José James’s new album will be a tribute to Bill Withers

The singer and guitarist has been recording in the studio this week

Acclaimed singer and guitarist José James has confirmed that his new album will be a tribute to his hero Bill Withers. The jazz and R&B star posted a picture on social media yesterday with his band in the studio including keyboardist Kris Bowers, drummer Nate Smith and bassist Pino Palladino.

James said he was “surrounded by greatness” as they recorded at Capitol Studio B in Hollywood California – the same room where Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole recorded. Blue Note Records president Don Was is set to produce this tribute album titled ‘Lean On Me’ and will be released on the famous label in September.

Speaking to the Minneapolis Star this week, José said “What fascinated me is everybody knows his music but people don’t know him. There’s virtually no info available outside of his documentary ‘Still Bill’ in 2009. Even that has very little personal information, outside of Sade, Bill has to be the most popular, successful black artist of all time who we knew virtually nothing about. Musically, I didn’t know he had so many albums.”

As preparation for the album, James has been performing the songs live on the road, and even arranged a meeting with Bill Withers himself. “We talked through everything. He gave us his blessing,” James told the newspaper. “Meeting with Bill changed it for me. It became a lot more personal.”


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