Fridays Live: José James Sings Erykah Badu
Fridays Live • SFJAZZ At Home

José James Sings the Music of Erykah Badu

originally filmed on JUNE 17, 2023

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FRIDAYS LIVE: José James Sings the Music of Erykah Badu

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Fridays Live Premiere


7:30 PM PT (10:30 PM ET)

Saturday Encore


11 AM PT (2 PM ET)

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José James

The Summer heats up with the return of singer José James, the crown prince of new-jack jazz, performing the songs of modern soul queen Erykah Badu as captured on his new album, On & On: José James Sings Eryka Badu. An R&B-steeped singer from Minneapolis who’s as effective evoking Billie Holiday as Bill Withers, James honors Badu with his silk-smooth approach that melds an R&B feeling with a jazz crooner’s depth, in fresh arrangements of her classics “Green Eyes,” “Bag Lady,” and “Didn’t Cha Know.”

“It’s simple,” James explains. “Jazz singing has always been about interpreting the highest level of standards of your time. And for my generation Erykah Badu has been one of the most innovative and incisive songwriters. Her work has proven to be groundbreaking in a social, musical, and artistic sense.”

Working in close collaboration with master bassist, producer and arranger Ben Williams and surrounded by an array of brilliant players including in-demand keyboard phenom Big Yuki and drummer Jharis Yokley along with a rising young Afro-Ukrainian saxophonist Diana Dzhabbar, On & On is thoroughly a jazz album. Conceived in the spirit of Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, James artfully draws upon his experiences with modern masters McCoy Tyner, Robert Glasper and Flying Lotus to create a new sonic landscape through an improvisatory lens, while celebrating one of the great artists of our time.

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