“There’s a war going on in America and in the world. A war against the poor, against people of color; against women, immigrants, and innocent children. Voices are being silenced, families broken apart. Dreams are being shattered, and blood is being spilled in the streets. Police brutality is on the rise and human rights and dignity for black people in this country is all but non-existent.
Yet at the same time, we’re living in an extraordinary new moment of social protest, of digital communication and documentation of brutality. We’ve begun a new era of global connection, and a possible step towards equal rights and understanding. In this moment a new generation must ask the question: What is the value of human life? And of what value is love?”
Love in a Time of Madness is the fourth disc by José James and was recorded & released on the renowned ‘Blue Note’ label.
On this occasion, James has worked with an international group of writers and producers to craft a new sound and style, inspired by influences such as Frank Ocean, Usher, Miguel and John Legend, and extending the R&B and Hip Hop thread that has run throughout much of his work.
“This album is everything I love about music” he says. “For me it’s all coming full circle. I discovered jazz through hip-hop and rap tracks produced by Qtip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Prince Paul, RZA, Rick Rubin and Madlib. So sampling Donald Byrd and Ronnie Laws and working with beat makers is so rewarding. I’ve always had R&B in my work going all the way to my first albums. Tracks like ‘Blackeyed Susan’ on The Dreamer and Made For Love are proof of this. Working with Robert Glasper, Chris Dave and Pino Palladino on No Beginning No End was amazing too and this album takes it to the next level.
Singer-songwriter José James has always been on the quest for new musical horizons; constantly evolving and blurring the lines between genres in the process. Since the beginning, the Minneapolis native has always drawn from disparate musical influences.
José set his sights on New York City and entered the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in that city. Flourishing under the tutelage of jazz luminaries, he found himself in a rich fabric of diverse musical contemporaries. He remembers, “I just started putting all this stuff together. For me, it was never about whether it was jazz or hip-hop. It was all about creative people who just had different sounds.”
After years of experimenting with new ideas, James signed with the ‘Blue Note’ recording label in 2013, when he released his breakout album No Beginning No End, which received excellent reviews by critics.