José James - Blackmagic

The second album from jazz smoothie José is something of a departure from his more traditional debut, with the likes of aquacrunk don Flying Lotus and dubstep pioneer Benga lending a hand on production duties. James cleverly adapts his rich baritone accordingly, employing a more staccato style on the darker likes of Warrior, a reworking of Benga's Emotion, and expertly easing his vowels around FlyLo's skipping beat on title track Blackmagic, the highlight of his more outré collaborations by some distance. However, the silky smooth likes of Detroit Loveletter and some smoky jazz workouts towards the end of the LP, notably the loose swing of Beauty and an epic untitled bonus track, see James much more at ease and provide most of the album's stand-out moments. This is a brave and interesting departure for the vocalist, but the results prove to be more miss than hit.



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