hype and plugging I'm entitled to feel a little bit disappointed. "The Dreamer" - more accomplished than spectacular.