Photo by Janette Beckman
If Minneapolis is known for anything, it’s our thriving music scene. Folk, indie rock, and funk have flourished, but gradually, steadily, a robust jazz scene is taking hold. Witness one Minneapolis export you may not have heard (yet): José James, a New York–based musician who got his start in the jazz ensembles at South High School. Now he’s living his dream, signed to the infamous Blue Note Records (label of Thelonious Monk and Norah Jones), with artistic license to record music that isn’t neatly bounded by genre.
He’s fought for creative freedom to blend disparate musical influences, but this month he’s paying tribute to his jazz roots with an album of Billie Holiday covers. “I listen to Billie Holliday every day of my life. She taught me everything I know about singing jazz,” says James. She and South High music teacher Dennis Malmberg, that is. Jan. 20–21 at the Dakota.