Best R&B Artist (2014)

José James

The R&B and soul part of Twin Cities-bred José James's brain jolted awake for No Beginning No End. After years of jazz, he slid fully into a different lane and began experimenting with the smoky textures that made Questlove and D'Angelo's partnership so strong in the early 2000s. "Trouble" combines organ, teases of horns, and a popping snare that can calm everything down. But that's not even touching the silkiness of James's voice, honed by jazz phrasing, now let loose to scrape around dirty corners and strike seductive poses. Home listening is the only way to ensure that the inevitable celebratory hoots he can pull in a live setting can be moderated a bit. Plenty of No Beginning No End is a late-night/early-morning pleasure, and its sinuous melodies are ready when the moment strikes.


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