Written by | Ray Cornelius
Jazz singer José James kicked off his new world tour over the weekend with a sold out performance at Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse. The intimate concert featured James along with opening act Detroit jazz drummer, Brandon Williams. The Atlanta show was presented by Harold Watkins of Invictus Productions and Craig Garrett of Next Level Events.
The tour is in support of James’ new album, “Yesterday I had the Blues – The Music of Billie Holiday.” The project is a tribute to the legendary jazz singer, who would have turned 100-years-old today (April 7). James honors the Centennial of his “musical mother” with nine stunning songs written and popularized by Lady Day. The album, produced by Blue Note president Don Was, features: pianist Jason Moran, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Eric Harland.
James’ set on Saturday night included such classics as “God Bless the Child,” “Fine and Mellow,” and one of my personal favorites, “Body and Soul.” But it was his encore performance of Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” that had everyone mesmerized. James used a looping machine which allowed him to stack three different layers of his unique vocals and hand claps for one impactful performance. It was without a doubt the most powerful moment of the night.
James’ world tour continues with a stop in Tunisia, Oregon and New York and then back to Europe for the entire month of May. Check out exclusive “black and white” photos below of James, Williams and a variety of special musical guests below:
José James’ Atlanta performance was the kick-off of his new world tour
James’ album along with other items for purchase in the Variety Playhouse Lobby
Invictuis Productions’ Harold Watkins with the show’s host Jamal Ahmad
Celebrity publicist Aalyah Duncan with Next Level Events Craig Garrett
Tomi Martin, Jamal Ahmad, José James and Craig Garrett
Singers Carmen Rodgers and Matt Cusson backstage
Singers Deborah Bond, Matt Cusson, Joy Tiffany, Cleveland P. Jones with Craig Garrett
Jamal Ahmad hosted the show
Detroit Jazz Drummer Brandon Williams
Cleveland P. Jones
Khari Cabral Simmons with Aalyah Duncan