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Friday April 16, 2021

From Blue Note

PIANIST JAMES FRANCIES RETURNS WITH PUREST FORM, HIS EXPANSIVE NEW BLUE NOTE ALBUM OUT MAY 21

Pianist, producer, and composer James Francies has released ’713,’ a vivid tribute to his Houston hometown that is the first single from his forthcoming album Purest Form, an expansive opus due out May 21 on Blue Note Records. The album is available for pre-order now on CD and digital formats.

Since his debut album Flight entranced listeners in 2018, Francies has expanded personal explorations of sound bending and orchestral approaches to the music. Collaborations across stylistic realms ‘” including those with Childish Gambino, Pat Metheny, Mark Ronson, The Roots, YEBBA, Chris Potter, Common, Eric Harland, Marcus Miller, DJ Dahi and Ms. Lauryn Hill ‘” have enhanced his development and refined his sound. In issuing Purest Form, his second Blue Note release, Francies accesses intimate chambers of his artistry across 14 tracks, interpreting love, grief, frailty, and fortitude.

The album’s core trio includes Francies’ longtime collaborators Burniss Travis on bass and Jeremy Dutton on drums’“three Houston-raised artists who have been playing together and developing alongside one another for more than a decade. Additional musicians featured throughout include his Blue Note labelmates alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins and vibraphonist Joel Ross, as well as guitarist Mike Moreno and vocalists Elliott Skinner, Peyton, and Bilal.

Francies’ expression blooms across false borders of genre and style. He nurtures a celestial fascination with melody and texture. ‘Music, in its purest form, is an honest space we’re trying to get to where there are no preconceived ideas of what we think something should sound like,’ he says. ‘When you really tap into who you are on the inside, musically and as a person, that energy supersedes anything else.’

For Francies, Purest Form is more than a recording. It’s an essence. ‘I hope that what I was trying to go for ‘” an immersive, multidimensional experience ‘” really reaches people. I hope that for 56 minutes, they step into this world of sounds and textures. That’s the idea. And [laughs] I hope it sounds good on every speaker.’