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Jose James Lean On Me CD A sublime and loving tribute to American music great Bill Withers, from one of the hottest rising stars in today's jazz world! "Meeting Bill Withers was one of the personal highlights of my life. He's a total genius and one of the coolest people I've ever met. I learned more in that one hour with him than I learned at music school or a decade's worth of live shows. We all adore him and any songwriter worth their salt knows that Bill is up there with Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Smokey Robinson, Carole King, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Elton John, Billy Joel he's in the pantheon of greats. Plus he's an amazing singer and developed a sophisticated sound that blends funk, singer-songwriter, blues, R&B and gospel. I showed him my list of his songs and he absolutely loved it. I think he's happy that his music still has a place in the lives and hearts of people worldwide and that we all want to celebrate his life and talent" - José James Singer, songwriter and lifelong fan José James honors the great Bill Withers with the release of Lean On Me, a loving tribute album that features 12 of the legendary singer and songwriter's most undeniable and soulful songs in honor of his 80th birthday year. Lean On Me was produced by Blue Note president Don Was and recorded in Capitol's legendary Studio B with a dream team band: Pino Palladino (bass), Kris Bowers (keys), Brad Allen Williams (guitar), and Nate Smith (drums), along with special guests including vocalist Lalah Hathaway, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and trumpeter Takuya Kuroda. Withers retired decades ago, but this band reminds us how much he's still with us. Part of that is familiaritythis is largely the lineup from James' breakout 2013 Blue Note debut No Beginning No Endbut no amount of chops or mindmeld explains the earnestness they call up for Lean on Me. "You have to believe every word of it," says James. "With Bill, there's no space to not be genuine. You need to be comfortable with your emotional self, your masculine and feminine side, and hang it all out there." James is often celebrated for his genre-blending his prolific output over the past decade has crisscrossed jazz, R&B, soul, hip-hop and indie rockbut this project is different. "Bill wrote the songs you love your whole life," he says. "I didn't want to put hip-hop beats under his music or deconstruct it with 10-minute bebop solos. There was only one right move here: show up with a killer band, run the tape, capture the vibe. We just played the songs."
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