Esce "Purest Form", seconda prova da leader su etichetta Blue Note del giovane pianista, tastierista e compositore texano James Francies
21.05.2021

Esce "Purest Form", seconda prova da leader su etichetta Blue Note del giovane pianista, tastierista e compositore texano James Francies

... che ne parla in una conversazione con il presidente dell'etichetta blu Don Was: guarda il video (c'è anche la trascrizione) e ascolta l'album!

Esce "Purest Form", seconda prova da leader su etichetta Blue Note del giovane pianista, tastierista e compositore texano James Francies. In una conversazione con il presidente dell'etichetta blu Don Was (nuovo capitolo della serie 'First Look': scorri qui sotto per la trascrizione integrale!), Francies parla della sua nuova creazione.


Ascolta l'album, e guarda il video della conversazione!

La trascrizione della chiacchierata:


James Francies: Hi, this is James Francies and you're watching first look.

Don Was: Hello. I'm Don Was, president of Blue Note Records. James Francies is one of the most creative and visionary pianist, composer, producers in music. Over the last few years, he's collaborated with a really wide variety of artists, including Childish Gambino, Pat Metheny, The Roots, Mark Ronson, Chris Potter, Common, Eric Harland, and Ms. Lauren Hill. And his brilliant new Blue Note album is called Purest Form. James, thanks for being here with us today.

James Francies: Thank you, thanks for having me.

Don Was: You made a very deep, very personal album, and I feel like this one took you on a real journey seeking the purest form of who you are, and the purest form of what music essentially is. Talk about that.

James Francies: Sure. I mean the title Purest Form, I've talked to people about it and they say, "How do you achieve the purest form?" I feel like a lot of people will feel that's something that you have to achieve, or you're constantly seeking, but this thing, at least for me, that works when I think about it is the purest form is something that we already are. Just us being is already our purest form. So a lot of the times we have to remove things, a lot of preconceived ideas, a lot of... Insecurity is the way we think something should sound. If we're talking music, or what we think other people are going to respond to, versus what we think is great. And really it's just allowing ourselves to just exist.

James Francies: So the Purest Form, this album was just allowing myself to not even just go for it, but just exist, and just be in such a vulnerable and creative state. And when I got the musicians together, all my friends that I've worked with for a long time, over 10 years at this point, we all got in and we know each other so well, and we just allowed ourselves to create something that was totally us. And why is the writing and the production? It was just who, and what we truly are.

Don Was: The music on this album... I have no idea how to describe it, which I think is [crosstalk 00:02:17] a great thing. I've known you, maybe since you were a teenager. [crosstalk 00:02:22] We've always had discussions about the limitations of the genre categorization, what that does to the artist and what it does to the listener. What are your thoughts about that now? But particularly in relation to this new record.

James Francies: You and I have had that conversation so much. I feel that... What is a border, right? What is the genre? What is any borders? It's like confined in our mind, what we tell ourselves with something. All labels are just like a safety blanket for us where we're like, "Okay, this is that because I'm going to call it that, and every time I see that it's going to be that." But I feel like with music, if you already call something a certain thing, you're already coming in with expectations, versus just coming in with an open mind and calling it after the fact. You should label something after you check it out versus saying, "Oh, I'm going to go see a comedy movie," or, "I'm going to go see a horror movie," but nobody's seen it yet.

James Francies: So you go in and say, "Why am I not laughing?" And it's like, well, they said it was a comedy movie, but these people said something else. So why can we just say, it's a movie or... Independent films, you think about independent films. A lot of times it's like, "Oh, we're not calling it this," and this is just a piece of art like...

Don Was: And make of it what you will. Yeah. I agree with you. Now, you come out of Houston, Texas, and you attended the great performing arts school that spawned Robert Glasper, Chris [crosstalk 00:03:57], Eric, Jason Moran, Mike Moreno, and Peyton, who were both on the album. All genre defining artists. And you got a song in the album called 713, which is the Houston area code. What's going on there?

James Francies: There's no masks, somebody is wearing a mask.

Don Was: I'm from Detroit. I always felt the same thing. There was very little artifice and pretense. There was no point as a working class town and...

Don Was: Well, let's play 713 from his latest release, Purest Form.

Don Was: That's 713, James Francies' new album.

Don Was: The song, Rosewater. That's another really poignant, boundary-stretching, beautiful collaboration between you and Elliot Skinner. Tell us about that one.

James Francies: Sure. Elliot's actually from Dallas, he went to the HSPVA in Dallas, so we knew each other from high school where we would do these summer programs, and all of the Grammy bands, and all those all-star high school groups. So I texted Elliot, I said, "Hey, I have this song. I don't really have lyrics to it. I like a couple of things here and there, but could you help me with the lyrics? And would you be down to sing this?" So he came over to the house, brought his guitar, and we cut it the next day, and it was pure magic. It was one of those things where we'd never played before, we had hung all these times, but you said- [inaudible 00:06:00].

Don Was: Let's listen to it.

Don Was: That was Rosewater from James Francies' new album, Purest Form.

Don Was: Your dad, James Sr., Does a really poignant reading from his own memoir on the song Freedmen's Town. Tell us about that.

James Francies: My mom passed away back in January, so we went down and we were= putting the finishing pieces on everything, and I had my microphone and my interface. I always travel with those. And we were just sitting around, and I was like, "Hey, you want to try reading something from your book?" Because he's always working on his book, and I said, "Yeah, I think this might be the time for, make your debut." So I set him up in a bedroom, had the microphone, and put him in these headphones, and I said, "Well, just read, and I'll sort it out later." And that's what happened. He did it in one, two takes, and he's like, "Is this okay?" And I was like, "It was perfect."

Don Was: That's awesome. Let's play that, Freedmen- James Sr. (song): I was born in an area of Houston, Texas, known as the Fourth Ward. Currently, that area is called Mid-Town. There is quite a bit of difference from the time that I lived there and there is right now. Fourth Ward at that time was just a convergence of dilapidated, old buildings. Those buildings were deserted by early Houstonians, but it was called something else at the time. It wasn't called Fourth Ward. Fourth Ward was originally called Freedmen's Town.

Don Was: That's Freedmen's Town from the latest release from James Francies, Purest Form. James, you made an awesome, mind blowing album, man. Congratulations. It's a great to [crosstalk 00:08:22] hear, and thanks so much for taking the time to be here with us.

James Francies: Of course, it's always a pleasure.

Don Was: Thanks to everybody for watching. We'll see you next time on First Look.

Don Was: If you enjoyed first look and would like to see more, please hit the subscribe button, and also click the bell icon. That way you'll be notified when we post our next video.

Publisher: Universal Music Italia Ultimo aggiornamento: 03.06.2021
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