ONE LP is a project by photographer William Ellis in which musicians and other people in the arts are portrayed with a favourite album and tell why the recording is so significant to them. ]
Guess which Michael Jackson record I chose??
I’m very excited and honored to be a part of José’s new record “While You Were Sleeping” for which I wrote an original entitled “Dragon” and sang back up on a few other tracks.
From Blue Note:
José James has announced a June 10 release date for his new album, While You Were Sleeping, his fifth studio album and his second album for Blue Note Records. While You Were Sleeping is the follow-up to his widely acclaimed R&B and jazz steeped No Beginning No End, and signals a new creative direction for the versatile singer-songwriter. The album was recorded in Brooklyn, NY, and was produced by José and Brian Bender.
That creative shift is heard in the rock edge of tracks like “EveryLittleThing” and “Anywhere U Go” and is evidenced in a change in José’s band which adds guitarist Brad Allen Williams to the stellar line-up of keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Solomon Dorsey and drummer Richard Spaven. The influence of Jimi Hendrix can be heard throughout the album as much as R&B forefathers like Al Green. Special guests on While You Were Sleeping include vocalist Becca Stevens who duets with James on her song “Dragon,” as well as trumpeter Takuya Kuroda who is featured on the cover of Green’s classic “Simply Beautiful” that closes the album.
I was grateful to be interviewed and included among all of the other talented women who have been featured on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls! You can read an excerpt below (with a link to the full interview):
Singer, composer and guitarist Becca Stevens was once described by the New York Times as “a best-kept secret” with her hypnotic style of songwriting that produces a transposing, immersive experience for the listener. This quality, coupled with her subtle, haunting voice, leaves listeners in a beguiling daydream. So, forgive me, New York, while I let your best-kept secret out of the proverbial bag.
Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to two musician parents, music was Stevens’ mother tongue, a language she learned early and spoke often. At two, Stevens was performing with her family’s band, The Tune Mammals, and soon after, Stevens began acting, dancing and involving herself in any performing arts opportunities she could get her hands on.
“My siblings and I were surrounded by music all of the time, “ Stevens said. “My parents are both singers so it was common to hear them rehearsing classical pieces at the piano. Whether cleaning the kitchen after dinner or driving somewhere in the car, my parents always played an eclectic array of great music. Irish and Appalachian folk music particularly feels like home to me.”
To read the full article click here
These two new jazz albums are emblematic of a generation chipping at the barriers between genres and cultures.
Some great press continues to pour in for Ambrose’s new record!
Becca contributed/wrote and sang on the song “Our Basement (ed)” for the new Ambrose Akinmusire record. NPR is currently streaming the entire record on “First Listen”