Show Review and Interview: Jose James @ MTL Jazz Fest

The Montreal audience got their first taste of the much hyped Jose James. He was in town to tour his current project and first release on a US label (on Impulse! no less) along with a really exciting young talent, Jef Neve, a pianist from Belgium.

Jose James – Interview for

US born and London based Jose James is already the rising star of vocal jazz in the UK, Europe and Japan. He now has two solo records (“The Dreamer” and “Blackmagic”) on Brownswood Records, Gilles Peterson’s label by whom he was given his first big break.

The show was probably in one of the most intimate settings i’ve seen. About 150 capacity in a mini-bar called Savoy, adjacent to the Metropolis venue. It was so quiet people even felt bad to cough or order a drink at the bar. The booking did however fit with the very straightforward concept of the show : Piano player and vocalist singing timeless classics from George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and others.

Being someone that’s been following Jose James for a couple years (I bought a copy of his outstanding Equinox demo 10′ in London in 2006) I was left wanting a little more. By no means does this mean that the show was a disappointment. I’m just saying that I would have liked the Jazz Fest to have booked him for his two previous tours when he was touring his solo records… To the people that don’t know Jose James yet, this is a solid introduction that will give you about 1/4th of what the guy can actually do. Think Lou Rawls meets Gil Scott-Heron meets Bobby McFerrin meets Digable Planets!

His collaboration with Jef Neve is a really interesting project, but I can’t wait to see him do what he does best live: modern jazz meets contemporary rhythms.

José James et Jef Neve in concert at Savoy of Métropolis 2010 from Francis Ranger on Vimeo.


About the Author

Lexis (MIMS Founder)
(Montreal) Lexis is the dude who founded in 2007. He has been djing since 2000 and a music lover / nerd since day 1! For more info check out:

  • Francis Ranger

    Nice review. Very happy to know that I’m not alone to think this way about the show. The show at the Savoy was great but I would take a little more from both of them (more song). It last for only 60 min. His free blackmagic show outdoor last only 45 minutes. It’s pretty different from what I’ve seen in Toronto at the supermarket back in 08 for is Dreamer album. All in all, its better to have him for 60 minutes than none.

    Here’s the first song of the show:
    Here’s my mix with José James track in it:

  • Lexis

    Salut Francis!

    Thanks a lot for the great comment. Yeah, for sure the MTL Jazz Fest are not the best to book upcoming cutting edge people from the jazz scene… they need to do their homework on the contemporary Japanese, German, US scenes and soooo on… the show was still interesting, but mehhhh…
    Wish I would have caught that show you’re talking about in TO!

    Your video capture of the show is great! I took the liberty of adding it to the post… I also checked out the tracklisting… Looks dope!

    Mind if i post it here?



  • Fullrange

    No problem for the video.
    Please be free to add any of my mixcloud mix on your website…
    I’m preparing a special mix on José James’ track from equinox to “ya dig” (with Timo Lassy).

    Did you know that Gilles Peterson will be in Montreal (14 Aug 2010) for is havana cultura album ? Look forward for this live show with Roberto Fonseca and all the Cuban Fam !!!

    Here’s a uTube link:


  • Lexis

    Damnsss…. really? Gilles P in Montreal… wow, that was a long time coming!

    Tu peux m’envoyer le fichier de ton mix de jazz? Je peux pas le downloader via Mixcloud…

  • Fullrange

    Quel est ton courriel ? C’est pas très pratique d’envoyer des messages perso. sur un forum. J’ai refait un autre mix spécialement pour ton site web.

    Voici le lien rapidshare et la tracklist:

    1. Elvis Presley Blues – Elan Mehler Quartet
    2. Isadora – Christian Scott
    3. World Peace Now – Build An Ark
    4. Highway Rider – Brad Mehldau
    5. Third Tream original mix – Robert Mitchell 3io
    6. Downtime – Robert Glasper
    7. Bonus Track – José James
    8. The Eraser – Christian Scott
    9. Maiden Voyage / Everything In Its Right Place – Robert Glasper
    10. Lost – J.A.M
    11. Buzz Beater Stomp – Timo Lassy
    12. Mode of Blue – Quasimode
    13. Hype of Gold – Soil & Pimp Sessions
    14. Bluestone – J.A.M
    15. Planeteria Original Mix – Christian Prommer’s Drumlesson
    16. Me And You – Matthew Halsall
    17. Not yet – Philipp Nykrin
    18. Black Beauty – Ahmad Jamal
    19. Alayo – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
    20. Loves Serenity – Bajka
    21. You Gotta Have Freedom – Boogaloo