When we learned that Jose James would be one of the headliners to perform in Troy Miller's "Gershwin Reimagined" as part of the Melbourne International Jazz festival, we jumped at the chance to dress Jose. Of course we have a history with Jose and consider him a great friend and have provided him with pieces for various shows and his onscreen cameo in the movie "Fifty Shades Darker".
Full disclosure...we were massive fans of his work when we discovered his album "No beginning no end" released in 2012 and have admired his talent ever since. Upon meeting him for the first time when he was in Melbourne for the 2016 International Jazz festival we become fast friends.
Gershwin Reimagined as interpreted by composer, conductor, musician and producer Troy Miller (wonderfully charming and insanely talented), and sung with the stunning Laura Mvula who is a captivating and fierce performer, was not only a surprising and refreshing take on the immortal work of George Gershwin, but felt like a celebration of the immense talents on stage; Jose, Laura, Troy and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra were simply on fire.
Images: All outfits by C+T for Jose James
Photographed by Ryan Gill Photo
" Vocals are provided by Laura Mvula and José James, and what a duo: Mvula’s vocal style has been compared to that of Nina Simone, and the resemblance in style is uncanny..
As for James, we can be forgiven for a moment of anxiety when he first strutted onto the stage with a seemingly arrogant air, complete with sunglasses around 8pm. All is forgiven when he begins to sing – what a voice..."
- Devon Cartwright / Performing Arts Hub
" James, last seen at the festival in 2016 with his Billie Holiday homage, appeared alongside singer Laura Mvula and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Gershwin Reimagined, conducted by Troy Miller. I had expected this to be a rather demure affair, with the MSO providing an elegantly unobtrusive backdrop for the singers. But Miller’s masterful arrangements – intricately detailed and cinematic in scope – radically recast Gershwin’s classic songs.
Miller’s masterful arrangements radically recast Gershwin’s classic songs..
Filled with beguiling textures and frequent shifts in rhythm, tempo and harmony, they were at times so removed from familiar versions that they might have been unrecognisable without the singers’ contributions. Somehow, James and Mvula managed to chart a clear course through each tune with velvety assurance as the orchestra swelled, soared and veered off on unexpected tangents."
- Jessica Nicholas / SMH