Jul 24, 2018
One of the highlights of the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival was the performance of singer José James, who led his band in Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers. I suspect he will also bring the house down at the Newport Jazz Festival on Saturday August 4, when he’ll be one of the headliners. Click here for more info on the Festival, brought to us by presenting sponsor Natixis Investment Managers.
In addition to his set on Saturday afternoon, fans can catch him opening for Pat Metheny on Friday evening August 3rd at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Tickets for that event, the main fundraising effort of charitable arms that run the festival, are almost sold out, with some lawn seats still available.
Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers will be released in the fall on Blue Note Records, but fans of James know of his love for the 80 year old R&B legend from the medleys he has integrated into his sets from time to time. José dug deep into the Withers catalogue for classic tunes like “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Lean On Me” and “Just the Two of Us”, as well as lesser known deep cuts like “Family Table” and “Better Off Dead.” Videos of José and his band performing some of the cuts that will make up the CD can be viewed here.
Podcast 629 is my conversation with José James, as we talk about what draws him to the music of Bill Withers, how he chose the songs for the CD, and his feelings toward the Newport Jazz Festival. Material from Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers is not available at this time, so enjoy Withers himself singing “Family Table” and "Hello Like Before".