(photo: Janette Beckerman)
This is that rare song that makes you just want to find your woman (or your man) because you know it’s a shame to enjoy this song alone.
First, let me get this out of the way: As I stated earlier, Jose’s new album kills from start to finish, so since it’s out as of today, you should grab it. The midtempo songs–“It’s All Over (Your Body),” “Trouble,” “Vanguard,” “Come To My Door,” as examples–pulse with crisp, laid back grooves. The other ballads, such as the beautiful “Heaven on the Ground” with Emily King and “Make It Right” showcase the wonderful control and mastery he has over his instrument, his voice.
But let’s talk about “Bird of Space.” It’s no overstatement to say that this song is epic in a Joe Henderson’s “Idle Moments” kinda way. Seriously. Both songs are ballads and what they do well is swing hard and build intensity without ever getting loud. It’s a stark contrast to most pop ballads, which end up being exercises in over-singing. But James stays largely coiled throughout, but all the better to express the song’s lament and longing. Just about every singer out there should take notes. And when he sings, “I go crazy when I can’t find my love”, he mines a similar vein of emotional vulnerability as Lewis Taylor did on “Song” (from his 1996 eponymously titled album): “Find me weak, find me strong, I get all messed up whenever you call my name.”
And hats off to the musicians on this cut– Richard Spaven’s brushes and Nir Felder’s guitar work Surprisingly, there’s no bass on this song: It’s Grant Windsor on Moog duties holding down the low end. Together with James, they make a song so fully of quiet goodness that you can just sit back and luxuriate for the full eight minutes. Headphones recommended.
Boom. You’re welcome.
- Jose James official