Ben Williams Featured on José James’s “No Beginning No End 2”

José James: No Beginning No End 2Singer/songwriter José James has released No Beginning No End 2, which serves as a sequel to his 2013 album on Blue Note Records. This new album is on the singer’s own Rainbow Blonde label, but his fluid mix of jazz, pop, R&B, and soul remains intact.

The album is filled with similar boundary-pushing artists: Laura Mvula, Aloe Blacc, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Erik Truffaz, Hindi Zahra, and more. James spent the past two years recording and touring the music of Bill Withers, which also influenced him to have a live band in the studio for the album.

“I have to give Bill credit,” he says. “Touring as a four-piece, I got to feel how transformative it is to dig into music with a real band. I think he led me back to that high-level singer-songwriter material — stuff that’s hooky and funky and with jazz running through it — that’s joyful without being corny. That was the hallmark of No Beginning No End, mixed with that New York hip-hop element. After the tour, I wrote a thing on Instagram saying I was thinking about ‘No Beginning No End 2’ and people went insane. They wrote thousands of comments about how the first one changed their life. I don’t sit around and think ‘my work is so important’ so that was kinda nice.”

The studio musicians on the project include Brett Williams, Kris Bowers, and Takeshi Ohbayashi on keys; Marcus Machado, Alan Hampton, and LP coproducer Brian Bender on guitar; Justin Brown and Jamire Williams on drums; and Ben Williams on bass. Williams, who just released his own vocal debut, is key to setting up the album’s grooves. Check out his feel on “I Need Your Love”:

No Beginning No End 2 is available now on CD, vinyl and as a digital download (iTunes and Amazon MP3).

No Beginning No End 2 Track List:

  1. I Need Your Love (feat. Ledisi and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah)
  2. You Know What it Do
  3. Feels So Good (feat. Cecily)
  4. Turn Me Up (feat. Aloe Blacc)
  5. Just The Way You Are
  6. Baby Don’t Cry (feat. J. Hoard)
  7. Nobody Knows My Name (feat. Laura Mvula and Kris Bowers)
  8. Take Me Home (feat. Lizz Wright)
  9. I Found a Love (feat. Taali)
  10. Saint James
  11. Miss Me When I’m Gone (feat. Marcus Machado)
  12. Oracle (feat. Hindi Zahra and Erik Truffaz)

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