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The feel of Houston suffuses new album

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Thursday May 20, 2021

From The Houston Chronicle

The feel of Houston suffuses new album from pianist James Francies
By: Andrew Dansby

As James Francies’ second album, ‘Purest Form,’ begins a gradual move toward its conclusion, his father’s voice joins the mix. Francies returned home to Houston from New York in January when his mother died. While here, he put a microphone in front of his father, who’s writing a book on Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town.

‘I pretty much travel with a studio in my bag,’ Francies says. ‘So I set up the mic and just told him to talk. It took him a little time to get comfortable. But I ended up with a lot.’

Francies’ father, James Francies Sr., told the story of Fourth Ward’s rise out of Freedmen’s Town and the ups and downs of a neighborhood that has in recent years undergone gentrification to the point he doesn’t recognize any old landmarks.

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